When a marriage or relationship is dissolved, the wishes, fantasies, conflicts and styles of relating to each other are no longer a reality. For the couple, it is a major loss in their lives. The break-up of a relationship is not just losing someone who was closest to you but also that of a social, emotional and physical nature. There are also the traditions and patterns of the relationship or family that are also discontinued.

Divorce or separation often involves children and it is a major loss for all family members. The broader aspect includes in-laws, friends and the life of the couple that has been disrupted. Relationship therapists assert that a family with children will always be a unit and does not end, even though the couple may have separated. Parenting remains critical to family functioning, particularly after separation and divorce. The well-being of the children is a major consideration.

In relationship therapy, the counsellor will acknowledge these changes as they are occurring and help the individual or the couple to understand the break-up in the context of the world around them. There is obviously turmoil in the family that, if possible, should be managed with a broader perspective than just the couple in mind. Children fare better when they maintain a good relationship with at least one if not both parents. They are better when they are kept out of conflict and when there are fewer disruptions in their lives.

The therapist is able to help the client identify the emotions and physical changes that may be occurring in the context of the timing and events occurring at the particular time. Unfamiliar feelings may arise such as fear, anxiety, guilt, sadness and at times relief, not in any particular order.

The process of finding ourselves again is part of the healing process. To be able to close a chapter with a clearer understanding of oneself and the past relationship helps the client to be able to move forward into a new independent life. That way they are better equipped to face future challenges more competently and find happiness once again.

At the first session you can talk to your counsellor about your particular circumstances and decide together the best way forward.