You’re starting to wonder whether your marriage is over. The idea of divorce is on the table. But just because you’re thinking about separating, doesn’t mean the process has to be ugly. And it doesn’t have to be the end of your world.
Your marriage used to be filled with happy times. Like the time when you bought your first home together. You spent hours collaborating on paint colors and pillows until the house you bought was the perfect representation of your dreams and wishes for the future. It became your home. You walked hand in hand exploring your neighborhood learning the ins and outs of your community, picking your favorite places – together. These were times of adventure and excitement. Times of fun and joy. Celebration and love.
Together, you took care to honor the milestones and anniversaries of your relationship. You made sure to emphasize the importance of your accomplishments apart – and as a couple – and rooted for each other to succeed in all areas of your life.
Sure, some tough times came along, but when they did, you rolled through them, laughed through the tears, and came out the other side – together.
But somewhere along the way, you both forgot to take the time. The time to care for one another, the time to put the effort in for one another. The time to love one another. Everything that was once good and beautiful in your marriage is gone. Or at the least, very, very far away.
So now it’s come to this
The broken relationship, the sense of failure, the lack of direction, the absolute self-doubt.
You finally had your ah-ha moment…
You walked in from work and your beautiful home was in chaos. The kids’ backpacks unopened on the counter – homework obviously not done. A greasy pizza box with a small slice left – presumably for you. And the ball game on the TV so loud you couldn’t have heard yourself yell. That is if you had wanted to. Instead, you sighed, hung your head, and retreated.
And the sad thoughts followed you:
“Even if I went and made a fuss, nothing would change.”
“I don’t have the energy to try to work on this marriage anymore.”
“There’s just no point in trying to save this relationship.”
But when you finally got yourself together, when you wiped your tears and found a bit of courage, you asked yourself:
“Could I have a better life if we lived apart?”
Your marriage has been a big part of your life, but when you really think about it
You’ve been drifting along in a sea of sameness. Neither you nor your spouse, have been present in the relationship and you haven’t been partners for a very long time. It seems like you’re still married for everyone else: your kids, your families, your friends… but you can’t remember the last time you did something that felt truly right for you.
The idea of breaking up is difficult. You feel like part of you might be dying! When you imagine learning to live alone again, you get really scared, and it’s easy to numb yourself and avoid the pain. But, you’re not the only one who’s been through this process.
Contemplating divorce is the most difficult decision you’ve ever had to make. You’re stuck wondering whether it is the right thing to do, whether there’s a chance your marriage could get better, and if you do split up you whether you’ll ever find someone new whenever you’re ready to fall in love again. There’s one thing you’re sure of though, you’re no longer interested in going through the motions anymore or being a shell of yourself.
You’re ready to explore what life would be like on your own. Who you might become on your own.
With Separation Counseling at Solutions Mental Wellness in Virginia Beach
You will talk through what it might look like to be single again
You will take the time to grieve your marriage
You will contemplate whether divorce is the right option
You will learn to separate from your partner amicably if this is the decision you choose to make
You will find a way to trust and believe in yourself again
The Separation Counseling at Solutions Mental Wellness Process
It is important to go through grieving stages when you decide to dissolve your marriage and to work through the mental and emotional blocks that keep you stuck in dysfunction. This will help you to understand who you are independent of your relationship and what you want and need to be fulfilled. To work toward this goal, we’ll meet together weekly for either 75 minutes or 50 minutes depending on the needs of the session. Typically, separation counseling sessions last for 5 weeks but can go up to 12 weeks if you choose to move forward with divorce or need more support.
We will use mindfulness techniques to focus on being in the present moment so that you will be able to fully recognize, acknowledge, and embrace the pain of your situation. We will also use techniques like grounding exercises and meditation to help you accept your struggle as part of the process to personal growth.
In separations/divorces that are particularly traumatizing, we will have the opportunity to use a therapeutic approach called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). EMDR is a type of therapy that is especially helpful for trauma cases and helps individuals overcome emotional pain quickly. The process involves stimulating both sides of the brain, isolating trigger memories, and transforming painful at an emotional level.
EMDR is considered a truly transformational approach to therapy and helps individuals shed the trauma of their pasts and move forward with new takes on life. People who have gone through EMDR therapy report feeling like they have a new opportunity to be themselves. To stop living in pain or discomfort and to live a truly authentic life.
