Discernment Counseling

As a certified Discernment Counselor, I help “mixed agenda” couples to find clarity about the direction of their marriage.  By “mixed agenda”, I mean couples in which one partner is “leaning out” of the marriage, feeling little hope for improvement in the relationship and may even be considering divorce. The other spouse may be committed to the relationship but does not have a partner who is actively working with them to make things better.

Such couples don’t generally make it into couples counseling because the “leaning out” spouse can’t envision things getting better and has little motivation for the intimacy-building work of traditional couples therapy.  It can feel frustrating, hopeless and difficult to navigate.

So, what is Discernment Counseling?  It’s a process designed to bring clarity about the path forward toward one of three options:

  1. Leave things the way they are  — sometimes a valid choice due to circumstances
  2. End the marriage, or 
  3. Commit to 6 months of wholehearted, professional marriage counseling with the idea of divorce taken “off the table” during that time.

How is Discernment Counseling different from couples counseling?  

It’s not about solving relationship problems.

It’s different in that the purpose is not to solve problems but rather to help bring clarity about the path forward.  It takes the “pressure” off the idea of solving complex problems and even the idea of building intimacy when motivation for that may be nonexistent, at least on one spouse’s part.

It is time-limited, generally lasting no more than 5 sessions.  

Within 5 sessions, Discernment Counseling is designed to help a couple determine, with clarity and more confidence, whether they want to enter into couples counseling, leave things as they are for now, or end the marriage.  

I will do a mini-assessment by phone.

If you and your spouse have reached a “stuck place” with one of you “leaning in” and the other “leaning out”, consider the Discernment Counseling process.  To get started, I will have a 15 minute discussion by phone with each of you to hear what’s happening in your marriage and determine if Discernment Counseling is the best fit for you.

Call my office to inquire about fees for Discernment Counseling at (312) 925-3620