How to Find Divorce Support Groups for Support and Healing

By:
Michael Tierney
Updated
July 10, 2022

Divorce is an emotionally turbulent occurrence that we all hope to avoid in our lives. Unfortunately, it is a common result in marriages worldwide as not all marriages can survive. We realize this information is incredibly disheartening, especially since we do not doubt that you cared deeply about your spouse and that divorce was the last thing you wanted.

Solution If you are going through a divorce, you are likely experiencing a great deal of emotion that you might not know how to channel. No matter how you feel, it is possible to find help by talking to those experiencing the same situation as you. You need to be open to finding a support group.

Support groups have been used for mental health support for decades, allowing people experiencing grief to connect with others. Unfortunately, some oppose these groups out of irrational shame over their situation. However, divorce support groups can be an amazing way to process the emotional struggles you are experiencing amid this complicated situation. The real trick is finding a support group where you feel welcome.

This article will focus on methods and tools you can use to track down a divorce support group so you can begin healing.

What is a Divorce Support Group?

Some of our readers might not be completely aware of what exactly a support group is. While you likely have a general idea, a little more detail goes a long way.

Solution The general idea of a divorce support group is a gathering of people sharing a mutual trauma or experience that has shaken their emotional strength. These groups are designed to let these people come together and share their experiences to help provide insight in guidance to those still struggling.

While support groups might seem like a modern innovation, they harken back to an earlier time in human history when organizations formed to support peers in the same field.

Support groups are essentially peer groups for emotional support. While support groups are descended from social organizations, they have evolved tremendously to accommodate contemporary emotional and psychological issues. There are even different support group sub-types that alter the way the group operates.

Men's Divorce Support Group

The main two types of support groups are:

  • Self-Help Support Groups: The self-help variant of a support group consists of members who participate in and manage the group. Often, these support groups elect one of their long-standing members to serve as the primary mediator to help the rest of the members feel heard, but the exact management style varies between groups.
  • Professional Support Groups: The professional variant of the support group operates similarly to the self-help version with one key difference. Rather than one of the group's members mediating the meetings, they are run by an impartial professional with experience facilitating emotional conversations. More often than not, the professional will be a social worker or psychologist who does not share the same issue as the rest of the members.

Both groups are equally valid and highly effective at helping manage the emotional and psychological effects of the event that formed the group. In this case, you would meet with fellow divorcees struggling to cope with the divorce. While these groups are highly effective and recommended, finding one can be challenging.

Know What You Are After

Before looking for a support group, knowing what kind of environment you want from the group is essential. Support groups, no matter what they are helping you through, will have several details you want to evaluate before committing to one. Some considerations must be made to ensure the environment is conducive to your healing process.

Speaking in a Divorce Support Group

Some of the most important considerations that need to go into your support group are:

  • Format: Support groups can be run in very different ways, with some designed to educate and others to encourage sharing and sympathy. Knowing what kind of support format you want is critical to ensuring that the group works for you. If you are interested in a group that teaches coping techniques, you will want a group focused on information sharing. If you want a group focusing on empathy and sharing personal experiences, you will want to look for a more personal group.
  • Attendance Style: Another important detail to identify early on is whether you want to attend a support group that meets in person or online. While in-person might be more effective for healing since it gets you out of the house, online can also be a viable option. Knowing how you want to meet with your group will make finding the group itself a little simpler since you can narrow the results.
  • Timing: No two support groups will operate the same way, be it in terms of format or in terms of how long the sessions are, or how often they meet. Regardless of your divorce, you likely have obligations and previous engagements you need to honor. So, you will want to ensure your support group meets at a rate and time that does not conflict with the rest of your schedule. Some groups will even require you to register before you can attend a meeting, so you will also want to look into that.
  • Philosophy: Support groups can be moderated by different people and occur in different facilities. Support groups can be led by religious officials in churches or temples or by non-denominational professionals in recreational centers. Part of recovering is checking to see if the support group you are considering espouses a philosophy where you feel comfortable. If you are not religious and sign up for a support group led by a pastor in a church, you might feel out of place and unwilling to share.
  • Cost: Finally, some groups will likely require you to pay a small sum to participate in the sessions. The payment structure can vary from a pay-by-session format to simply paying for the full range of sessions with a single payment. In some cases, they only request optional donations. Part of searching for an ideal divorce support group is making sure the payments required do not compromise your financial situation, though this will likely not be an issue.

As you can see, there is a lot to consider when you begin looking for a support group to heal from the emotional strain of your divorce. The group is meant to make you feel comfortable and welcome so you can recover without further emotional stress. The less comfortable you are, the harder it is for you to share your experiences and begin the recovery process.

