By: Dr. Erica Wollerman
At our office, we frequently work with children and teens whose families are going through a divorce. While we do not engage in any sort of custody recommendations and tend to stay out of court at our office, there are many other ways that therapy and services at Thrive could be helpful.
1. Providing your child/teen with a neutral place to talk:
During a divorce, kids go through so many different emotions and experiences that can be really hard for them to talk to their parents about. As close as they might be to their parents, some feelings they are having will lead them to feel as though they are betraying one parent or the other. With a therapist, we can help them talk about and sort through those feelings in a safe space where they know no one else will hear about. This is actually a big part of the reason why we do not engage in custody recommendations… if parents and kids know that we are going to be sharing our opinions with anyone outside of the child’s sessions, it prevents the kids from sharing openly and feeling safe.
2. Giving your child/teen time to talk things through:
Often, during a divorce or separation, parents can become overwhelmed with their own experience and emotions. While this is totally understandable, at times the kids will feel lost and alone. Coming to therapy and having a therapist that they trust who spends about an hour a week just focusing on them and their experience and listening to what they want to talk about, can be enormously helpful in helping the child or teen process their experience and emotions around the divorce.
3. Providing the possibility of co-parenting sessions:
At Thrive, we are big believers in involving the whole family in treatment when we believe it will be helpful to the child or teen. In situations of divorce or separation, your child or teen’s therapist can be enormously helpful in supporting parents through the process with co-parenting sessions. Sometimes these sessions will need to be with a separate therapist than your child or teen’s, but co-parenting sessions are always helpful. Research has shown that it is not divorce itself that is harmful to children and teens’ emotionally, but the conflict that at times persists for quite some time after the separation or divorce. Co-parenting sessions can help parents learn how to work together as separate parents to benefit their child/teen and ideally, reduce overall conflict following a separation or divorce.
These are just three of the ways that therapy can be helpful when going through a divorce or separation. At Thrive, we know that parents are all doing their best to get through tough situations that arise in their families. We are here to support the whole family and love working with children, teens, and adults particularly during times of crisis like a separation or divorce.
If you would like to talk with a Thrive Therapist about yourself, your child, or teen attending therapy with one of us, please reach out to us either via email at email@example.com or phone at 858-342-1304.
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As always, thanks for reading and comments are always welcome regarding any issues around finding a therapist for teens and Family Therapy San Diego at Thrive Therapy Studio.
3/25/2022 06:35:01 am
I found it interesting when you said kids go through so many emotions and experiences that it can be difficult for them to communicate with their parents about them. I used to think differently about this and now it makes more sense. What you said about step-family counseling was really interesting to me.
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