For those who are in the process of a divorce or those who have recently been divorced, there are varying stagings of emotions that come along with the process. You may have heard the saying “there is strength in numbers,” and for many people, attending a divorce support group may help them. Finding a divorce support group provides individuals the opportunity to connect with others who have gone through a divorce and the group can be a great resource and a stepping stone for the next chapter.
Divorce Support Group Benefits
While many people may rely on friends or family members, many find that divorce support groups are the ideal way to heal the pain, grief, confusion, and devastation that may follow a divorce.
A divorce support group can be a helpful tool in your healing and recovery in some unique ways:
- Normalize the stages and experiences of divorce through structured classes
- Share your process and hear about others who have been through a similar situation
- Find and learn positive ways to deal with your anger, fears, and resentment
- Provides a way hinder the loneliness that is common with divorce through community
- Obtain support from group members, which will help strengthen your recovery and belief in yourself for moving your life forward
Finding the Right Support Group
While any divorce support group will provide the benefits listed above, the groups vary in significant ways. In order for a support group to be effective, finding one that you’re comfortable with is key. Different groups may have different formats to meet various needs.
Is it more information and focused, or more process-focused? Do you prefer a more educational setting for learning tools and recovery concepts? Or, would you prefer more personal sharing and support with the other group members?
When, where, and how often? Many groups have a certain number of sessions, typically weekly or bi-weekly and some, in a series-type format. In some of these groups, you can join at any time in the series. With other groups, you must begin with the first class in the series as there is more of a structured schedule. There are also some groups that operate year-round and you can join at any time. While year-round groups may have rotating themes, they are often more process than learning focused.
What are the attendance expectations? Does the group allow “drop-in,” or do you need to register in advance? Divorce support groups increase emotional safety and depth by having consistent committed group members. Since some groups have more structured participation, keep this in mind as you are selecting a group and know that your schedule or life may require you to skip some of the meetings.
What is the cost? Is the class donation basis, cost per session, or cost for the series of classes? In general, you get what you pay for in terms of the quality of the materials and support offered. Does the class allow you to come and observe one time to determine if it’s a good fit?
Are you looking for a religious foundation or something non-denominational? While many divorce support groups are hosted in churches, it does not mean the group is faith-based. To be sure, ask the group organizer if the group includes prayer or teachings from a religious perspective.
What is the teaching method? Divorce support groups teach concepts with written materials, video, lecture or group activity, and discussion. If you What is your preferred learning style? Try to find a group with a style that you’re comfortable with.
What is the experience of the organizer? Divorce support groups may be led by therapists, counselors, clergy, or community volunteers. How much experience do they have leading divorce support groups or helping people through grief and loss? Don’t be afraid to ask about their backgrounds.
Finding a Divorce Support Group Near You
The availability of divorce support groups may vary by city, state, and time of year. Groups are generally hosted by churches, therapists, or community organizations. Divorce Care is a well-established curriculum that includes videos and other learning materials. These classes are often held in churches and run by community members who have been through the class as a participant.
Groups run by trained counselors and therapists can be found through your statewide counseling organization and by doing a search on the Psychology Today website.
Many Community organizations that host divorce support groups can often be found on Meetup, DivorceHQ, and there are also plenty of private groups on social media sites, such as Facebook, that you can join to speak with others through that mean. There are some organizations, such as The Divorce Coalition, that work with varying professionals who have concentrations in working with those going through a divorce. Sterk Family Law Group’s Resource Center is another great source for getting information and access to referrals for support groups or professionals to help you along the process.
Some people find that joining a divorce support group allows then an outlet to talk about their circumstances but also gives them the opportunity to help others in the process. Finding the right support group can be a lifeline and a source of strength for anyone going through a divorce.
Written by Crystal S. Pavloski
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