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Divorce & Separation Counselling Melbourne

It is a necessity in loving somebody, that we also become vulnerable to the potential of loss or hurt.

It is brave to love somebody and share your world – whether that be for a few weeks, months, years or a lifetime - as every day we meet parts of ourselves and our partners which are beautiful and inspiring, frustrating and terrifying. Over time, this meeting of worlds will naturally lead to points of conflict, when it feels challenging to reconcile two very different set of needs, wants and fears. And sometimes, despite both people’s best efforts to tend to the love between them, the heartbreaking and important decision is made to separate.

It takes true bravery to make this decision and even more strength, to commit to kindness and respect during this painful process. For couples who endeavour to maintain a sense of care and compassion, separation and divorce counselling can be a valuable resource.


Our Approach to Respectful Separation and Divorce


When couples make a commitment to the maintenance of respect and care during separation, we may say they are “consciously uncoupling” - a term first coined by therapist and author Katherine Woodward Thomas and popularized by Gwyneth Paltrow and her ex-partner Chris Martin, who publicly announced that they were exiting their marriage with a conscientious care and ongoing connection. Consciously separating is a process by which a couple commits to personal accountability and healing, to transform an intimate relationship into a lifelong friendship, collaborative co-parents or respectful ex-partners.

Couples who choose to consciously separate open themselves to the possibility of discovering gratitude and peace at the end of even the most difficult relationships. Through a mediated process, separating or divorcing couples have the opportunity to understand the reasons and need for the end of the relationship with more clarity and make shared decisions about moving forward. This process helps to reduce the conflict and distress which follows divorce and separation. 

What this looks like for each separating union is different and your therapeutic process will be guided by the unique story of your relationship. Individuals going through separation or divorce may know the outcome they want from counselling, or they may utilise the therapeutic process as a way to come to a clearer decision about the terms of their separation and their ongoing bond. 

The Courage of Consciously Separating

Choosing to go to therapy for support in consciously separating is an act of courage. It can be easier to sit in stories of blame or anger, rather than to bare the complex reality of two people who have deeply loved and cared for each other but could not find ease and harmony in relationship.


Consciously separating necessitates reflecting upon our own contribution to the difficulties we have experienced in relationship and being open to prioritising goodwill over “being right”. In the therapeutic process, we are invited to open our minds and hearts to the reality that our previous partner has a very different and valid experience. In doing so, this paves the way for a new, shared narrative about the relationship and its ending.

Support during Breakups, Separation and Divorce

Making this decision is not for the faint-hearted, but the reward is great – particularly if you share children, a community or a wonderful and recoverable sense of friendship with your ex-partner.

Divorce and separation counselling can be a place of support during separations and divorces, wherein you have a safe and impartial container with an empathetic and informed therapist, who can help you to continue to communicate and make agreements and decisions, whilst the emotions of grief and loss run high.

Counselling for breakups, separations and divorces can begin at any stage and is for any quality or length of relationship. Therapeutic support may be helpful in deciding whether to remain together or to separate. Having the extra guidance of a professional and knowing that you have done all you can do often brings solace to couples who decide to separate. Rather than a confusing and distressed decision, counselling may help the two of you to feel grounded and secure in your decision to end the relationship. Therapy can also provide a safe space to share feelings that one has otherwise felt too overwhelmed or nervous to share.

Other partnerships may come early in their separation when they are still living together or seeing each other, to be supported in a gradual and considered parting of ways. Therapy for separation at this stage might include affirming your reasons for separating or divorcing, identifying your values and goals as you move apart and begin grieving, and making decisions about shared relationships or assets.

Some couples come to therapy months, years or decades after a separation or divorce in an attempt to reconcile their differences for the better of themselves and those around them. This is often a process of airing old hurts and resentments which therapy can help shift into a space of forgiveness. 

The Role of Divorce and Separation Therapists

Separation and divorce therapists at The Spring Clinic provide a valuable third perspective when emotions are running high. Your therapist can mediate difficult conversations about parenting, housing or workplace arrangements and is knowledgeable about some of the basic processes and principles of how to create a healthy new relationship as ex-partners, friends or co-parents. In separation and divorce counselling, we also make space for each individual to express their hurts, regrets and remorse from their relationship.


