Part Two: Therapy for Changing Families

June 19, 2023

When people hear the word ‘divorce,’ negative thoughts often come to mind instantly. Unfortunately, adults often overlook the impact it has on children and teenagers. In Part Two, our Clinicians explore the benefits of therapy for kids and teens who are navigating significant changes like divorce.

Tiffaney Knight, Resident in Counseling

Separation or divorce is a major life change that affects all members of a family. The married adults know the reasons for pursuing separation or divorce, but the children are left in the dark during the process, leading them to develop their own opinions about what happened, internalize it, and feel responsible for this change. Therapy for children and teens during a separation provides a neutral safe place to talk about all the feelings that can arise.

Miguel Alcantara, Resident in Counseling

Going through a divorce is not only a life-altering event for the partners involved but the entire family. Family dynamics have to be restructured, schedules have to be created, and new boundaries have to be set. This experience is new, and new experiences come with worry. Providing a space for kids and teens to be able to express their thoughts, concerns, and anything in between is special.

What Will Therapy Do?

Therapy will provide some support and nurturing as they move through this new stage. It is common to attend therapy and discuss your intimate thoughts regarding divorce or separation, as well as the current dynamics within your family. Some stigma about seeking mental health services and not being able “to get through it on your own” may linger. But it is important that we show our clients that they feel supported. That there is someone who can help them learn to understand and work through their emotions. Although big change in the family is happening, connections and relationships can still grow and prosper.

Cleo Chalk, Resident in Counseling

Divorce and separation can be difficult for the entire family. Often, children and teens are directly impacted by the change. They cannot process some of the emotions that arise because of the situation. It can be challenging for kids and teens to communicate how they feel, and therapy is a valuable tool. It teaches them how to express their needs and concerns in a way that will benefit not only them but also their parents.

Moreover, therapy can help to equip kids and teens with coping skills that can help them better manage their stress and anxiety during the transitional period. Therapy can also help to reduce the negative stigma surrounding divorce by normalizing their experience. This can be achieved by attending group sessions with other teens and kids where they can safely talk about their experience with others who may be going through a similar situation.

By communicating with other kids or teens who are dealing with a divorce or separation, they can feel supported, and reduce feelings of loneliness. Additionally, it will allow them to get the validation and support from peers that they need.

Until next time, Be Wise!