How is discernment counseling different from couple’s therapy?

Discernment counseling is for mixed agenda couples with one leaning in, and the other leaning out of the relationship.

While couple’s counseling assumes that both partners are willing to work on the relationship, discernment counseling helps couples determine whether they are both willing to stay together. Working with both parties, the therapist develops an understanding of both sides of the partnership so clear options are developed for the couple’s next steps. 

Discernment counseling is for couples in these situations:

  • One is leaning out and the other leaning in

  • Those wanting to manage issues of regret

  • Married and non-married intimate relationships considering separation

  • Business partners on the brink of dissolution

  • A desire to thoroughly consider options before abandoning the life you’ve built together

Discernment counseling is NOT for:

  • Those living with the danger or threat of domestic violence

  • Situations where one partner is coercing the other to participate

  • Those unwilling to be open to the idea of staying together

Discernment counseling typically goes no longer than five sessions of 90-120 minutes each. The therapist uses the sessions to meet with the clients together briefly, then separately, then jointly at the end of the session. The couple will decide with the therapist at the end of each session whether to meet again.

The end-result will be a decision of one of three paths: working in marriage therapy to see if the relationship can be strengthened to health; proceeding towards separation/divorce; or setting aside time with healthy boundaries to reevaluate the decision later. Your therapist will gently open the door towards exploration of reconciliation, and will also respect your decisions. The goal is confidence and clarity for a path going forward, whether it be towards amicable separation/divorce, to take time out and re-evaluate at a later time, or to form a realistic reconciliation plan for a healthy and happy life together.

Discernment Counseling Therapists

You may have made the decision to separate or divorce, yet wonder whether there is an angle you are not seeing for a path forward. Discernment counseling can illuminate the path ahead. The following ARI therapists provide discernment counseling.

Ready for Help...  Ready for Healing...

If you are ready to begin discernment counseling, please call our office today and we will pair you with a therapist.