Separation & Divorce Counselling and Support
- Are you in the midst of a separation and divorce and would benefit from mediation and support in your communication with your partner?
- Are you concerned about the impact of your separation and divorce on your children?
- Are you or your partner’s feelings, anger, resentment or fear getting in the way of prioritizing your children?
- Are your children having difficulty coping with the changes in your family and would benefit from specialized child-centered support?
Whether you are contemplating separation, in the process of divorce or are dealing with child and family considerations, it is important to address the emotional and psychological impacts of the significant changes that are occurring. If you find yourself in a separation and divorce without children, some considerations are different but many of the emotional and logistical concerns are the same. Support and mediation through the separation and divorce process can allow for more amicable and cooperative interactions, while allowing the processing of the emotional reactions and relationship patterns. In such a difficult time it is important to know that specialized and compassionate care and support is available to you and your family members.
In families with children, separation and divorce is often a time of great change, vulnerability and emotional reactivity. Most parents are concerned about the impact of the divorce and the subsequent changes it will have on their children. Many children find themselves caught in the middle of conflict between parents, but if it is handled in a child-centered way, all family members can move through the separation and divorce without significant long-term negative effects.
Alison has been supporting and counselling couples, families, parents and children at various stages of the separation and divorce process for many years. With specialized skills and understanding of the various relationship and emotional impacts on all family members, Alison will assist you and your children with:
Pre-Separation Planning to explore the emotional, logistical and developmental concerns regarding spouses and children. It is often beneficial to seek support prior to physical separation in order to strategically plan for minimizing the negative impacts on all family members.
Co-Parenting Counselling and Mediation can allow a venue to explore and to move beyond some of the potential blame, resentment, fear and grief that can get in the way of effective co-parenting during separation and divorce. In the event that parents do not feel ready or able to attend together, separate sessions can be arranged. During co-parenting planning and mediation, relationship dynamics and the emotional needs of all family members are taken into account while focusing on areas such as:
- Putting aside adult feelings to attend to the needs of children
- Communication between parents
- Custody and access issues
- Parenting plans
- Developmentally appropriate explanations for children
- Transitions between parents and households
- Consistency in routine
- The involvement or input of extended family members
- The introduction of new relationships
- Developmental needs and emotional responses of children
- Behaviour challenges
- The grieving process following a divorce
Child and Adolescent Counselling and Advocacy
In the process of separation and divorce, children often feel caught between two parents that they love. It is important that children and adolescents feel safe and able to have their concerns, needs and fears heard. This can be difficult, and particularly so in the midst of the strong feelings and significant change occurring in the family system during separation and divorce. Children often feel it is their fault and begin to take on worries and behaviours that are not developmentally appropriate or healthy for them. Alison can assist all family members to have their needs and feelings addressed as each person moves forward in the divorce process toward new ways of being in family.
Custody and Access Assessments
Alison is not currently accepting referrals for custody and access assessment. The focus of separation and divorce counselling, consultations and support for children and parents is therapeutic rather than legal.
Parenting Support and Consultation
When contemplating the idea of divorce and how it may impact children, parents often find it helpful to have a place to have their questions answered and their fears addressed. In the midst of many changes and emotional challenges it is helpful to have a venue to process the circumstances of the marital and family relationships and explore the current or potential impact that it is having on the children. Parent consultations can occur with one or both parents. If the intention is to provide counselling and support for a child at a later date, it is beneficial that both parents be involved either together or individually.
Ready to make a change?
Contact Alison Bell, Surrey BC Family Counsellor, to explore the initial first step in reaching your goals.
Alison will speak to you directly to discuss your areas of concern and determine how she may be best able to assist you. Finding the right therapist to support you is essential and Alison will be very happy to speak with you at any time to discuss your circumstance and hopes for the counselling or psychotherapy process.
Please feel free to refer yourself or a family member directly. Outside agencies or individuals may also refer to the practice.