Discernment Counseling for Couples

What is Discernment Counseling for couples?

  • Discernment counseling is a strictly short-term process. It is not couples therapy. The focus is not on solving marital problems but on exploring the possibility of collaborative effort toward some sort of resolution.
  • Discernment counseling helps the couple decide whether to work on their marriage, take a break to reflect on what they learned from the discernment counseling process before taking any action or keep moving towards separation and divorce.
  • Unlike individual counseling that typically focuses on “personal growth,” the discernment counselor strives to understand both partners, even as they perceive their situations very differently.

Discernment Counseling for couples? What sort of couples?

  • Discernment Counseling is for couples who are seriously considering divorce but are not entirely convinced it is an appropriate decision.
  • They want to take one last look before committing to a permanent decision with long-term consequences, particularly for children and finances.

What does Discernment Counseling for couples involve? How does it work?

  • Discernment counseling for couples helps them to decide whether to try to restore their marriage to health, move towards divorce or take a time out and decide at a later date.
  • The sessions are divided between brief discussions with the couple together and individual conversations with each spouse.
  • While the therapist respects the “hard” reasons for divorce and explores any “soft reasons,” they also open up the question of what it might take to heal the marriage.
  • The therapist emphasizes the importance of each party acknowledging their individual contribution to their problems, as well as their willingness to explore the full range of possible solutions.
  • Insight into personal issues provides valuable insight for future intimate relationships, even if this particular one comes to an end.
  • Discernment counseling is successful when the couple has attained clarity and confidence in whatever decision they make.
  • When a decision unfolds, if appropriate, the therapist can shift into “last shot” couples therapy to foster a healthier and more intimate marriage.
  • Or it might be necessary to assist the couple in finding professionals who can help them have a collaborative divorce. In some cases, couples may decide to take a time-out from the discernment process and return to the course at a later date.
Discernment Counseling helps couples acheve clarity and confidence

Discernment Counseling for couples is increasing in popularity. It helps couples attain clarity and confidence on how to address their issues

How many sessions are there?

  • Discernment counseling for couples involves a maximum of no more than five counseling sessions. The first meeting is usually 1 ½ to 2 hours, and subsequent sessions are 1.5 hours. The couple only commits to one session at a time.

Discernment counseling for couples is NOT suitable when…

  • One spouse has made a final decision to divorce and wants Discernment counseling for couples merely to push their spouse to accept that decision.
  • Discernment Counseling for couples is also inappropriate when there is a danger of domestic violence or there is an Order of Protection from the court.
  • Coercion to participate is also not congruent with the principles of discernment counseling.

Interested in online Discernment Counseling?

Call us for more information 844-926-8753 to reach me, Daniel Dashnaw, use option 2.

About the Author Daniel Dashnaw

Daniel is a Marriage and Family Therapist. He currently sees couples at Couples Therapy Inc. in Boston, Massachusetts, three seasons in Cummington (at the foothills of the Berkshires...) and in Miami during joint retreats with his wife, Dr. Kathy McMahon. He uses EFT, Gottman Method, Solution-focused and the Developmental Model in his approaches.

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