Friday, February 10, 2012

Do Adult Children Of Divorce Need Counseling?

As adult children , whose parents are divorcing, our needs for support and guidance may vary, but I would say counseling is an integral part of the journey to healing. 

Dr. Jim Talley has been quoted , "Divorce is open heart surgery" , and a heart that is hurting emotionally can benefit from a trained professional as it tries to heal.   It seems logical to us that if a person had open heart surgery the recovery would take years and involve many different health professionals.   We wouldn't even think of not seeing a physical doctor or going to physical therapy on a daily or weekly basis for months or years if we experienced a major surgery.  It is easy to accept our need for help in a physical sense, but often we are leery to get help when it involves our emotions or sense of spirituality.

Our logic is flawed when we dismiss how difficult the changes from our parents divorce has affected us.  As adults this is most challenging. We possibly have jobs, families, and we consider ourselves able to handle things that come our way.  We reason that we should be able to deal with this "as an adult" and since it is not a physical limitation which we can't ignore, we try to minimize our need for help in an emotional sense.

If we are not careful,  we may do more harm than good in our healing process and we may end up having more physical issues when the emotional ones are not resolved.

My journey involved at first going to wonderful family and friends and receiving support and counsel from them.  It helped and was most appreciated, but there was something missing.

I read every book I could on adult children of divorce, and related issues ( which I listed for you on my home pages of my blog) and although they helped, it wasn't enough.

Then I joined a divorce support group ( Divorce Care ) that was intended for those experiencing divorce themselves, but it was the closest thing I could find to meet my needs.
It was genuinely helpful in understanding my grief process, but still , the people there could not relate to my personal questions of how to handle my parents and siblings as our family changed drastically. Something was still missing.

Another source of counsel I sought from the beginning , was the help of my pastor.
His compassion, wisdom and encouragement was tremendous, but when he suggested a counselor, I realized I needed more.

My counselor really listened and asked incredible questions. She pointed out things she saw in me that made some relationships difficult .  She challenged me with God's word and His perspective on injustices and hurts and forgiveness.  I can say that after meeting with her on a loose regular basis, I had worked through the stages of grief in a more healthy manner and I was more confident in the way I handled myself in the new roles I played in my family .
This was the piece of healing I had been looking for, to tie all the other pieces of healing together.  They all were important and played a part in where I am today!!

To feel we have a hand on our shoulder ,  an arm around our shoulder,  an ear to listen ,  wise words to be spoken into our pain...... this is what a good counselor can do for us.

I would encourage you to call someone who is trained to professionally counsel.  Make one phone call,  set up a meeting,  and see what help you are given.  If that doesnt' help,   try another source of help.     Your financial situation may need to be considered, but don't let that discourage you. Many churches and non profits offer onetime counseling or a sliding fee scale.   Most support groups are free.


So far we have talked about the first few stages of grief   : Pain/Loss  and  Anger.
Next time we will touch on the stage called  Bargaining  and some related issues.

I am not really sure how many people are reading this , or how many will in the future.
If you are able,  add a comment, just to let me know you are a reader. If you want to join as an official "follower" I would love to have you!  If you are reading and able to send an email, I would love to hear from you as well  at

I am not a counselor, but I would love to hear from you , so you feel my virtual hand or arm on your shoulder, from one who has been there!!    Can't wait to hear from you!!! 


  1. I am a reader and your posts have made me feel not so alone as a younger ACOD- 21 years old and in college.

  2. I am glad to hear this. I felt alone too. We are not, and know that you WILL make it through this and grow and mature from the experience eventually. Hang in there. Take care of yourself along the way.



JANUARY TOPICS : Help and Hope
Bonds Unravel


MARCH TOPICS: Accepting Change
Forgiving Parents
Time For Serenity
Things/Objects of Meaning

Photo Album

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Acods and Listening
Acods and Materialism
Acods and Identity

Serenity Prayer Worksheet
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A New Look to the Blog!!
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ACOD Serenity Prayer
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Things Still Aren't Right This Christmas

Grandchildren of Divorce
ACODs and Affairs
Keep Going
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Ripple Effect
Grief Revisited
Too Many Choices
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Behind the Curtain

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