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Do I Need Therapy? Quiz

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What is Online Therapy?

Times are changing and so is therapy. It used to be that clients had to take a couple of hours out of their busy day to fit in a trip to the therapist. But today, with advances in online communication and security, a whole new way of getting help has become available.  Learn more about the world of online therapy and what it can do to help you become a better you.

What is Online Therapy?

Online therapy, also known as telepsychology, telemental health, internet therapy, or online-counseling,  is a growing trend in the behavioral health world. Through online therapy, mental health providers are able to work with clients using therapeutic interventions over the internet. Online therapy can be offered via video, telephone, and texting. This new therapy platform is becoming more popular because it offers the same benefits of traditional therapy while adding in the convenience factor.

Benefits of Online Therapy

Online Therapy

There are many benefits to online therapy which explains why this is a rapidly growing platform among consumers.  When it comes to therapy it is easy to come up with reasons to not to seek help. The most common reasons include not having enough time, the stigma associated with therapy, the cost to see a therapist, and not being able to find the right therapist. Online therapy solves these problems and makes accessing a therapist as easy as logging onto your computer or phone. The convenience factor is huge when it comes to online therapy.

Convenience

The most common reason for not seeking therapy is time. People are busy, life happens, and when you add additional stressors, therapy is unfortunately not a priority. Online therapy eliminates the hassle of traveling to an office because it is available wherever you are on your phone or computer.  Beyond that, you are far more likely to be able to find a therapist after hours through an online platform, meaning you can make it to your appointments without missing work or school.  Best of all, you can attend sessions from the comfort of your own home.

No Stigma

When it comes to medical diagnoses people never question when a person needs to go to the doctor. Unfortunately, when it comes to mental health, there is still a lot of stigma associated with therapy.  Because of this stigma, people are often worried about seeking therapy in an office setting for fear they may run into someone they know.  Online therapy helps solve this problem. You can privately have a session with your therapist without leaving your couch or wherever you feel most comfortable. No more worrying about running into a coworker or friend while walking into the therapist’s office.

Selection

Many people complain that they have a hard time finding the right person that fits what they need from a therapist.  This process could be compared to dating, since you may have to see a few therapists before you find the most compatible one.  When it comes to online therapy, you can quickly scan the provider’s bios, see their pictures, professional experience, and reviews. With all of this information at your fingertips, you can more easily find the best therapist for you.  Even better, there is a wider selection available because you aren’t restricted to searching for providers within driving distance.

Options

Another great benefit of online therapy is that there are so many more options available.  You are no longer restricted to distance or stuck with your health insurance provider’s coverage. You can select the option that best fits your needs.  Online therapy offers a vast range of therapy options including:

  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Couples therapy
  • Even peer support groups!

This broadens your selection and allows you access to many different options you might not have through traditional therapy. More options mean more opportunities to find the right therapist and the right help for you.

Could I Benefit From Therapy?

Types of Online Therapy and Counseling

There are many different types of online counseling available, including email, telephone calls, chat rooms, video conferencing, and texting. All of these offer similar benefits, but the best-proven option is currently to use video sessions.

Video Sessions

Video counseling has proven to be the most effective form of online therapy because it provides a similar experience to traditional therapy while taking out the inconveniences associated with in-office treatment. There have been many studies that show video counseling is extremely beneficial for clients.  Therapists are able to build the same relationship with you as if you were in their office.

The most important part of therapy is empathy and understanding non-verbal cues, and video conferencing works great for this as well.   You can still have that personal connection of seeing and interacting with your therapist as if they were in the same room, but now in your own comfortable space using the internet for your session.

Teletherapy

Phone or audio only is another popular option for online therapy. This gives many of the same benefits as video conferencing but without the option to see the other person. Although still effective, teletherapy is missing the face to face interaction that you want when seeking therapy. One strategy some therapists use is to supplement video-conferencing with teletherapy. If you usually do video sessions with your therapist and find yourself going out of town and leaving wifi behind, a teletherapy session is a great way to bridge the gap. That way you don’t have to miss out on taking care of you.

