Why Networks are Important When Going Through a SeparationFeb 17, 2022
When your clients are facing a painful separation or divorce, you’ll notice that the stronger their networks, the better able they are to navigate the process. There are of course always exceptions to the rule, but when a person has healthy non-romantic relationships in their life, they tend to feel less alone, less overwhelmed, and less despondent.
Therapy sessions provide a crucial outlet for your clients, but unless you’re on the end of the phone 24/7, it’s healthy to encourage them to share their feelings with trusted members of their social and familial network. It is however just as important to remind your clients not to lean too heavily on others; the people we love should play a supportive role, rather than that of problem-solver.
Counselling Vs. Support Networks
The biggest benefit of counselling for your clients will be the objective perspective you can offer them. Your job is to create a non-judgmental space where your client can talk through their feelings and their fears, and explore what they might want from future relationships.
It’s worth reminding your clients that while their networks can prove absolutely crucial during a break-up, they shouldn’t expect the same level of detachment and objectivity from friends and family. When people are directly involved in a person’s life, feelings run high.
You’re the objective sounding board that can help your clients to process their feelings and explore pathways to healthier thought-patterns; close networks are there for emotional support on a far more personal level.
It really is useful for your clients to understand this difference.
The Value of Support Networks
While friends and family will often find it nigh on impossible to remain objective, that’s part of the beauty of the relationship.
For your clients, being able to talk to friends and family who know their relationship history, know what makes them happy – and what doesn’t, and know what they have to offer the world, outside of a romantic relationship, can help to pull them through some really difficult times.
It can also help them to spot any patterns that they might have missed in their previous relationships, and prevent them from glossing over the cracks that were present in their recent relationship (the ones that mysteriously slip the mind during any heartbreak).
In fact, a strong support network is incredibly important for mental health, and health in general. Some studies actually suggest that close friendships have as much impact on our wellbeing as diet and exercise!
As well as lowering the risk of developing serious health conditions – such as heart disease and diabetes – having strong social ties slashes the risk of premature death in half. Friends also tend to encourage healthier decision-making, which is something your clients will benefit from if they’re facing a period of turmoil and deep personal unrest.
When it comes to going through a separation, perhaps the most valuable ‘side-effect’ of friendship is a reduction in loneliness.
If someone is experiencing loneliness, a break-up can hit them much harder. Their romantic relationship may have been the only deep connection in their life, so when that relationship ends, so too does the social connection. That’s why networks are so incredibly important throughout the break-up process: they help to prevent rash decision-making, and remaining in unhealthy situations through fear of being alone.
Ultimately, we’re all social creatures, and connections are essential for navigating the many challenges that life throws our way.
Learn Techniques to Support Your Clients Through Separation and Divorce
Would you like a deeper understanding of how to support your clients through the separation process?
In my relationship recovery toolkit course, you’ll learn how to guide your clients through separation and divorce – allowing you to grow in professional confidence, and your clients to thrive.
By the end of the course, you’ll:
- Feel more confident working with separation and divorce
- Understand why some clients are stuck in unhealthy patterns in relationships
- Gain creative therapeutic tools to use in therapy (including PDF exercises and worksheets)
- Explore key theories that underpin the work we do with clients
- Receive a framework to help support your clients through separation and divorce
- Complete 4 hours of CPD, with a certificate provided at the end
Get in touch to find out more.
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