How to know if you should seek therapy before filing for divorce
Often, each spouse has a different idea about what he or she wants when
deciding to divorce.
If one spouse doesn’t want the divorce, the reason for going to therapy may be to get the other spouse to reconsider.
For the spouse who wants the divorce, going to therapy may be a way to help articulate the finality of
his or her decision.
The decision to seek therapy before divorce is an important one, and whether
you go together or separately. The therapist you choose is essential to whatever
outcome is desired. Working through some of the issues either in advance or
during the process may help avoid protracted divorces costing tens of thousands
of dollars and may help the divorcing parents be better able to support the needs
of their children through the process.
It is a good idea to talk with your attorney about possible resources or approaches to going through divorce. Mediation and collaborative family law are a couple of options.
A mediated divorce involves both parents meeting with a third party to make decisions about the various aspects of the divorce.
Collaborative family law engages therapists to assist parents through the process so that many of the more counseling-type issues often brought before attorneys can be worked through with a skilled clinician. Attorneys serve the legal matters of the divorce. Counselors are for familial, psychological, and emotional needs including
navigating the transitions. Sometimes, psychiatrists may be involved in the short term as an adjunct to therapy.
Ultimately, if you and your spouse want couples therapy, then you should ask yourself if you really want a divorce at this time. Ask your attorney for more
Sarah B. Wilhelms, MSW, LCSW, is a licensed clinical social worker in Missouri. She has an undergraduate degree with honors from Washington University and a
Master of Social Work with honors also from Washington University in St. Louis. Sarah has over 15 years’ experience with families involved in custody matters,
grief and loss, foster care and adoption, healthcare, early childhood development, and trauma. For more information, you may contact her at 314-605-9635.