Written by Mr Chris Macgovern for Doctify

For some reason, our society often puts the greatest pressure on us when we are at our most vulnerable. This is the case when relationships end. We have to be at our most business-like, thinking calmly out into the future, just when our emotions are all over the place. Here, Psychotherapist, Chris MacGovern explores how to cope when that future seems a million miles away and we are having problems just getting through the day.

This is the time when our mental health is stretched furthest, and it is perfectly normal to feel our self-esteem plummet as stress and anxiety take over, often resulting in panic. We were not built to be calm and rational while managing such extreme emotions. So if this is you, you’re not a failure, you’re normal.

How can a therapist help?

In my experience as a psychotherapist specialising in relationships, traditional therapeutic techniques are less relevant in these situations. Rather, our work focuses on getting the best from ourselves in a really tough situation. It is not about character transformation, but about finding the inner resources that will help you cope on a practical and emotional basis. Perhaps more akin to coaching; helping you get through what needs to be done today, tomorrow and until next week’s session.

Three core areas:

Coping with the emotional overload

In the face of something like an affair, public expressions of anger or hurt, or attacking our ex, may feel good at the time but can make things more complicated at a later stage. We look at how to manage emotions and where the boundary between useful and less useful expression might lie.

Managing the practical demands

While obviously, as a psychotherapist, I offer no legal advice or views, we can help with exploring how you want to act and present yourself at key moments. Perhaps a court day, or the handing over of children as part of contact arrangements; often a tough time. And critically, when there are children involved, what to say to them.

Looking after ourselves

The end of a relationship can often take us into shock and it can be useful to check in on a weekly basis whit how we are eating, exercising etc. It is often a time when we begin to rely more on smoking, alcohol or other drugs. Managed appropriately this can be fine, but some come with their own problems that just make things worse.

If you feel you are not coping as you would like, talk to your lawyer. They often have an acute sense of not just their clients’ legal needs, but also emotional needs, and may be able to offer support. Alternatively, book yourself in for an initial consultation here and see how it might work for you.


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