Divorce Counseling Category

Sometimes Not Happy But Loving


Lorna Hayim-Baker
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

When two people love each other is it true that they will always make each other happy? I do not think "happy" is a fitting adjective to use when discussing marital goals or one that describes a committed and loving relationship between two people that have said "I love you" to one another because happiness is a an incomplete and trivial measuring rod of life. Most mature people, whether married or not, don't expect life only to be joyful. Happiness as the primary goal of a marriage/loving relationship can become its undoing, for it easily leads to self seeking, self centeredness and self indulgence.. That is why couples, young and old, seeking release from a marriage/relationship in trouble often cry out and say "I have a right to be happy".

I see marriage or any two partners who are in a committed monogamous relationship as the creation of two imperfect people who are willing to make compromises, work out adjustments and control emotio...

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Help children process the news of a divorce! Part #2

Adolescents’ reaction to the news of divorce could be anywhere within the spectrum of intense anger, sadness, and depression to no reaction at all. Adolescents who express their feelings accuse their parents of “ruining their life”, “ being selfish” and “ inconsiderate”. They may also act up as being the “victims of their parents’ decision”. As a result, their grades at school may drop, they may start missing classes, refuse to go to school, and hang out with the troublesome kids at school and justify their behavior as the consequence of the parents’ separation.

On the other end, adolescents who do not show any feelings may seem to be taking the news of the divorce very well; nothing changes in their behavior or school grades and they continue to be the same. However, every teen will react to the separation in some explicit way; although it may take them days or even months. Parents need to be prepared for a backlash an...

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Help children process the news of a divorce! Part #I

Children have different reactions to their parents’ separation, which is in accordance with their developmental stage.

Pre-schoolers may cry, ignore the news, pretend they haven’t heard anything and ask for permission to go play, or show no emotion at all. But, no matter what their initial reaction to the big new is, it does not mean that they are fine with it. Most of the time, their emotional and/or behavioral reaction to divorce unfolds within time.

“Play” has a critical role in processing difficult information for kids. Pre-schoolers’ play may demonstrate families (of animals, dolls, cars, etc) with themes of going on trips, fights, yelling at, leaving, loneliness, and empty houses, which allows kids to practice control over their feelings regarding divorce and separation, i.e. they control who leaves, when they leave, etc. Adults process the same difficult information through talking to friends, family, and therapists and through critical thinki...

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Dating Tips For Single Parents

For many single parents, casual dating can be frustrating and annoying. Looking for a new partner, however, can be downright frightening. In fact many single parents who are gun shy after divorce go in one of two directions. They either convince themselves they are better off not going beyond getting their feet wet (at best) or they deny and minimize their fears, which can lead to making reckless plunges.

Why? Well, the chronically painful realities of divorce that involve children may be likened to having a chronic and debilitating illness like arthritis. Instead of periodic flare ups of painful inflammation of muscles and joints we are left dealing with periodic flare ups of our children’s painful struggles to come to terms with our divorces, flare ups of our own painful struggles to come to terms with divorce and episodic painful dealings with our divorced spouses. The evolution and stabilization of split off family units do not come about without mourning obsolete family uni...

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Is Couples Therapy Just A Sign Of The End Of A Relationship?

[From the Downtown Therapy blog]

 

I would be lying if years ago, upon hearing that a couple were considering relationship counselling, I didn’t hear a voice in the back of my head cry out: “Dead man walking!”. In other words, it seemed that couples therapy was the beginning of the end.

This is a bit of fatalism which is not helped by a dearth of positive examples in TV and film. North American society has lived under an implicit rule that admitting you need help is a sign of an underlying weakness of character. The reality is that, increasingly, couples are realizing that talking openly about their differences with a qualified therapist is in fact a marvellous way to discharge tension in the relationship.

When we enter a serious relationship, we bring our own ideas with us; ideas about money, sexual intimacy, communication, privacy. Many of these ideas are influenced by previous relationships. And sometimes, while individually each partner’s influences...

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Discernment Counselling - A New Approach to one of life's most important decisions

Sometimes couples come in to therapy with separation or divorce already an option that’s been laid on the table. As a therapist, this is one of the most painful situations to watch my clients go through. That’s especially true when one partner is still trying to save the relationship and the other isn’t sure whether they are willing to give it a shot. Couple’s therapy usually isn’t very helpful in these cases, because it’s almost impossible to help both people feel ‘heard’, as though their needs are being respected, when they're in such opposite corners. In any given moment, either the person on their way out feels like they’re being pressured to stay, or the person who’s still committed to the relationship feels like they’re being abandoned. It’s really raw.

In response to this, The University of Minnesota has developed Discernment Counselling, which is essentially a way to work with both partners to help them ma...

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Divorce Recovery

Most people enter into marriage with dreams of a lifetime of love, partnership, family, security, and happiness. Many times, it is the loss of these dreams that is the most painful aspect of the dissolution of a marriage.

Going through a divorce elicits a myriad of responses: anger, frustration, confusion, sadness, feeling of failure, exhilaration, worry, hopelessness, panic, euphoria, and guilt, just to name some. Navigating these can feel overwhelming, especially while negotiating new households, financial challenges, and heart-wrenching custody arrangements.

It is true that a divorce can be one of the hardest, most painful, and most stressful events in a person’s life. It can feel like a volcano has erupted, burning and destroying everything you have known. The wonderful news is from that springs an opportunity for tremendous insight, clarity, and personal growth. After the ash has settled what remains is a fertile soil, primed for the growth of your new, fresh life.

If you...

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Marital Separation and Divorce Mediation

5 Things to Think about When Considering Divorce
By Nancy Fagan, www.Dyvorce.com

Considering leaving your spouse? You need a solid exit plan. Pre-divorce-planning involves carefully planning out often-overlooked aspects of your life before you announce you’re leaving. In 85 percent of divorces, it is the wife who initiates the divorce. Whether man or woman, if you are in this situation, starting a plan of action now is absolutely necessary. Just because your wife/husband wants everything, including the children, it does not necessarily mean that’s what has to happen. Learn how to get a fair settlement by playing smart and doing certain things that will help your situation tremendously.

Divorce planning is needed for both men and women. With that said, if you’re a woman, preparing in advance is even more important. In fact, most women are in a worse place financially after it’s all said and done. With this said, you don’t have to become a statistic. You have ...

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10 Tips for Helping Your Children Adjust to Divorce

As a registered play therapist and counsellor who specializes in working with families around divorce and separation, I get asked regularly how best to help children when parents are separated or divorced. My first response to parents who are asking these questions is the fact that they recognize how challenging this can be for their children is a great first step! Here are my 10 tips . . .

  1. Remember, unlike parents, children do not see parents separating as improving their lives. Most kids always hold out hope that parents will get back together.
  2. Kids need to know and hear that it was not their fault. It is common for kids to believe that if they were “good enough” their parents would have stayed together.
  3. Kids need to know they are still loved by both parents and extended families. Many children worry that if you can fall out of love with your spouse, you can fall out of love with your child.
  4. Kids need guidance and support for managing and understanding their behavio...

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MINDFULNESS-BASED ART THERAPY

Mindfulness is a state of mind where the focus on the bodily sensations is at its highest peak. A mindful person is aware of how his/her body is reacting to the anxiety provoking thoughts and symptoms of anxiety.

In the practice of mindful art therapy one practices to be present and remain present to face distressing thoughts, fears, future, or expectations of others. Changing your responses rather than reacting is the aim of mindfulness art therapy.

The latter could be practiced with art activities, which we will introduce in future posts. Please follow our posts on www.montrealarttherapy.com

By: Reyhane Namdari/ Art Therapist

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