Yoga has its cleansing breaths. Religion has ritual washings. Divorce now has its own mental and emotional purification process, to remove the relationship’s poisonous vestiges and purge the anger, bitterness and self-doubt that still lingers. This cure-for-what-ails-you is called Divorce Detox, a California-based company that “detoxes the harmful residues of a divorce.” All it takes is some time, introspection, lots of homework, more than a few dollars, and a willingness to shake off the past.
This Southern California company says there are 25 “life challenges” that come with divorce, such as trouble sleeping, self-blame, and the fear of being alone. The counseling sessions, textbook and writing projects are designed to look deep within, pose a lot of uncomfortable questions, and point the way to the future. In some cases, it’s literally “out with the old;” getting rid of old possessions is part of the therapy as is working through past pain and hurts from other relationships so they don’t get carried forward. A fair amount of self-affirmation is also involved. Rule number one in the counseling sessions is, “Be kind to yourself.”
Those counseling sessions contain a lot of familiar material and reminders such as “You are not your feelings” and “Keep your emotions in check.” Emotional processing, as the technique is called, should be done sooner rather than later, according to experts. Support and affirmation is poured on by the bucketful. Enrollees are required to sign a document stating they will process their feelings, be open to learning and adopt a “whatever-it-takes-attitude” to bring about a “happy fulfilling future.”
Divorce Detox’s approach focuses on heart, mind and body. Starting with the body, the company stresses good diet, exercise and plenty of sleep. Mental exercises are designed to show what is really important and what is just background noise. The heart part is a deeply personal self-confession in which the participants acknowledges wrongdoing, taking responsibility for it, understanding that people make mistakes, and then vowing not to do the same thing again. After the fifth day participants write a letter to themselves and then set out refreshed and renewed. And just when the glow is starting to wear off, that letter shows up in the mailbox to reinforce the lessons learned months before.