Divorce recovery workshops are designed to help those who have recently separated from a spouse come to terms with their loss.
If someone loses a spouse by death, the loss is acknowledged by family and friends through the rituals associated with the funeral. In the case of divorce, however, we don't have these types of rituals in place.
When a person's spouse dies, it is acknowledged that the grieving process can take months or years. In comparison, the newly-separated person is expected to get on with his/her life relatively quickly.
Purpose of the Divorce Recovery Workshop
The purpose of a divorce recovery workshop is to assist newly-separated or divorced persons with the emotional aspects of the ending of a relationship. Both the person who initiated the breakup and the person who would be considered the innocent party are welcome to attend.
Getting Support From Others
Those individuals who sign up for a series of divorce recovery workshops can meet other people who are going through similar circumstances. They may feel quite isolated during this difficult time. It may feel as if things are spinning out of control.
By attending a divorce recovery workshop, they can start to take charge of their lives again. Instead of thinking of themselves as part of a couple, they need to think of themselves as being a single person again. If they have children, they may need to deal with parenting on their own. For people who were full-time parents during their marriage, they may need to start looking for paid employment.
The relationship with their former spouse may be a difficult one. If there are children involved, it's important that they find a way to act together in the best interests of their children. The goal is to find a way to be co-parents, even if they are no longer together. The divorce recovery workshop gives them the opportunity to share their concerns with other people in similar circumstances.
Format of a Typical Divorce Recovery Workshop
When someone attends a divorce recovery workshop, the entire group may watch a video on the topic to be discussed during the session. After a break for coffee, the participants split up into groups of six or eight people. Each group is led by a facilitator, who has been through the workshop as a participant in the past. This person will make sure that no one participant dominates the discussion session and that the discussion stays on topic.
The participants in the workshop will usually meet once a week for several weeks. Having a period of time between sessions will give the participants the opportunity to reflect on what has been discussed each week. The number of sessions in a workshop will likely be limited to encourage the participants to move forward with their lives independently.
How to Find a Workshop
The following may be able to help you find a workshop in your area:
- A local church
- Your family doctor or a therapist
- A social service agency
- Searching online
Attending a divorce recovery workshop can be very helpful for someone who is dealing with the breakdown of his/her marriage. The workshop is a safe environment to share feelings about the breakup and the new relationship that exists between former spouses. Participants will learn from each other as they attend the sessions and may form friendships that continue long after the workshop sessions have finished.
Submitted by JC Redmond