World Mental Health Day: Top Tips to Help You Through Divorce

October 10, 2018

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In this blog Family Law in Partnership counsellor and family consultant Jo Harrison offers her top tips to help you deal with the impact of relationship breakdown.

Family breakdown, whether or not culminating in separation or divorce, is ranked as one of the most stressful life events. It creates a series of challenges on the emotional, practical and financial fronts. Whilst not all are negative nor unwelcome for everyone, these changes nonetheless often require some adjustment. Here at Family Law in Partnership our approach is to minimise conflict and help couples to move forward with their lives. On World Mental Health Day, as we reflect on the impact of mental illnesses in people’s daily lives, these are my top tips for getting through divorce or separation in the best frame of mind:

  • Know that it is completely normal to find separating from your partner very stressful. It can stir up strong feelings, even if you are the one who ended the relationship.
  • Bear in mind that the loss of a relationship is a process rather than an event and that you will feel different at different times and may need different support at different times.
  • Think about your support network. Make time to see family and friends.
  • Remember that family and friends can be a great help but may only tell you what you want to hear (and may have their limits in how available they can be for you).
  • Let your GP know what’s going on, particularly if you are feeling low. In an emergency, contact the Samaritans or the emergency services.
  • Seek out a consultation with an experienced counsellor or therapist as a mental health check-up at this point in your life. This may help to support you through the divorce and can help you think about what didn’t work in your relationship.
  • Try to be curious about your ex-partner’s point of view. It may be different from your point of view but will feel equally valid to them. It may help to remember that an ex-partner’s seemingly frustrating behaviour may be a way of them expressing their painful feelings about the divorce and loss of the relationship.

For those of you who are parents:

  • Remember that there may be a difference between your feelings about your ex-partner and your children’s feelings.
  • Know that children are very aware of what is going on between their parents.
  • Find age appropriate ways to talk to your children about how hard the situation is for them and give them space to express their difficult feelings.

At Family Law in Partnership we have a team of highly experienced counsellors with a wealth of expertise in helping families cope with the emotional questions raised by issues like divorce and separation. They specialise in the complexity of relationships and offer a place for you and other family members to reflect on any aspect of the family breakdown and the decisions associated with it in a confidential, stigma-free way. For more information on our counselling services, click here.

Jo Harrison is an experienced relationship counsellor, family consultant and former family lawyer. She sees individuals and couples (whether separated or not) for consultations and also acts as a family consultant to support the collaborative law process. Jo has a depth and breadth of expertise in working with clients who are separating or divorcing and is sensitive to the impact of relationship breakdown and how it can affect individuals and families. As a relationship counsellor Jo fully appreciates the emotional upheaval and difficulties of a separation and as a former family lawyer she understands the particular pressures of going through the legal process. For further information about the counselling services offered at Family Law in Partnership, contact Jo Harrison at E: hello@flip.co.uk or T: 020 7420 5000.