Here’s what to expect:
WEEK ONE: Intake
During this 75-minute session, we define the therapeutic relationship and discuss the details of the therapy contract. I gather information about you as an individual and also about your marriage. We will set goals for therapy and decide how to move forward together.
WEEK TWO – FIVE: Contemplating Divorce
The first five sessions of separation counseling will help you determine whether or not you’d like to separate/divorce your partner. We will examine the entirety of the situation looking at the pros and cons, who will be affected by the separation, and how life might look if you decide to become single.
WEEK SIX – EIGHT: Stages of Divorce
The second phase of separation counseling involves examining the stages of a separation. Much like the grieving process, there are various emotional processes that a person ending a relationship goes through. Together we will discuss what stage you are experiencing and how to move through it in a healthy way.
In certain cases, we will use EMDR processes to restructure any especially distressful events that occur before, during, or after the divorce process.
WEEK NINE – ELEVEN: Personal Healing
The final aspect of separation counseling is where we work on rebuilding yourself as an individual. Together we will reframe your marriage from a failure to something you can remember fondly and with appreciation. A significant transformation will take place and you will develop a new identity. You will develop the ability to view yourself as a strong individual and not evaluate yourself based on the expectations of your family, friends, or community and you will become comfortable with and grow to love your new identity.
We may or may not continue to use EMDR as a therapeutic technique.
WEEK TWELVE: Termination
During the last week of therapy, we will summarize everything that took place during your separation counseling. You will be ready to continue your life without regular separation therapy. Though it is entirely possible to continue self-development/individual sessions, at this point you are ready to begin your life as a newly single individual.
More About Me
My name is Anna. I’m originally from Latvia and currently call Virginia Beach home. I am a Master’s level clinician, a Licensed Professional Counselor, and a National Board Certified Counselor. I graduated from East Carolina University and am professionally trained in EMDR Therapy. My passion is helping people find their true selves in and out of romantic relationships and I have been translating this passion to my work with separation counseling for over five years. To learn more about me and my therapeutic approach click here (link to about page).
Who Benefits Most from Separation Counseling at Solutions Mental Wellness
Separation and Divorce Counseling is best for those who are seriously thinking about dissolving their relationships and want to do so in the safest, most healthy way for themselves and their families. It is not always an easy process and can be a painful experience. Eye Movement Desensitizing and Restructuring helps individuals free themselves from especially painful aspects of their marriage or divorce and regain a happy, healthy sense of self. You will benefit from separation counseling with me if:
- You are seriously considering dissolving your marriage and you want to weigh all repercussions
- You need help discovering what life could look like as a newly single person
- You want to respect the years of your marriage that were good and grieve the relationship in a healthy way
- You and your spouse want to divorce amicably and keep it from becoming ugly or negatively impacting the family
- You want to understand your core identity and who you truly are outside of your marriage so that you may be able to find the right relationship in the future
- You are ready to be free to explore and experience life for yourself again
There are certain situations where you might not be ready for separation counseling with me. These situations include, but are not limited to:
- Instances of severe trauma, abuse, or neglect
- Substance abuse
- You and your partner are committed to restoring your marriage through counseling. You can learn about marriage counseling options here (link to marriage counseling).
If these issues are currently present in your marriage, it is my recommendation that you seek individual counseling first. You can learn more about that here (link to your individual services page).
What Does Separation Counseling at Solutions Mental Wellness Cost?
I do not currently work with insurance companies, though I expect to accept certain policies later this year.
In the meantime, you and I can work together to explore payment options such as Flexible Spending Accounts, Health Service Accounts, and Out of Network insurance benefits. To learn more about specific session durations and rates call to inquire.
Your Next Steps
It is possible for you and your partner to decide if you should continue your marriage. You will be able to face your friends and community knowing that, even if you decide to divorce, you’ve done so in a way that is best for your family, your spouse, and yourself.
Just because the love might be gone from your marriage, the respect doesn’t have to be.
You’ll be able to live your life in Virginia Beach without feelings of self-doubt or failure. You’ll be able to build new, strong relationships with yourself and others. Ultimately, you’ll have the confidence of knowing you made the right choice.
To schedule an appointment for marriage counseling at Solutions Mental Wellness in Virginia Beach, Virginia click here.