Counselling to separate, not to stay together: what does that mean and how can it help you?

People often consider going to counselling to stay together and fix the relationship, but have you considered going to counselling to help you separate? There are many benefits to going to counselling with separation in mind. Here are 3 reasons to consider separation counselling:

    • Closure. There are a lot of emotions at the end of a relationship. Often the marriage/relationship has been breaking down over a number of years. Even if there is one inciting incident like an affair, there may have been many small cracks in the relationship that slowly eroded the relationship over time. It can take time to process the road to separation. Being able to unpack the emotions surrounding separation with your spouse can assist with closure and set you down a path of growth and recovery that will serve you in the long run.
    • Clarity. If you have unpacked and de-escalated some of the initial emotions that surge during a separation, you will be in a better mental state to meet with a lawyer and start the process of making decisions around parenting, property division and support.
    • Coordination. Separation involves many moving parts. For example, is one of you staying in the family home or are you both moving to a new home. Where are the kids going to stay? How are the kids going to be told about the separation? You and your ex-spouse will need to coordinate with one another for a smooth transition. Having a counsellor lead you through and facilitate these conversations can assist in getting you on the same page. It can also be beneficial to meet with a lawyer at this stage to understand the law, while still working with a counsellor to do what makes the most sense for your family.

    It took years, if not decades to build a relationship, marriage and family, it cannot be undone in a moment. Taking the time to meet with a counsellor (if it is safe for you both to do so together), can give you and your spouse some much-needed guidance on grieving the loss of the family and moving forward on your own paths.

    About Leisha Murphy

    Partner/Mediator – Vancouver

    After being a family lawyer for over 13 years, coupled with my own personal experience with divorce, I have come to understand the difficult transition that comes with the end of a relationship. This experience has put me in the unique position of being able to provide clients with a clear picture of what is to come and how to plan for it. As well as provide clients with guidance and education on how to deal with the day-to-day realities of a separation.