Texting Therapy

Another option that is available to clients is texting therapy. While it has the convenience factor, it is considered less effective as a stand-alone method. Texting loses some of the most personal parts of communication. It may be a fast, easy option but is probably not be the best method of therapy. Your therapist uses many different methods when working with you to understand you and the challenges you face. Texting is often very impersonal and can at times even make things worse, especially if you face problems like social anxiety.

Texting Therapy

Video conferencing has proven to be the most effective form of online therapy because it can function in almost all of the same ways as traditional therapy. Texting therapy has a much smaller research foundation, and much of its value is unproven so far. In fact, there is only one study supporting the effectiveness of texting therapy as a stand-alone treatment method, published on a commercial website by just a single researcher. So while this is becoming a more common method, it’s important to understand the risks.

Styles of therapy

There are many different approaches to therapy. A therapist typically has one style they like to utilize throughout their practice.  During your first conversation, it can be helpful to ask your therapist what their style of therapy is and decide if that style will work for you.   A good fit is easier to achieve if you know a little more about what might work best for your situation.  Just like there are specialties in medicine for treating certain kinds of physical problems, there are specialties in therapy for resolving certain kinds of life problems. If the style doesn’t fit quite right, most therapists will be happy to help you find someone who does. Here are some of the more common styles you’ll see.

CBT

CBT, or cognitive behavioral therapy, is a  very common form of therapy used to treat a broad range of concerns. Cognitive behavioral therapy can be beneficial with many challenges such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and eating disorders as well as problems like tough relationships, bad sleep, and loss.  CBT is a problem-focused therapy, which means it looks at the specific problem that you’re facing and then helps find and use new coping skills to help with that problem.  Research has shown that CBT can lead to significant improvements in coping and quality of life and can lead to change in your life.

Psychodynamic

Psychodynamic therapy is a close cousin to the old method of psychoanalysis. It works by helping to interpret the subconscious workings of your mind. A psychodynamic therapist will help you to go through some of the more important events in your life, and see how these shape the challenges you face today.  The goal is to use this information to uncover the workings of your unconscious mind and to see the things that might have slipped by you. Psychodynamic therapy can be great for you if you’re looking to understand yourself more deeply and face challenges that seem unending or insurmountable.

Person-Centered

Person-centered therapy is almost exactly what it sounds like. The therapist’s goal is to help you find your own direction and solutions to your problems throughout therapy. The relationship between you and your therapist is key to this process and is actually used to help you heal and grow.  Here, your therapist will work as a guide or a coach, and you will face your challenges as a team. Through a process of listening, empathy, and feedback, a person-centered therapist puts you in the driver’s seat.  By meeting you as an equal, your therapist helps you regain autonomy and control and helps you to overcome your problems. You have choices and together with your therapist, you can guide the direction of your own therapy.

What Can Online Therapy Help With?

Online therapy can be used to treat all different kinds of problems ranging from anxiety and depression to relationship issues and work-related stress. Online therapy has proven to be just as beneficial if not more so than traditional face to face. Some studies even indicate people are more satisfied with online therapy.  So online therapy not only offers all of the same benefits of traditional therapy, it also offers greater convenience and flexibility

It’s important to remember though that online therapy is not necessarily a complete replacement for traditional therapy. Individuals suffering from more severe disorders or who experience frequent thoughts of self-harm or suicide may not be well suited for this type of therapy.

However, as time goes on, major hospital networks and other healthcare providers are beginning to integrate online capabilities into the physical healthcare environment, allowing them to consult with experts in rural areas or areas where there simply are not enough therapists to fully meet demand. Combined with the physical presence of healthcare staff, online therapy is making headway in helping to solve even some of the most severe mental health problems and emergencies.

Online TherapyFinding the Right Platform

There are many options available to you when looking for an online therapist. Therapy delivery systems you may encounter can be divided into three basic categories: networks, platforms, and individual practices.

Networks for online therapy are similar to the networks you might find through your insurance company or local hospital group. Therapists are employed by the network, with standardized intake forms, scheduling formats, and billing. The network handles the majority of the administrative work, up to and sometimes including the assignment of clients to therapists. Networks tend to have the least amount of flexibility.