This serves as an essential foundation for a transition of relationship, as through acknowledging and integrating the past, you can move forward without the burden of unspoken resentments. A safe and non-judgemental environment is foundational to divorce and separation counselling and so you can expect that your therapist will maintain a sense of respect and care for each person individually. Your therapist will model the kind of honouring of difference and commitment to goodwill that they encourage ex-partners to embrace.

Navigating Relationship Transitions

Transitioning from intimate partners into another form of relationship always necessitates mourning the loss of what you once shared. As you move through grief you will inevitably feel painful feelings of sadness, longing, anger, anxiety and despair. As emotions begin to feel overwhelming, separating partners who once wished for an amiable separation might find it increasingly difficult to continue to relate with their ex. Often people find themselves tortured by the desire to return to the familiar support and comfort of their ex-partner and their knowledge that that type of care is no longer appropriate or available. 

Separation and divorce counsellors know this process well and can offer you insights and guidance about how to navigate this transition. Therapy for separation or divorce always includes supporting partners to find resources outside of the relationship to manage and be comforted by the myriad of feelings they encounter. Your therapist can also provide you guidance about what might be an appropriate amount of time and space to share, general principles about a new way of interacting and point you towards the resources you need to manage co-parenting or dividing assets. A therapist during separation or divorce is like having somebody with a torch in what feels like a long and dark tunnel with no end in sight. Your therapist understands and has empathy for the process the two of you are navigating and can lighten the enormous emotional weight you are each carrying.

Importantly, how you wish to transition your relationship is a choice to be made by each individual and there is no right or wrong. Some separations or divorces might find peace in understanding the reasons for ending with more clarity and with less anger and hurt, move on with their individual lives. For some others, there may be a salvageable friendship that they wish to maintain as they let go of their intimate bond. In the case of those who have children together or in shared communities, an ongoing bond may be a necessity and they wish to make the transition as easy and positive as possible. In such situations, individuals are often invited by life to stretch beyond their perceived limits and open their hearts to forgiveness and reparation.

Partners who consciously separate often benefit not only themselves and each other, but those around them. They model the possibilities of growth and reconciliation which may be an inspiration for others and a humble joy to witness.

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    Psychotherapists and psychologists have distinct training paths. Psychologists typically complete undergraduate and postgraduate studies, which generally emphasize ethics in practice, the study of human behaviour, and research. Their clinical training includes manualised and evidence-based treatments like CBT, ACT, and Schema Therapy. On the other hand, psychotherapists undergo undergraduate and sometimes postgraduate training, with a focus on human development, clinical skills, and tools for case conceptualisation. Psychotherapy is characterised by a developmental approach to understanding minds, rigorous case conceptualisation, and active interventions during therapy. Integrative psychotherapists incorporate both evidence-based and non-measurable research-tested approaches. This includes using the therapeutic relationship as a source of healing.
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  • How Many Psychotherapy Sessions Should I Go To?
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  • How to Find a Therapist in Melbourne for Psychotherapy?
    We have a compassionate, caring and curious team of psychotherapists at The Spring Clinic, Melbourne. You can review the profiles of our therapists online or call our lovely receptionist Charity on (03) 7035 9031 for a free consultation call to discuss which therapist would best suit you. Our therapists have multiple degrees from institutions including Melbourne University, The Ikon Institute, Sydney University and Monash University in Australia; and are certified by the governing bodies of the ACA or PACFA. Once the right therapist is found, you can book in for an intake session which provides the space for you and your therapist to get to know each other. Normally, there are 2-3 intake sessions which are more interview based than psychotherapy sessions, which usually offer some emotional relief or insight prior to therapeutic treatment. After these meetings, you and your clinician will find a collaborative agreement about treatment and begin working together to meet your aspirations.
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    The Spring Clinic located in Melbourne offers mental health support services from professional and registered psychotherapists. Expect warm, friendly and compassionate encounters, from the first moment of contact with our lovely receptionist Charity to your therapeutic treatment with your specific psychotherapist. Your psychotherapist will be a respectful and kind person, who is sensitive to the experience of sexual, gendered, cultural and socioeconomic marginalisation. Our clinic is quiet, inviting and relaxing – as we believe our clients should feel that The Spring Clinic is a nice place to visit. Your information will be protected by confidentiality agreements and your therapist will always follow the codes of conduct outlined by their governing bodies.
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