We are emotional creatures, and it is vital for us to bond with each other. As Carl Sagan once said:
“For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love.”
However, sometimes it’s love that gives us pain. Sometimes the relationship we thought would last forever comes to an end. Mental health professionals and relationship experts like Babita Spinelli recognize the impact of relationship break-ups and divorce on our mental health. Babita Spinelli is among the most popular psychotherapists and relationship coaches in America today. She is the CEO of the Opening the Doors Psychotherapy and the Babita Spinelli Group. In 2022, she received the Psychotherapist of the year award, and in 2019 her company received the 2019 New York psychotherapist award. As a relationship expert, her program, the Divorce Support, and Recovery Coaching Program has helped hundreds of people get their lives together after divorces.
As a relationship expert, Babita teaches several coping strategies to people who are going through or have just been through a relationship break-up or divorce. She emphasizes that the healing process after a divorce or a break-up is unique for everyone, but there are some common elements. First, she recommends her clients recognize their loss, the loss of their marriage/relationship, the hopes and dreams associated with it, and everything else that came with it. Denial, she believes, is among the biggest barriers in the way to healing. Here are some strategies Babita believes can help work through a break-up or a divorce.
- Process Grief
The first thing Babita Spinelli shares with her clients is that grief is not only normal but a necessary element of the divorce healing process. She asks her clients to treat grief not as a weakness but as a coping strategy. It is essential, she says, to go through all the various stages of grief, such as anger, sadness, anxiety, and fear.
- Be Kind and Compassionate to Yourself During the Process
Many individuals feel guilt, or their self-worth is greatly impacted by divorce. For those, Babita says:
“By being compassionate and kind to yourself, you can eventually learn to work through your feelings and your circumstances. This is an important part of the recovery process.”
In her work with clients, Babita spends time on letting go of guilt and utilizes tools to help with their self-worth.
- Find Joy in Simple Things
People stop seeing the positives in their lives when they are in pain. In her practice, Babita asks her clients to find the simple (but meaningful) things that bring them joy daily. She calls these “small but mighty.” That’s how she teaches her clients that they can feel joy and happiness.
- Clear Your Clutter.
Many people start identifying that their divorce or break-up defines them and is their only story. Feeling like a failure is a common theme that comes up in her practice in processing divorce. Babita encourages her clients not to think of their break-up/divorce as something that defines them. She believes that healing and rebuilding life after a divorce occurs once you stop blaming yourself and replace your negative thoughts with healthy and positive ones. Babita says:
“It’s necessary to understand and process the reasons behind the relationship ending – not to be stuck in the past, but to learn from it as an opportunity to move forward. We repeat what we don’t repair, and the repair process is essential.
- Set Goals for Your Future
It may seem very hard to think about future goals amid a divorce or break-up, but it really is a very healthy coping mechanism. Babita believes that setting manageable goals can help you with feelings of resentment and helplessness. It also enables you to shift your focus towards moving forward rather than staying stuck in the past.
Apart from these coping mechanisms, Babita also believes shedding toxic boundaries and setting boundaries with individuals that do not want the best for you is also very important. She highly recommends journaling as a way to plan out your future, dream big again, and empower yourself to reconnect with yourself. Working on your routines and adopting healthy habits can also enhance your process of recovery.
When it comes to moving forward toward new relationships, Babita advocates taking time to make sure you are emotionally ready and confident to enter the dating world. There is no need to rush, she says. It’s more important to first date yourself and eventually look towards the dating arena. She suggests her clients work on deeply understanding themselves before entering a relationship where they may repeat old and unhealthy patterns. Apart from that, she encourages her clients to lean into creating a version of themselves that they may have lost in the relationship or in the break-up. When they are ready, Babita works with her clients to build that version of themselves and finds the transformation she is honored to witness with her clients amazing.