Platforms work a bit differently. Similar to companies like Uber and AirBnB, online therapy platforms work as a kind of marketplace for connecting clients and therapists. You can go to these sites and look through therapists bios and ratings, allowing you to find the person who will be the best fit for you. Like networks, platforms generally have a standardized intake process and billing system but allow the therapists and clients much greater flexibility in scheduling and the types of therapy available. This model also allows therapists to provide their services at much lower rates than those found in traditional therapy practices or networks.

Individual practices are built and owned by the therapist themselves and are not connected to other platforms or networks. Many therapists offer services online as an outgrowth of their traditional practices. Typically these practices will use Skype or other sites to facilitate therapy. Because the therapist runs the operation themselves, there tend to be higher rates involved. The upside is that therapists can also provide there services in virtually any way mutually agreed upon with their clients.

Ethics of Online Therapy and Counseling

Anyone practicing online therapy is bound by the same code of ethics as traditional therapy.  No matter where a therapist has their practice in they must adhere to the same standards dictated by their state licensing authority, as well as the standards set by their professional organizations. Your therapist should be able to show you and help you to understand their credentials at any time.

Online Therapist Code of Ethics

Telemental health services are held to the same standard as in-person therapy. All the same state regulations, rules, and code of ethics apply no matter what platform of therapy is being used.  Your therapist is responsible for understanding every aspect of using online services, as well as for ensuring your safety and the security of your information.

Confidentiality

Confidentiality is always protected no matter how you get your therapy services.  Online therapy is no exception. One thing to remember, however, is that the online therapy can suffer from the same vulnerabilities as the rest of the internet. Hackers and malware happen.  Your therapist should make every reasonable effort to protect and maintain the confidentiality of your information. Your therapist also needs to keep you informed about the potential risks to privacy of using online services. You can do your part as well by making sure you use trusted internet connections and keep your security software up to date.

Safety

While most information in therapy must legally be kept confidential, there are a small number of exceptions. If the therapist believes there is an immediate danger of serious self-harm or suicide, confidentiality may be broken for the purposes of informing emergency healthcare services. Therapists are also required by law to report incidents of child abuse or abuse of the elderly. Finally, in some states, therapists have a legal “duty to warn.” This means they are required to contact others if a client shows a serious intent to harm another person. Though these exceptions are fairly uncommon, you therapist will cover them in detail during your first meeting.

Online Therapy

Referrals

Sometimes a therapist is just not able to provide the right services. This can be for many reasons, from a bad fit in the therapeutic relationship to the need for a higher level of care. In any case, your therapist should always be able to evaluate the situation and ensure that they can make the right referrals if you need a change or more care than they can provide.

Honest Representation

Therapists are required by law to tell the truth and give an accurate account of the care they can provide. That means they should hold an active state license in their specialty, and be able to show proof upon request. It’s important to ask for and be clear about what your therapist can do before beginning therapy. Every state also has a website where you can check out your therapist by name or license number. this can also help you figure out if someone is the right therapist for you.

Security and Privacy in Online Therapy

One of the major concerns with the internet is always security. This concern is even more important if you’re using the internet to obtain healthcare services. While most providers will make every effort to keep your information confidential, there may still be some small amount of risk to your privacy. To help mitigate these risks, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Telemedicine Association have published guidelines for online therapy providers to follow. Here are some things look for to help guard against data breach.

HIPAA and Compliance

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is the primary federal law protecting the privacy of healthcare information. Later legislation has supplemented and helped extend those guidelines into the online space. Therapists are required to follow these laws in protecting your information.

In addition, there are further laws that govern the protection of therapy notes and substance abuse treatment specifically, making it some of the most carefully protected information out there. Other than the previously mentioned exceptions, the only other way to legally obtain your records would be by court order.

With the legal bar set so high, providers are very careful to maintain compliance. Many organizations use third-party automated auditing services to help meet these standards, in addition to mandated regular training for providers. Compliance information should be easily found on the home page of any site you choose to use for your therapy.

Encryption

Beyond standard HIPAA compliance, many organizations are now also adding encryption to their communication systems. Encryption is basically a way of scrambling a signal, making it unreadable to anyone but the sender and the recipient. While there are many different ways of encrypting data, they all share the basic advantage of making it nearly impossible for messages to be intercepted and deciphered by a third party. This protects you because it means that what is said between you and your therapist stays between you and your therapist.

