Divorce is one of life’s most stressful experiences. Often, when people are under stress, their thoughts, feelings, and actions become more impulsive and extreme. For those who experience a contentious divorce, they typically endure an overwhelming amount of stress throughout, and even after, the process. Therapy can be very beneficial for those under a tremendous amount of stress.
Therapy vs. coaching
However, it’s important to note that therapy is not necessarily the answer for everything, and not everyone needs therapy during their divorce. Some people may benefit from coaching instead. What’s the difference?
Coaching, which is typically provided by a mental health professional, teaches strategies to manage situations from a healthy perspective. While therapy typically addresses the psychological process that’s contributing to how you’re responding to the divorce.
Depending on your situation and the professional, you can receive a combination of coaching and therapy. This allows you to both work through the immediate problems and learn strategies to cope with similar ones in the future.
How to determine if you need therapy or coaching
To determine if you need therapy, ask yourself these four questions:
- During the last six months, has my behavior significantly changed? Have others appeared concerned or commented that it appears as though I’m having a very difficult time managing things and/or I seem to be a little bit out of control?
- How is my judgment? Am I able to think through things, or do I find myself making rash decisions that I later regret?
- How am I handling my feelings? Do things throw me off in the middle of the day that wouldn’t have bothered me in the past? Am I suddenly flooded by emotions that are so intense that I cannot function effectively?
- Am I unable to rein in my feelings? Do I regularly go to bed and wake up depressed? Or, do I regularly go to bed and wake up angry?
If you answered yes to at least half of these questions, then I recommend you seek therapy or coaching.
How to find the right therapist or coach
Before you begin working with a therapist or coach, schedule an introductory meeting to determine if they are a good match for you. You want to work with someone who you feel comfortable with that can define the goals and issues you need to address.
During therapy or coaching, regularly ask yourself if you’re working on the goals you’ve created and if you’re achieving them. For this type of situation, therapy or coaching shouldn’t be an endless process where someone is serving as your psychological cheerleader. Instead, it should be a process of working on your various issues to meet the goals that you have established.
Many people who experience divorce can benefit from therapy, coaching, or a combination of both. If you’re struggling mentally and/or emotionally, it’s important to recognize this and get the help you need. Equally important is working with an experienced mental health professional who you trust. Whether through therapy or coaching, they will help you successfully manage a difficult and stressful situation.