While not essential to the process, working with therapists or marriage counselors during divorce Mediation can be tremendously helpful for couples who are trying to process the emotional aspects of divorce. The work of therapists/counselors and Mediators is not mutually exclusive.
Considering a Divorce While Working with a Therapist
If you are already working with a therapist, you know how useful s/he can be in helping you sort out your emotions and work through the realities of your situation. It is important to take some time to sort through what you are experiencing in your marriage before you decide to move ahead one way or another.
If you have not yet communicated your feelings to your spouse, talking with a therapist can help you make sense of those feelings and think through how best to broach the subject with your spouse.
If you want to take it to the next level, many therapists are knowledgeable about Mediation and can refer you to a professional Mediator.
Considering a Divorce While Working with a Marriage Counselor
If you are already working with a marriage counselor, your spouse is likely also aware of the problems you are both experiencing in your marriage, and may be in favor of pursuing a divorce as well.
If you are not yet certain that divorce is what you both want, your sessions with the counselor can help you put any problematic issues on the table and work toward other possible solutions before coming to the conclusion that divorce is the only recourse.
At that point, the counselor can discuss Mediation as a viable option in navigating divorce proceedings. If both parties decide this is the direction they want to take, the next step becomes finding the right Mediator.
Considering a Divorce When You Have No Therapist or Marriage Counselor
Whether or not you have been working with a professional to identify and address the problems in your marriage, if you are thinking about getting a divorce, it may be wise to consult with an attorney and/or a Mediator to find out what the Mediation process entails.
Mediators are able to work closely with both spouses to develop a divorce agreement that is acceptable to both parties. The process and outcome are usually much more positive and practical than if the divorce proceeds to litigation.
While Mediation is certainly more constructive than litigation, it is still not an easy process emotionally. That being the case, many couples benefit quite a bit by working with a therapist or counselor throughout the mediation process.
If you wish to work with a mental health professional and need help in finding a good therapist, consult with your primary care physician, your insurance company (to see which ones are covered), or friends and relatives who may have used one in the past.
Mediators do not advise about law or help couples work through emotions during their sessions; instead, their function is to facilitate a mutually satisfactory divorce negotiation. Because of this, therapists can become valuable partners who work alongside the Mediator as each spouse processes the emotional fallout of a divorce. Although you can authorize your therapist and Mediator to talk, in most situations each relationship remains confidential. The processes complement each other but are not connected.
For more information about Mediation, contact me at email@example.com.