How to Decide Between a Divorce Coach or a Divorce Therapist

Decide Between a Divorce Coach or a Divorce Therapist
Dr. Kristin Davin

By Dr. Kristin Davin | Aug 24th, 2020

If you are navigating the ups and downs of divorce, you might find yourself in need of support that extends family and friends. That’s true for most people. Yet, deciding which type of person you need can sometimes be a tricky thing. People who have experience either going through their own divorce or know someone who has been through divorce can be quick to give out advice or suggestions – often whether we ask for it or not! But we all know that the road is paved with good intentions, and more often than not, people really do have good intentions and want to help.

And because you are eager to make the pain go away, you often find yourself listening to the ‘Greek chorus’ only to end up even more confused and overwhelmed. Too many conversations, too many options, too many different situations. I get it.

Your first step?

Exhale and take five minutes.

Then give yourself the needed emotional bandwidth to really figure out who you need in your corner right now. You may find, like many others, that you have your attorney and/or financial planner in place. That’s a great first step. However, you are recognizing that it’s not enough and you want more support. It’s during this time that people hire a Divorce Coach or a Divorce Therapist can be key in your life transition. But, you ask, how do I figure out who is the right person for you?

Divorce Coach

A divorce coach is a trained professional who is goal-oriented and flexible using a coaching process that helps motivate, support, and guide you. The divorce coach will help you move beyond the emotional roller coaster that often keeps you stuck, preventing you from resolving issues related to your divorce and achieving your goals. They provide you with effective problem-solving skills and strategies which will help you communicate better with your soon to be ex-spouse and reduce any misunderstandings and miscommunication that often lends itself to feeling more overwhelmed and agitated!

Taking a solution-focused approach, the divorce coach will guide you to make the best and healthiest decisions for your life.

And, what does that look like?

A divorce coach takes you from where you are to where you want to be as you navigate your divorce. They focus on the future and often ask, ‘what is your end game?’ ‘What do you want your life to look like once your divorce is final? This helps you visualize your future and set goals to get you there. They may also help you understand the divorce system, discuss whether you should stay or go, explore your options (mediation, litigation, collaborative), and provide other professional referrals (if needed). Their support helps you take action and develop a plan while gaining confidence and clarity along the way.

A divorce coach is not a therapist.

Divorce Therapist

A therapist looks at your past, your family of origin (first family), childhood issues, and relationship history which helps you connect the dots and discover how you got to the place you are now. Together, you examine your current challenges as it relates to your divorce and uncover any possible patterns. An examination of your thoughts and feelings and how they relate to your behaviors is explored. They work to help you break negative patterns that have evolved so you can start to feel more empowered and have agency over your life during this difficult life transition as well as for your future.

During the initial evaluation, the history of your marriage, the reason for the divorce and where you are in the divorce processed is discussed. The goal is to help you more effectively and in healthy ways manage your divorce emotionally and at the same time identify your stressors.

Developing goals and implementing changes in your life is key. Often, this involves understanding and recognizing your triggers that tend to create problems. So, over time, by sharing your thoughts and utilizing strategic and productive tools, you are able to discover yourself and handle problems that would have otherwise kept you in a repetitive cycle and down the rabbit hole of distress.

Ultimately, a solution-focused approach to your life that increases your satisfaction is developed and a great way to get you on a better path in life.

Many clients discover that the solutions to effective communication are often readily available, but that the part of brain fueled by emotions makes us unable to think strategically. By implementing these changes, clients are often able to maximize both their personal and professional growth.

While transitioning through your divorce and deciding whether a coach or a therapist should be part of your team, it’s important to keep in mind that:

Some of the most common issues divorce coaches help people with include the following:

Regardless of whom you choose to become part of your ‘tribe’ the first step is understanding the benefits to working with either a divorce coach or a divorce therapist. It really depends on where you are in your life, what you need right now, and who will be the best for you!

And, it’s going to be ok. Maybe not right at this moment, but eventually it will.

Stay strong and carry on!

Dr. Kristin Davin

Dr. Kristin Davin

Kristin Davin is a Relationship Therapist and Coach. She helps people embrace change, cultivate healthier relationships, and become more effective communicators.


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