Server Security

Server security is another important part of secure online therapy. Servers are traffic management systems, directing all of the different messages and work that may be going through a particular online system. They can also store information, and so protecting them is a high priority for any online company. The level of server security can be a bit tougher to find out, but there should be at least a brief statement on your therapist’s site. If a third party is used to provide security, that information should also be available.

Medical Records

Medical records are the primary target of HIPAA. If your therapist is following all of the guidelines mentioned here, then your medical records should be safe and secure.

What You Can Do

Most elements of security discussed so far have had to do with your therapist’s role. But you have a part to play, too. Keeping up to date with your operating system and antivirus software should help keep your information safe from prying eyes. Also, be sure to use unique passwords for your accounts and be careful not to share your login information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is online therapy legitimate?

Online therapy is very legitimate. Online therapists are held to the same standard as any other therapy professional. The same licensures, privacy rules, and ethics all apply whether therapy is provided in an office, over the phone, or through video conference. Therapists should have their state-issued credentials readily available. If not, it’s usually better to move on to someone else.

Is online therapy covered by insurance?

Coverage can vary. There are some plans that are offer coverage for online therapy through video conferencing. Phone/text therapy is not something covered by health plans. It is best to check with your insurance carrier directly to find out more about your benefits.

How effective is online therapy?

Online therapy has proven to be very effective, especially video therapy. The benefits of online therapy are well researched and documented. Of all the telemental health options available, video therapy is generally very secure and proven to be the most effective.

Is online therapy expensive?

Pricing will vary depending on a number of factors. The cost will depend on what style of services you’re looking for and what platform the therapist is connected to. Some sites offer subscription style services, while others bill by the therapy hour.  In general, however, online therapy tends to be much more affordable than traditional therapy.

The Growth of Online Counseling

The internet has massively transformed the world around us since it’s arrival. Now it’s transforming the way we reach out to each other and get help. Online therapy is a new way of getting the help you’ve always wanted but didn’t know how to get. Therapy has been changing lives for decades, and now it’s here in a way that anyone can reach for.

Click Here to Try Therapy in the Palm of Your Hand

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Understanding a Connection Between Mental Illness & Family History

 

Many with a mental illness may feel like they need to silence their suffering. The stigma attached to conditions like major depression or bipolar disorder can suppress people into hiding their pain or continuing to live a debilitating life in secret. But organizations like The Mighty, To Write Love On Her Arms and Mental Kilter are bringing a sense of normalcy to mental disorders, supporting people facing mental health challenges.

Connecting with these types of organizations, along with seeking medication, therapy or a deeper understanding of a mental disorder, can help you (or help you support a loved one). The following sheds light on the topic of mental illness and family history. By learning more about mental illness and factors beyond your control that may have cultivated it, you can start working toward managing your disorder step-by-step and stigma-free. Connection, information, and knowledge are empowering in the context of your mental health.

Multifactorial Disordersman covering his face with his hands who has a mental illness which is depression

Mental disorders are known as multifactorial inheritance disorders. This means a combination of multiple genes, acting alongside environmental factors, can cause a genetic disorder, including behavioral, according to the National Human Genome Research Institute. Genetics Home Reference also explains that although disorders do cluster in families, there is no definitive pattern of inheritance. In other words, a person with a strong family history of mental illness may be at high risk for developing one, but it’s not concrete. Uncertain specific factors and varying genetic contributions make it difficult to clearly identify if a person inherits a disorder. You could have a high functioning depression, for example, whereas a sibling has a mild case or no symptoms of depression at all.

Environmental Effects

As a multifactorial disorder, mental illness arises due to environmental circumstances (in addition to genetics). Factors like trauma, emotional harm, substance abuse and even experiencing stress in the womb can make a person susceptible to a mental disorder. A paper published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information identifies research that a woman’s psychological distress while pregnant can affect fetal behavior and child development. Studies show that maternal anxiety and depression, for example, can cause an increased risk for neuro-developmental and mental disorders in children. Moreover, science journalist Annie Murphy Paul, during an interview with Scientific American, refers to a theory speculating that the effects of the stress hormone cortisol can increase the likelihood that anxiety and depression in a woman cause the baby’s development of mental illness.

