Family Counseling

The Basics of Counseling

In most courts throughout the United States and Arizona, divorce counseling is strongly recommended. Counselors or therapists cannot make problems instantly disappear, however, counseling does enable one to better identify and, ultimately, cope with the more difficult problems which may arise as a result of a divorce. Counseling can offer help to all of the family members, making them become more comfortable with the whole divorce situation.

In this day and age, family counseling is prevalent and proven to be very productive in terms of assisting in the decision-making process with respect to such sensitive issues as visitation, support, and custody. It is also a well known fact that many children benefit greatly from professional counseling during what, for them, is usually a most overwhelming experience.

Should You Consider Counseling?

The following questions should be addressed prior to seeking the help of a professional counselor. It is of the utmost importance that these questions be answered honestly and openly. Bear in mind that these questions are not part of any test, but rather are designed to aid the thought process in dealing with the dilemmas and problems commonly faced in a divorce. An affirmative answer, even if only in the slightest form, might be an indication that professional counseling would be of invaluable assistance.

If an affirmative answer is drawn as a result of answering any of the following questions , it is usually a good idea to seek counseling.

Are you feeling stuck and/or overwhelmed with the responsibilities of parenting?
Do you have someone to turn to for emotional support, such as friends or relatives?
Do you feel as if there are many issues that should have been resolved before the separation agreements were decided?
Are your children suffering from emotional problems that are causing the family to break apart even further?
Are you often depressed or overly anxious?
Does the thought of being alone scare you?
Are your children behaving differently at school?
Are your children getting less attention than prior to the separation?

How to Find the Right Counselor

It is suggested that a good place to start would be to create a list of counselors and/or therapists in your area. Referrals are often a great resource, but be aware of the pressures and influences that occur when involving friends or relatives in this search process.

The following are several resources that can be helpful in finding a counselor:

Community mental health agencies
Family Service Centers
School Counseling Services
Hospital out-patient clinics
Yellow Pages

After a list of two or three counselors or therapists has been compiled, it is time to make appointments for preliminary interviews. Keep in mind that initial preliminary interviews are not always free of charge. Be sure to have all of the financial concerns clearly spelled our prior to actually setting an appointment.

The following are some factors to be considered when rating the individual merits of a counselor:

Compatibility
Competence
Personality
Price
Experience
Time Limitations

Divorce Counseling FAQ’s

Why does the divorce process get more and more stressful and depressing?
One must look at the word divorce, and act accordingly with respect to its literal meaning. Each spouse must realize that it is his or her responsibility to bury the hostility. A mature spouse is able to recognize this and move forward in his or her life, even though this is never an easy achievement.

Why is the divorce process so long?
Actually, it does not have to be very long at all. The time it takes from separation to settlement depends on the actions of the spouses. Divorce is not a game, but if one plays it as though it were, one should prepare to go the extra rounds.

Why do some spouses treat the divorce process like a game?
This usually occurs when one spouse is not in favor of the divorce or the impending outcome of such. It is an act of postponement and usually provokes the other spouse into playing games as well. A mature spouse will recognize this and keep very much to themselves.

What fears does the typical female possess?
Women are worried about securing custody and maintaining financial stability. Financial stability will lead to a higher self-esteem, which can make the healing process much faster and easier.

What fears does the typical male possess?
Men are primarily worried about losing assets, which can decrease their self- esteem, and thus make the healing process slower and more difficult.

Why do parents hide their emotions?
Parents have a tendency to hide emotions of regret and anger, because they do not want their children to see them in this type of emotional state. While this idea is very noble, keeping emotions bottled up inside only lets them fester and grow.

How does one know when to seek counseling?
Many experts feel that this should be the very first thing that spouses do, but in reality, this does not happen very often. Usually, spouses attempt to work things out on their own, but quite often the hour approaches when counseling is severely needed. As a good rule of thumb, it is better to be too early as opposed to too late.

What does a counselor really have to offer?
Counselors are not magicians. However, it is his or her job to help family members recognize issues and combat them. Counselors assist in the prioritization of needs, which can lead to rational decision-making.

Why do children need counseling?
Parents often do not realize or lose track of the difficult decisions that children are faced with during a divorce. Parents can exert undue pressures and influences on children without ever intending or even realizing it. Children usually do not express how they truly feel to parents out of fear of disappointing them.

How expensive is counseling?
The expense of counseling can vary dramatically, depending on exactly what services are needed, and the manner in which they are applied. It is not uncommon for counselors to work within the client’s budget.