Divorce during lockdown. Our in-house counsellor Jo Harrison discusses how to manage the emotions of divorce during lockdown.

At FLiP we are always trying to think about divorce in the context of what feelings it creates and its emotional repercussions for the adults and any children involved, hence our multi-disciplinary team.

At this time of lockdown and Coronavirus, we have been thinking about what it means to get divorced in this context. In particular, how might the painful losses and upset of divorce feel within an external context where the world is suffering and there are other huge losses to be managed – whether the loss of daily routines, structures and social connections, financial losses or the loss of friends and relatives to the illness.

Or to put it another way, we have been thinking about what added pressure this situation might put on people who were already grappling with the pain and stress of divorce, and who were doing their best to protect their children from the impact of their parents’ divorce.

This will be unique to each person. It may provide a distraction from the internal upsets of divorce, or may magnify it, and make it feel harder to work with a co-parent.

Being a single parent at this time can feel hugely pressured and without the usual social networks in place, except online, it is hard to find ways to unburden oneself of the pressures. Having a consultation at this time with one of our counsellors can be a way for someone to relieve some of this pressure and to think about the challenges of their particular experience.

What we are finding here at FLiP is that parents don’t necessarily want tips on how to deal with this incredibly difficult situation better. Parents, whether separated or in a relationship with each other, want to feel validated that they are good enough in this situation which is requiring so much of them.

What we at FLiP try to do is to think about the particular challenges for co-parents who are separated. I wrote in an earlier blog before lockdown about how coronavirus required divorced parents to work together even more than before. Now that we are further into the challenges of lockdown and homeschooling what is emerging is how this situation intensifies difficulties that are already there.

For example, separated parents where there has in the past been resentment about who does what in relation to the children may have those feelings exacerbated, where perhaps one parent feels overburdened in relation to what is required by this situation. Or – co-parents who have different unresolved approaches to their children’s education, where one feels more relaxed about it, and another feels that it needs to be much more focused, are now having to live with these differences in a more heightened way.

There is another challenge for parents in different households which is how to deal with the comings and goings between the two households. This is not only a logistical one. These comings and goings, the goodbyes and hellos are not necessarily easy in normal times and can stir up feelings about the divorce. In these unprecedented times they are even more charged, perhaps with anxieties about whether someone will get ill, or heightened anxiety about when they might be able to see each other again. These are complicated feelings to sort out and get relief from.

With all these aspects going on, what we are offering at FLiP at this moment is a space to think about all these complexities and to offer real support to individuals and co-parents who need help with them.

Our experienced counsellors are able to speak to individuals or couples or ex-couples in an online consultation, whether a one off or for a few sessions or for something longer term. This is something that can be discussed as part of an online consultation.

Meet our counselling team:

Jo Harrison has a depth and breadth of expertise in working with clients who are separating or divorcing and is sensitive to the impact of relationship breakdown and how it can affect individuals and families. As a relationship counsellor, Jo fully appreciates the emotional upheaval and difficulties of a separation and as a former family lawyer she understands the particular pressures of going through the legal process.

Ruth Smallacombe is an accrediated mediator, counsellor, practice consultant and trainer of mediators, lawyers and therapists. Ruth has a wealth of over 20 years practice in family, mental health and human relations, in both the private and public sectors.

If you would like to speak with one of our counselling team please contact Wendy Hoare of FLiP E: wh@flip.co.uk to set up an appointment.

Further information on our counselling expertise can be found here.