5 Psychiatric Disorders Sharing Common Genetic Factors

The National Institutes of Health points to the idea that psychiatric disorders can indeed run in families, as well as share genes and similarities biologically. These five illnesses include autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, major depression and schizophrenia.

Types of Mental Illness That Share Common Genetic Factors

  • Autism – Autism is a mental condition that usually develops during early childhood. It is considered as a highly heritable psychiatric disorder in which 1 out of 166 people has this neurodevelopmental disorder. Studies show that there is an 80 percent chance where the other twin will have this mental illness when one identical twin has it.
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – This mental disorder is commonly diagnosed in children that affects teens as well in which progresses into adulthood. The symptoms may differ from person to person but the most common are inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. This condition likely runs in the family where the genes acquired from the parents are one of the major determinants of having this condition.
  • Bipolar Disorder – Individuals with this type of brain disorder, have a condition wherein their serotonin and dopamine do not function properly which causes mood swings and unusual changes in energy and activity levels. This condition may be hard to diagnose but there are signs and symptoms that will help identify the disorder. Researchers believe that genetic predisposition is present in this condition where abnormalities are found on specific genes.
  • Major Depression – Major depression is also known as the major depressive disorder (MDD). A person with major depression has a constant feeling of sadness and find it difficult to carry out daily activities such as eating and sleeping. Studies show that at least 10 percent of individuals in the US are diagnosed with depression of which around 50 percent of the cause is due to genetic predisposition. In this case, if a person has a history of depression in their family, that person will more likely have a high risk of developing major depression in comparison with an average person.
  • Schizophrenia – Schizophrenia generally develops in early adulthood or late adolescence and have symptoms like delusions and hallucinations. It is more likely that one of the causes of this mental disorder and a primary determining factor is genetics or heredity. Individuals who have blood relatives with schizophrenia tend to acquire this chronic brain disorder themselves.

If your family has a history with one of these five illnesses, then you may be pre-dispositioned to developing one as well. Mental Health America provides a list warning signs that can indicate a mental illness, along with coping strategies, that you can refer to if you’re concerned you have symptoms. Lifestyle habits like healthy eating, regular exercise, adequate sleep, stress management and emotional support services can also help reduce symptoms of mental disorder and your risk of developing a mental illness.

Seeking Counseling & Exploring Mental Illness Furtherwoman in a psychologist's office who is dealing with a mental illness

Mental illness is complex, resulting from interacting genetic and environmental components; determining high or low risk isn’t clear-cut. But speaking with a certified therapist can help you with any mental illness-related concerns such as:

  • Managing an already diagnosed mental illness
  • Any concerning emotional or mental problems
  • Fear you may develop one because of your family history
  • Fear you may pass on a disorder because of your family history
  • Living with someone with mental health problems, helping a loved one in need

If you need to connect with a professional to share worries or ask questions, schedule an appointment with ThriveTalk. ThriveTalk specializes in tele-therapy services provided by certified therapists who can conveniently and remotely treat and counsel via video conference.

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Internet Addiction. Unplug Once a Week. It’s Good for You.

 

Internet addiction is epidemic in today’s society, and it’s bad for your physical and mental health. The average American adult now spends more than 10 hours a day staring at a screen whether mobile devices, gaming, working or watching TV — based on Nielsen audience report about internet addiction statistics.

All this time online can take a toll on your mind and body. Here are seven reasons why unplugging from the Internet at least once a week is good for your mental and physical health.

Benefits of Unplugging from the Internet

It Builds Self-Control

When you’re constantly going online for socializing, videos or gaming, it can become a compulsive behavior pattern. You can tell your technology is starting to control you when you start to feel anxious whenever you’re away from your smartphone, you feel a need to drop everything to answer a text alert, or you spend all your free time gaming, which are signs of technology addiction. Disrupting this compulsive behavior can help you develop self-control, says Entrepreneur.

It Lets Your Brain Relax

teens using smartphones who are addicted to the internet are forming a circle

Constantly staring at a screen bombards your brain with visual and auditory stimulation. This keeps your nervous system from relaxing, which is unnatural and builds stress. Thirty-eight percent of millennials feel stressed from technology overload, a Cornerstone OnDemand study found. Spending less time on the computer will help you calm your mind.

It Improves Your Mental Health

The stress of constant online stimulation can strain your mind as well as your nerves. You can start to feel fatigued, anxious, irritable or even aggressive. If you’re online constantly because of work, you may start to resent your employer. Recognizing this, French workers have successfully lobbied for a right to have hours on evenings and weekends when staff is not allowed to send or respond to emails.

It Allows You to Be More Present

Constantly interrupting what you’re doing to answer texts or catch up on games keeps you in a state of distraction. This can hurt your ability to concentrate on important tasks, as well as your ability to relax, enjoy life and socialize with others. Unplugging periodically can help you learn to be more present to yourself and to others around you.

It Frees You to Pursue Your Life Goals

women giving high five to each other learned how to stop being addicted to internet

Being preoccupied with the Internet can distract you from important priorities such as long-term life and career goals. Disconnecting can give you time to reconnect with your top priorities. Or take on a new hobby. Get rid of habits that make you unhappy, and focus on achieving your goals.

It Promotes Family Bonding Time

Being online constantly robs you of precious moments you could spend bonding with your family. Scheduling periodic downtime on evenings and weekends give you an opportunity to spend quality time with your family. You can use this time to focus on each other and on offline activities you can enjoy together.

It Deters Obesity

Spending too much time online can hurt your physical health by promoting obesity. Harvard research has already established a correlation between too much TV viewing and obesity, and research suggests a similar correlation between obesity and computer, video game and internet use. Unplugging can give you a chance to get in some exercise and improve your health.

The negative physical and mental consequences of too much internet and gaming time are numerous, and the benefits of taking a break from online activity are compelling. Unplugging from the internet can be a struggle at first, but it will help you develop self-regulation and meet your goals.

If you feel you are at risk of having excessive internet use and starts to question yourself, “Am I addicted to the internet?”, then this is the right time to find ways on how to prevent internet addiction. Below are some tips on how to restrain yourself from spending too much time on the internet and save yourself from the addiction.

How to Avoid Internet Addiction

1. Acknowledge that you may be addicted to the internet.
You need to admit first to yourself that you are at risk of being addicted online. Once you acknowledge your internet dependency, it will be easy for you to get help. Start by finding support groups that will help you in dealing with problems associated with the use of the internet.

2. Set a specific time when using the internet.
When you use your computer, make sure that you set a definite time on how many hours you should spend in surfing the net. In this way, you can regulate your computer use and do the things that are more important.

3. Distract yourself from the computer.
Call your friends and spend more time with them. Going out with your friends for at least 3 hours a day will help you divert your attention from using the internet. Also, you can gain better mental health by socializing. Research shows that interacting with other people improves your mood and weakens the feelings of depression.

4. Find a hobby that doesn’t involve using the internet.
There are a lot of things you can do without the internet. You can take a yoga or cooking class, get involved with local events in your community, or go for a run with friends. By doing these activities, it will help you take a break from the internet.

5. Create a to-do list and stick to it.
Internet activities distract you from doing your obligations which results in procrastination. You should put your obligations first and do the things that need to be done. Only allow yourself to do fun-focused internet activities after you are done accomplishing your obligations.

The internet allows you to have endless social interaction and keeps you entertained in ways that reality doesn’t seem to be interesting. If you want to steer away from the hooks of internet addiction, incorporate the tips mentioned in your day-to-day life to help you avoid compulsive internet use.

If you’re concerned you may have an internet addiction or your child is showing signs of gaming addiction, consider scheduling an online therapy session with a qualified counselor who can help you manage your problem. You can schedule an online therapy appointment with ThriveTalk.

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How to Cope With a Divorce

 

Everyone’s heard the “half of all marriages end in divorce” statistic. And like most things in life, the impact of this statistic is negligible until it happens to you.

Divorce is devastating, even under the best of circumstances. The sadness, stress, and emotions can be overwhelming at times. If you’re going through a painful divorce and it feels like you’re just not coping well, take heart — you can heal. We have some tips on how to cope with divorce as a man or a woman that should make today just a little bit better than yesterday.

Acknowledge Your Emotions

orange scissors cutting a marriage certificate refers to coping with divorce

To put it bluntly: It’s normal to be a mess. Divorce isn’t just the dissolution of a union; it’s saying goodbye to our dream of attaining our very own happily ever after. That feels terrible.

In fact, divorce requires a grieving process similar to what we go through when a loved one dies. It’s completely appropriate to feel a wide range of emotions — anger, sadness, fear, frustration, confusion — and there doesn’t need to be any rhyme or reason as to why you feel what at any given time.

The negative feelings will lessen over time, but in the meantime, give yourself permission to feel. Divorce is messy, but sometimes acknowledging that fact inherently makes it just a tiny bit easier. 

Go Easy on Yourself

You will likely be less productive than you normally are. That’s OK. You probably won’t feel like doing much of anything; that’s OK too. You don’t need to be superwoman. Treat yourself as you would treat your own sick best friend.

Granted, you can’t drop out of life completely, but it’s perfectly acceptable for your productivity and social life to take a downward turn while you go through a divorce. As long as you don’t stay there for months and months, this is to be expected.

Seek Support

This tip is vital: Lean on others for support. Talk, cry, express yourself — just don’t keep it bottled up inside. Allow your friends and family to be there for you. 

Sometimes we need more support than an understanding friend can give us. In these cases:

  • Look into divorce support groups. There are Facebook groups and other online forums as well as in-person meetups and church-based groups that will help you on how to cope with separation from your husband or wife. Start with a simple Google search to see what’s available and sounds good to you.
  • Seek professional counseling. If the pain of your divorce is too much or if you are having difficulty carrying out normal day-to-day activities, it may be time to seek divorce counseling. You could do therapy to help improve your life.

Care for Your Body and Mind

Stress can cause myriad health problems, including headaches, insomnia, exhaustion, overeating/weight gain, digestive problems and reduced immune function. In addition, stress can cause a host of ill emotional effects, including anxiety, depression, inability to focus, lack of motivation, irritability, and anger. No fun at all.

It’s essential you take care of your mind, body, and spirit during this time. Doing so will minimize the effects of stress, helping you to recover and move on. Now more than ever is the time to:

  • Eat well
  • Get regular exercise
  • Keep a regular sleeping schedule
  • Spend time in nature
  • Nurture your friendships
  • Make time to relax and do things you enjoy
  • Tend to your spirit through prayer/meditation (or whatever that means to you)

Avoid Power Struggles & Arguments with Your Ex

woman angry with her partner is on a restaurant and is dealing with divorce

One of the most important life lessons that will help you get through this difficult time is this: You can’t change other people. You can only change yourself and how you react to them.

Stop trying to force your ex to see it your way, be sorry for something, apologize, etc. Don’t get involved in power struggles that are only about being “right.” Refuse to participate in any manipulative or malevolent behavior. In the end, you’ll be happier for it.

Reconnect with Your Prenuptial Hobbies

Did you use to love to restore old furniture? Brew your own beer? Hike? Blog? Now is the time to resurrect any interests and activities you may have let slip when you became part of a couple. Or, explore new ones.

Set Time Aside for Positive Thinking

This is a simple yet powerful tool for overcoming any challenge, especially when going through a divorce. Most of us know that positive thinking is — well, positive —  but we don’t make a conscious, concerted effort to do it.

Change that. Block off just five minutes a day and devote them to manifesting good things in your life. Write them down in an “I deserve a joyful life” journal. Learn about the power of positive affirmations, and then do them.

Divorce is one of the toughest things a person can go through but you will get through it and be OK. Take time to grieve the loss, stick close to your loved ones and be good to yourself.

Life After Divorce

Coping with divorce can be difficult, but in every challenge, there is always a positive aspect to it. Amidst a painful separation, positive things can happen after going through a divorce, it is a matter of how you can identify and embrace these great things.

Great Things That Can Happen After Dealing With Divorce

1. It gives you a second chance at life and more opportunity to do the things you always wanted to do.
2. You can find more peace as opposed to when you were a part of a married couple.
3. It is much easier for you to handle challenging situations and you become fearless.
4. You feel more independent and confident in yourself.
5. You will discover who your real friends are who have supported you through the tough time.
6. You will be happier compared to when you were still married, you will no longer fight change and life starts to get easier.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional counselor if you feel overwhelmed or that you can’t go on. ThriveTalk provides online therapy and can help you get through this difficult time. You’re worth it!