Should we give counseling a try or just end it now?
Is your relationship really struggling or “on the brink” of ending? Are you or your partner considering whether to start couples counseling or end the relationship altogether? Then discernment counseling may be a good fit for you.
Whether married or in a long-term committed relationship, discernment counseling is designed to help couples gain clarity and confidence in deciding the next step in their relationship, including whether to commit to couples counseling for a set amount of time or to move toward ending the relationship. In order to discern what to do next, it is helpful to work through a systematic process, with a third party objective person (that’s me), in order to get to the heart of your issues and determine if your problems can be solved.
The focus is NOT on solving relational problems, but on seeing if they can be solved and deciding if you want to commit to repairing or ending your relationship.
Who Is Discernment Counseling for?
Discernment counseling is for couples with a mixed agenda, where one person is thinking of leaving the relationship (or “leaning out”) and the other wants to stay (“leaning in”). Again, it is not couples counseling, which should be endeavored when a couple is committed to doing the work to repair the relationship. This is for couples that are on the fence or one party is on the fence. This is all about making a decision in a clear and productive manner.
What to Expect:
Expect to develop a deeper understanding of the obstacles in your relationship, more than the “he said” “she said” but a conceptualization of the patterns and dynamics that led you to this place in your relationship
Expect a safe space to voice, hear, and consider your point of view, your partner’s point of view, and an objective third party’s point of view related to your relationship and the potential impact of staying together or parting ways.
Expect greater clarity and knowledge and to come to a decision about whether to remain as you are, begin couples counseling for a set amount of time, or move towards terminating the relationship.
So How Does It Work?
Discernment counseling is short-term, between one and five sessions. This approach uses individual and couple time to help people come to a decision about what to do while supporting partners who are committed to the relationship but frustrated and fearful about their partner’s uncertainty.
The 1st session is 2 hours and made up of both couple time and individual time.
At the end of this session, the couple will decide whether or not to proceed with another one-hour session in order to work towards the goal of clearly and consciously deciding on one of three paths or outcomes:
1. Stay together as is
2. Begin couples counseling for a set amount of time
3. Move towards terminating the relationship or divorce
Session 1, two hours $400
Sessions 2-5 (should you decide to continue), one hour $160
When Discernment Counseling Is Not Appropriate
When one party has made a definitive decision and the other party is coercing or manipulating the “leaning out” party to participate.
When there is domestic violence
When there is a restraining order or order of protection