Sometimes, marriages do not succeed. The end of a marriage can be a relief to some people, but it can also be an extremely stressful event. Even the partner who chooses to leave may experience a wide range of emotions and intense feelings that may be painful or difficult, such as, grief, guilt, anger, confusion, fear, shame, and anxiety. If children are involved, the stress level within a divorcing family is likely to be even higher. People sometimes seek therapy to help them decide whether to stay in a marriage or leave. Others may seek help in counseling to make the transition from being married to being single again. Both these goals can be addressed in individual or couples therapy.

Therapy can be important, especially for children whose parents are divorcing. Because parents may often be consumed with their own feelings during a divorce, they might overlook the emotional state of their children, who may be confused by the divorce or feel guilt, loss, pain, or abandonment. Children may not be sure which parent they should “choose,” or be loyal to, and they might also worry that they are the cause of the divorce. When parents are aggressive with each other, a child may feel even more fearful, and a child who often hears his or her parents argue about custody arrangements might feel as if he or she is unwanted by either parent, or as if he or she is to blame for the separation.

Divorce may contribute to or exacerbate certain mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, or personality diagnoses. Many people perceive divorce as a personal failure. Therapy can help one work through those feelings, make sense of the end of the marriage, and obtain a new perspective. Individuals who have divorced may learn more about what they require from a relationship and what they do not desire in a relationship, and they may, through therapy, discover more about their own nature and personal characteristics.