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Posted on February 29, 2020 in Divorce,Family Law

Divorce is one of the most difficult life events that a person can go through. There are so many changes, emotions, fears, and losses that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and emotionally drained. Professionals often recommend therapy for people going through a divorce. It enables them to handle the changes and emotions with much more ease. Not to mention, if children are involved, it allows people to process on their own time, without greatly affecting the children. Knowing just how important therapy is during these times, we contacted some of the best therapists within San Diego to see what they had to say about attending therapy while going through a divorce.

As SanDiego divorce attorneys, we are licensed to counsel. People tell me that they feel better after I’ve counseled them but I try to keep the subject on legal issues and how to define the future. Counseling with a qualified therapist is very different because these professionals have studied human behavior as a science and as an art. They are simply better equipped to help someone who is going through separation or divorce in the front lines of interaction with their spouse and with their kids. They are more qualified along with clergy members. People will find that counseling might be provided with some insurance coverage and even if it’s not they will find that it’s less expensive than legal counseling.

Dr. Breffni Barrett, Psy.D.

(619) 297-7181 x107

Dr. Breffni Barrett, San Diego therapist

Divorce is one of the most stressful occurrences that happen to a family, ranking only below the death of a spouse. The divorce is stressful for both parents and extremely stressful for the children. Sometimes during a divorce, the psychological disturbances that occur during a divorce are acted out with anger and vengeance towards the other partner. The litigation process is exacerbated over issues like money, child custody, and residence. If people seek therapy what they can do is work through some of the emotional stress and some resolution of the conflict it will allow the dissolution process to occur more amicably. Therapy can help the parents find a way to explain to the children the process of divorce while ensuring them that they are cared for and will continue to be cared for and that they are not at fault regarding the divorce.


Scott Family Law, CFLS, replies:

Dr. Barrett identifies the stress of the circumstances and the benefit of therapy that we certainly recommend therapeutic counseling for our clients generally and we see people who are initially resistant to the idea, participating and then thankful to the point of raving about their therapist/psychologist and how beneficial it has been.



Dr. Barbara Cunningham, Psy.D., LMFT

Barbara Cunningham, MFT, San Diego therapist

Therapy during a divorce is perhaps the most significant investment you can make in your children’s future. Multiple research studies support the idea that calm divorced parents with an amicable co-parenting relationship pave the way for their children to make an easier adjustment now and throughout life.


Scott Family Law, CFLS, replies:

Co-parenting following separation requires new skills related to child-sharing related to listening to the co-parent and related to responding to the needs of the children. A good relationship with your psychologist or your therapist will help develop the co-parenting skills that will help both the parents and the children prevail and thrive.



Sara Cook Ruggera, MFT

Sara Cook Ruggera, MFT, San Diego therapist

Divorce is often a traumatic experience for both parties, in that some people perceive divorce as a personal failure. Divorce can be debilitating in that the process can be mentally, physically, and financially challenging. Working with a therapist can help with the grief and loss process, as a range of emotions may be experienced that often includes feelings of guilt, shame, fear, anxiety, and depression. Working with a therapist provides an objective and rational perspective to help guide the person with necessary tools to move forward and manage their situation. The benefits are immense, in that they include learning more about oneself to see the life transition as an opportunity for growth and personal development, manage emotions, make sense of the end of the marriage, gain new perspective, and learn more about healthy relationships for when they are ready to date again. If there are children, therapy would be beneficial for parents to understand the effects of divorce and how appropriate co-parenting impacts the well-being of their children.

Therapy with me includes helping cope with the process of going through the divorce, where we strive to make that process healthy and constructive. We also address pertinent issues, such as living arrangements, financial obligations, and parenting responsibilities, as well as identify and exercise appropriate behavior in moving forward for post-married life.

The counseling venue can be a place to speak about difficult issues in a neutral, safe and emotionally supportive environment. In some cases, participating in counseling during divorce results in a better understanding of the family’s needs and how to best approach conflict when it arises.


Scott Family Law, CFLS, replies:

Separation and divorce do lead to anxiety. They both certainly are depressing. Having a relationship with a therapist is like having another set of eyes when you are traveling through life and that other set of eyes is helping you understand the behavior of your ex, the behavior of your children, and is helping you to understand new ways to manage your own behavior.



Lori Underwood, M.A. LMFT

Lori Underwood MA, LMFT, San Diego therapist

While divorce is obviously a legal process, it is also a highly emotional process. The decisions you’ll need to make, specific to a divorce, will be made through a filter of wide-ranging emotions. For example, if your spouse has elected to divorce you and you feel powerless over the situation, you will filter your decision-making through a very different set of emotions than say if you are the one who has made the decision to divorce. In either case, the process is likely going to be difficult and challenging at times. I recommend you consider working concurrently with a professional who can help you best navigate the emotions you will likely feel during the divorce, as well as the expert you are hiring to assist you through the legal process.


Scott Family Law, CFLS, replies:

Your best future is on a course laid out on the chart and navigated by you through the emotions or emotional processes that could take you down by default. Good counseling will help you develop your course and stay on your course. Good counseling will provide the tools and equipment you need to keep a steady hand on the rudder as you steer yourself through the future.


If you are getting divorced, there is more to process than legal paperwork. Often, it takes time and emotional support to move through a life change like this. With the help and support of a therapist, the transition can be easier and more manageable for you and your family. Furthermore, if you’re looking for a divorce lawyer in San Diego, Scott Family Law is a certified family law specialist, with over 35 years of experience. He helps you understand the process and provides quality service. For more information, visit or call 858.974.4900.