About the Coping and Rebuilding Programs









Please note, neither program is for couples counseling, therapy, or dating. No childcare is provided, and the sessions are for participants only. We do not provide transportation assistance, but participants may make carpool arrangements between themselves.

The Coping and Rebuilding are programs to help people manage the trauma of  separation, divorce, or widowhood.  Volunteer facilitators, each of whom has participated in the programs, work with groups of participants to give support and share experiences.  Anyone may participate. Since the first Washington DC-area session in 1989, thousands of people have taken these programs to help them through the ending of their relationships. The Arlington Diocese Office for Family Life sponsors both programs. Participants of any religious affiliation are very welcome.


The Coping program is best suited for those recently out of their relationships. Coping is begins in October (on the first Sunday after Columbus Day). There are six Coping meetings, each for two hours on Sunday evenings.

Coping meetings are held from 6PM - 8PM (we suggest you arrive by 5:45). The next Coping program begins October 14, 2018.

Coping topics include:
  • Dealing with the loneliness and stress
  • Being single again
  • Discovering yourself
  • Changes in relationships, and 
  • Growth 


The Rebuilding Program is designed for adults that are separated, divorced or widowed who are beyond the initial trauma and wanting to move on.  The program generally follows the book "Rebuilding - When Your Relationship Ends" by Bruce Fisher (this book is given to participants at the first meetings, and is paid for by their registration fee).   Weekly topics are intended to "form" stepping stones that help one move ahead with rebuilding his/her life.

Rebuilding meetings are held from 5:30PM - 8PM (we suggest you arrive by 5:15) on Sunday evenings for nine weeks (excluding Easter). The next Rebuilding session begins in February 25, 2018.

Rebuilding topics include:

  • Rebuilding blocks
  • Grief
  • Fear
  • Guilt and rejection
  • Anger
  • Self worth, letting go
  • Openness, trust, and risks
  • Relationships
Participants read the relevant chapter prior to each meeting.  Facilitators give a presentation about their experience with the topic, followed by smaller breakout groups with facilitators and participants.

Format (both programs)

Coping and Rebuilding sessions are guided by facilitators who, themselves, are separated, divorced, or widowed.  Facilitators work with participants to help them through the topics discussed in the programs.  Participants interact and work together. Everyone helps each other.  

Each meeting is approximately two hours long.  During the first hour of the meeting, a facilitator presents an introduction to the topic and makes relevant announcements. Facilitators talk about the topic of the week, and one or more of them gives a personal talk about their experience.  During the second hour, everyone moves to breakout groups, each with one or more facilitators. Widows and widowers have their own breakout group (with facilitators who are widowed); the other breakout groups are for people going through separation and/or divorce. In the breakout groups, everyone helps each other by discussing feelings, thoughts, concerns, and experiences related to the topic.  

This page last updated January 18, 2018.