Once you have identified the type of group you want to be a part of, you have taken the first step toward the healing process. However, the greater challenge lies in actually locating a group at all.

Local Support Groups

When dealing with something as emotional as divorce, you likely want to find a support group that allows you to interact with your peers physically. These groups not only allow you to interact with fellow divorcees to get a new perspective but encourage you to leave the house. While we certainly understand the desire to remain home when dealing with emotional turmoil, getting out of the house can be therapeutic. However, the trouble with in-person support groups is that they can be difficult to find unless you know where to look.

Since the number and quality of support groups are not constant and will change depending on where you live, tracking one down requires a fair amount of research. Fortunately, there are modern tools available that will allow you to track down local groups that might be able to provide you with the support you need following your divorce. However, using these tools requires you to know what kind of environment you want from your support group. For example, while social workers and psychologists run many groups, others are run by religious officials such as priests and rabbis.

Local Support Group

For example, Divorce Care is a well-known tool for locating a divorce support group that provides learning materials so you can start your group. However, Divorce Care is facilitated by members of the Christian church. While there is nothing wrong with people seeking aid from followers of a religion, it might be uncomfortable for you if you are not particularly religious.

Conversely, you can find support groups run by psychology professionals through the Psychology Today website. Their website allows you to enter your ZIP code, and their engine will track down the nearest support groups for you. They even separate their search engines by the type of support group you are after. If you are interested in a psychologically motivated support group, you might feel more comfortable with this website.

Multiple websites are dedicated to tracking down support groups without a professional or religious mediator for those who want a group comprised of their peers. If you are more interested in seeking peers to discuss your emotions about the divorce, you might be better suited to use websites like DivorceHQ or 211 Directory. However, these applications are far from the only tools available to you.

A Google search for divorce support groups will reveal a host of websites serving local group finders. Should you find one that is reputable and meets your criteria, it could replace the ones listed here fairly easily. The main goal is to ensure that the environment is one where you feel comfortable enough to open up.

How to Join an Online Support Group

Much like seeking an in-person support group, finding an online group will require research. Fortunately, many of the websites we have already listed for the physical groups offer online alternatives. However, the beauty of an online support group is that several are designed to offer support at all times, even when the rest of your regular group might be asleep.

Solution While an online group is not perfect, it can still be a viable alternative to in-person meetings, especially if you want to maintain anonymity. Some advice may be blunt, and you may find more trolls and rude people because of their anonymity. Online users speak more freely than local support groups, too, which may be good or bad.

When it comes to online support groups, a few groups are highly ranked in quality compared to the others.

Online Support Group

A few of the best online options are:

  • Woman's Divorce: As you might have guessed, Woman's Divorce is considered one of the top online support groups for female divorcees. The website offers free access to articles, tips, and literature you can use to cope with the divorce and a directory of therapists you can employ to talk things through.
  • Talk About Marriage: Talk About Marriage is another free program that gives access to forums comprised of fellow divorcees with whom you can discuss your situation. This website is highly regarded as it offers 24/7 support for your support needs. While these discussions are not mediated by a professional, it ensures you always have someone to talk to about things like infidelity or controlling spouses.
  • The /r/Divorce Subreddit: With over 90,000 users, the Divorce subreddit is a place for people who are contemplating a divorce, are going through one, or have already been through one. It's a great place to browse other user stories, ask for advice, and read comments.

There are countless additional support groups, and you might have to shop around per the parameters discussed earlier. However, once you find your support group, you should be able to begin the journey to recovering emotionally.

Learn the Law

Divorce will never be pleasant, and it will never be easy. A lot of emotion goes around when a marriage ends, and it can be overwhelming. However, feeling these emotions is not only okay but also ideal. The more in tune you are with your emotional response, the easier it will be to share with your support group so you can truly begin to heal. Talking with someone can work wonders on your emotional state and help you prepare for the next chapter of your life, not that you should rush it.

Support Group For Divorce

While a support group is an excellent way to cope with the emotional strain of divorce, another excellent tool is knowledge. Learning about divorce proceedings can give you more to talk about with your group so that you can get firsthand accounts from your group members. This discussion can help you prepare for the proceedings so your emotional state is not further compromised. However, the only way to heal is to do what is best for yourself. Anything else will only cause more stress.

Written By:
Michael Tierney
Michael is a legal writer and graduate of WSU. Prior to becoming a legal writer, he had 6 years of experience as a legal assistant and office manager for a family law attorney. He's written about numerous legal subjects from helping spouses who are stuck in toxic situations to the intricacies of custody battles. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and building custom keyboards.

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