2017-01-08 / Insight

Help available to cope with effects of divorce

BY KRYSTAL MORALEE
810-452-2609 • kmoralee@mihomepaper.com

LAPEER — No one is immune to hard times, and sometimes a little support is just the ticket to help someone get through a difficult period in their life.

As a counselor, Paul Hitch understands this, so when he found himself in the midst of a divorce six months ago, he decided he wanted to find a support group. The problem was, he couldn’t find any close to home, so he decided to start his own.

“I was just shocked that there was nothing local,” he said. “Divorce is fairly prevalent in our society.”

Hitch went to the Marguerite deAngeli branch of the Lapeer District Library to secure meeting space, and created the Lapeer Divorce Support Group, which meets weekly, on different days. The upcoming meeting schedule is as follows:

• Wednesday, Jan. 11, from 6-8 p.m.

• Sunday, Jan. 15, from 2-4 p.m.

• Sunday, Jan. 22, from 2-4 p.m.

• Sunday, Jan. 29, from 2-4 p.m.

“Right now, we’re up to about five people in the group,” said Hitch.

The group is a mix of men and women, and they range from people who are in the pre-divorce stage to those currently navigating divorce to those who have completed the process. They are able to share their stories, as well as helpful information and resources. Hitch said an important part of it is changing one’s thought process to get them to stop blaming themselves, and learning new coping strategies.

“It’s seemed to have good success so far,” said Hitch. “Good reactions from the people who show up.”

The fact that he’s going through divorce personally, Hitch said, doesn’t affect his ability to lead the group, because it’s not as if he’s there to teach.

“It’s not an educational seminar, it’s a support group where everyone helps each other,” he said. “I don’t have to be the expert at anything, I’m just facilitating.”

It is not necessary to call in advance of attending the support group, but Hitch can be reached at 810-728-3895 or 810- 667-7218 to answer questions.

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