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What Is Discernment Counseling?

So What Exactly Is Discernment Counseling?

Discernment Counseling is a new way of helping couples where one person is “leaning out” of the relationship—and not sure that regular marriage counseling would help–and the other is “leaning in”—that is, interested in rebuilding the marriage.

The counselor will help you decide whether to try to restore your marriage to health, move toward divorce, or take a time out and decide later.

The goal is for you to gain clarity and confidence about a direction, based on a deeper understanding of your relationship and its possibilities for the future.

The goal is not to solve your marital problems but to see if they are solvable. You will each be treated with compassion and respect no matter how you are feeling about your marriage at the moment.

No bad guys and good guys.

How Does It Work?

Discernment Counseling starts with a phone call. During this time, we will discuss what has led your marriage to this point as well as what you may see as barriers to reconciliation.

We will discuss the three paths- more on this in a moment- and determine if Discernment Counseling seems like a good fit for your situation.

If you believe it is, the process is then repeated with your partner. Once you’re both on the same page about moving forward, an initial session is scheduled.

What Are These “Three Paths” You Mentioned?

Discernment Counseling is about making a decision about the direction of your marriage based on clarity and confidence. It’s an opportunity to explore the possibilities for your relationship.

Path One is the “status quo”: neither divorce nor therapy.

Path Two is to move toward divorce.

Path Three is a commitment to 6 months of relationship therapy (and sometimes other resources) with divorce completely off the table.

The only failure in Discernment Counseling is when nothing is learned during the process- something I have never witnessed happen.

But I Don’t Want To Talk About Divorce OR I Don’t Want To Consider Marriage Therapy!

That’s exactly why Discernment Counseling exists.

As long as the two of you are tugging each other in opposing directions, no ground will ever be gained.

You’ll continue to be stuck- pushing and pulling… and miserable.

How Long Does Discernment Counseling Take?

Unlike traditional marriage counseling, Discernment Counseling is brief:

1-5 Sessions.

The only thing you have to decide in the first four sessions is whether you would like to continue the process.

At the end of the fifth session, a choice of one of the 3 paths is typically made with a default to Path One if neither Path Two or Three is chosen.

How Long Are The Sessions?

The first session is two hours.

Each session thereafter is 90 minutes.

Another difference between Discernment Counseling and traditional marriage counseling is that most of the time in session is spent individually with the therapist as opposed to together as a couple.

How Much Does It Cost?

The first session is $360.

Each session thereafter is $270.

More questions about fees or insurance? Click here.