top of page

Discernment Counseling

Discernment Counseling is a couples counseling process focused on supporting those who are on the brink of divorce. 

If you or your spouse are considering divorce but are not completely sure that’s the best path,  you are in a tough spot. Discernment Counseling was designed with you in mind. It’s a chance to slow down, take a breath, and look at your options for your marriage.

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. You will come in as a couple but the most important work occurs in the one-to-one conversations with the counselor. Why? Because you are starting out in different places.

The counselor respects your reasons for divorce while trying to open up the possibility of restoring the marriage to health. The counselor emphasizes the importance of each of you seeing your own contributions to the problems and the possible solutions. This will be useful in future relationships even if this one ends.

Number of Sessions: A maximum of five counseling sessions.

The first session is usually two hours and the subsequent are 1.5 or 2 hours.

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 the danger of domestic violence.

Watch this video to hear more about Discernment Counseling from the creator of this modality.

What do sessions look like?

The first session is 2 hours long. The therapist meets with both spouses together to asses where you both stand in the relationship and then the therapist meets with each spouse separately to understand more in-depth why they are either leaning in or out of the relationship. At the end, both partners return for the last 10-minutes to summarize where they are at in the process of discernment and if they need another session.

Sessions 2  through 5 are 90 minutes long. The first 10 minutes are spent discussing where each partner is currently in the discernment process and then the individual sessions happen. At the last 10 minutes, both spouses return to once again summarize where they are at and if they need the additional sessions available.

bottom of page