How to Get the Most Out of Therapy After Your Divorce

How to Get the Most Out of Therapy After Your Divorce…

Therapy can be such a useful tool when it comes to divorce. It can help you cope with things like anxiety, depression,How to Get the Most Out of Therapy After Your Divorce PTSD, substance abuse, and more. If you are struggling with the healing process after your divorce, therapy can help you navigate it.

If you’ve never gone to therapy, the process may feel a bit overwhelming at first. There are so many types of therapy…which one do you choose? Which therapist is right for you? How do you continue the work after your sessions end? You’ve already taken the first step in deciding to try therapy, now it’s time to ensure you’re getting the most out of it.

Deciding on the Type of Therapy

There are many different types of therapy, each with its own advantages. The five main types of psychotherapy include:

  • Psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapies
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Cognitive therapy
  • Humanistic therapy
  • Integrative or holistic therapy

Psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapies

Both are talk therapies used to treat different things like depression, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders. The difference between the two is that psychoanalysis therapy is typically longer in duration and can actually go on for many years, whereas psychodynamic is usually short-term.

Behavioral therapy

Focuses less on the reasons for your behavior and more on how to change your behavior. There are a few different subtypes to this therapy, including systemic desensitization, aversion therapy, and flooding. Much like psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapies, behavioral therapy can be used to treat anxiety and substance abuse, but it’s also used to treat things like phobias, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Cognitive therapy

Takes a similar approach to behavioral therapy, but it also works on identifying patterns in your behavior and why those behaviors might be hindering your healing process. This type of therapy is usually short-term, but it often includes homework in between therapy sessions. Under the umbrella of cognitive therapy are two subtypes- dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) and rational emotive therapy. This type of therapy is also good for treating many of the conditions mentioned above.

Humanistic therapy

Puts you in the drivers’ seat when it comes to the therapy sessions, while your therapist is there as more of a guide. The key behind humanistic therapy is that your therapist completely accepts you, even if they disagree with some of the things you’re saying. This type of approach helps you develop into the very best version of yourself, and it’s ideal for those suffering from self-esteem issues or trauma. There are three different subtypes- existential therapy, person-centered therapy, and Gestalt therapy.

Integrative therapy

Takes a more holistic approach, and can pull from any of the above-mentioned types of psychotherapy to create a plan specifically tailored to your needs. It’s helpful for dealing with anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other complicated disorders.

Getting the Most Out of Therapy

Sometimes, you’ll decide on the type of therapy you want to try beforehand, while other times you may find a therapist first who then tailors your treatment plan to you. Once you’ve started therapy, there are several things you can do to get the most out of it.

  1. Write down some short-term and long-term goals you hope to achieve with therapy. This will help keep you on track as you go through the experience.
  2. Make sure you can afford therapy. You don’t want to get started and then suddenly have to stop because you can’t pay for the visits. If insurance doesn’t cover your visits, many therapists will work out a payment plan with you.
  3. Ask your therapist questions. You should feel comfortable enough with your therapist to ask them anything, especially when it comes to clarifying something you’re confused about.
  4. Don’t stress if you aren’t connecting with your therapist at first. It can take some time- often several visits- before you and your therapist become comfortable with each other.
  5. Consider teletherapy. The pandemic forced many professions to think outside the box, and that includes therapy. A lot of therapists now offer teletherapy, where you meet virtually for your visits. This can be a great way for those who are busy to accommodate therapy visits into their schedule, but it’s good to have at least one or two visits in-person at the start of your therapy if possible so that you and your therapist can form a more personal connection.
  6. Be present during your sessions. Try your best not to show up late so that you have time to center yourself before getting started.
  7. Do the work. If your therapist assigns homework, make sure you do it. Also, do your best to apply what you’re learning in therapy to your life. Therapy only works if you do.
  8. Set realistic expectations. Expecting a few therapy sessions to leave you fully healed isn’t realistic. Trust your therapist when it comes to the timeline on things and try not to get frustrated if you aren’t seeing immediate results.

Therapy, just like healing, is a process. You have to be willing to put in the time and effort to see the results. Remember that you are worth the investment and that there is no shame in going to therapy, no matter how long it takes you to see the results you’re looking for. Going to therapy is a brave thing to do, and you should be proud of yourself for taking this very important step in your healing process.

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Essential Resources

If you’re facing legal/custody battles, a mental health crisis, an urgent medical issue, serious emotional problems, including suicidal thoughts, please seek help from the appropriate professionals near you.

Suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
Crisis line: 1-800-356-5395
Crisis text line: Text “help” to 741741
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV)

Split.fyi Resources
Split.fyi Marital Life Inventory
Divorce Lifecycle Document
Divorce Process Overview

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