There are challenges in all relationships; however, resolution and reconciliation is not possible for some partnerships. If so, a couple may choose to separate or divorce. Separation refers to the couple’s decision to live separately from one another, though they may still be legally married. Divorce is a legal status when the court recognizes the end of a marriage.
For a spouse who is going through a separation or divorce, the emotional, psychological or physical impacts can include depression, social withdrawal, grief, anxiety, stress, sleep issues or substance use/abuse.
The emotional and psychological effects on a child of divorce can be long-term as they learn to deal with the change in their family life. They may have feelings of guilt, anger, distrust or anxiety, and begin to demonstrate behavioural problems or social withdrawal.
Counselling for Separation and Divorce
Couples who are currently separated may benefit from couple counselling to discuss possible issues that contribute to strain and stress on the marriage. For individuals experienced divorce, counselling can help address some of the negative emotional and psychological issues, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or Interpersonal Therapy.
For children of divorce, therapeutic interventions, such as play therapy, sand tray therapy or family therapy may be effective in helping children understand and deal with the change in their parent’s relationship.
Additional Resources for Separation and Divorce:
Caring for Kids:
Canadian Mental Health Association:
American Psychological Association:
PBS – This Emotional Life: