Uncertain if you want to end or salvage your marriage? Then Discernment Counseling might be right for you!
What is Discernment Counseling?
Discernment Counseling is NOT Marriage or Couples Counseling/Therapy. While Couples or Marriage Therapy aims to help solve problems, improve communication, connection and overall satisfaction in the relationship, the objective and focus of Discernment Counseling is to help the couple gain a deeper understanding of what has transpired in the marriage and each person's contributions to the problems with the end goal of gaining clarity and confidence as to the direction for the marriage.
It is brief counseling of 1 - 5 sessions for married couples, where at least one partner is contemplating divorce. When marriages are in trouble, it is not uncommon for couples to spend months and even years in a limbo of indecisiveness. Discernment Counseling is focused on helping you decide or discern whether or not there is a chance of improving and salvaging your marriage or, should you decide to dissolve it, Discernment Counseling can help create a more harmonious separation.
The protocol used protects you from drifting into half-hearted or resistant couples therapy, a premature divorce, or a divorce that leaves one partner baffled and unheard.
What to expect
The initial commitment is the first 2-hour session - part of which will be done jointly and separately. At the end of this session, each partner decides if they would like one more session, up to a maximum of 5. Sessions 2 - 5, usually weekly, if needed and as requested by the couple, are 90 minutes total duration and done for the most part individually in two 45-minute back-to-back segments, helping each partner to get clearer and to make an informed decision about the direction of their marriage, manage their emotions, and learn about self and relationship.
The outcome of these sessions are framed in terms of three paths: to stay married as is, to move towards separation/divorce, or to decide to commit to do the work necessary over a six-month period to see if the marriage can be restored, with a clear agenda and commitment for personal change and with divorce off the table during this time.
"Homework" in between sessions is targeted at making the process more effective and productive, reviewing potential changes that can be made in order to decrease tension and stress in the relationship, and improving understanding of one's own behaviors contributing to or perpetuating the dysfunctional stance between the partners.
Discernment Counseling is not suited for these situations:
- When one spouse has already made a final decision to divorce
- When one spouse is coercing the other to participate
- When there is danger of domestic violence
If your marriage is in trouble and one or both of you are talking about divorce, then I encourage you to explore Discernment Counseling. You may contact me for a free initial phone consultation. While I do not have a magic wand, seeking professional help before spending thousands of dollars on divorce attorneys, ongoing misunderstanding and resentment, can help reduce your ambivalence, tension, and confusion through acquiring essential information, self-assurance, validation, support, and clarity as to what is possible.
Please note that because Discernment Counseling is NOT therapy, insurance cannot be billed.