Discernment Counseling – Time-Limited Help if Considering Divorce

“dis·cern·ment coun-sel-ing:”   noun – A marital approach increasing your ability to judge your marital options well.

Make sure that marriage counseling isn’t a waste of your time and money.

Has your unhappy spouse sai​d things like:

"I wanted us to get help a long time ago but you refused, so now it's too late!"  


"You're the one who needs therapy, not me.  You get help, because I'm not the problem!"

Yes, we know. We’ve heard it all before. 

Want to learn a way to suggest getting help that won't 'corner' your reluctant or hopeless spouse?

Traditional marriage counseling can be a waste of time for these couples. Divorce may be premature.  The “leaning out” spouse will sometimes “agree” to couples therapy, but does so hardheartedly.  Secretly, they may be utterly convinced that “nothing will help.”

"Discernment Counseling helps you to make a thoughtful choice about a crucial life decision."​

It isn't couples therapy.

It's Discernment Counseling. 

A new time-limited approach to help you each decide how to proceed.

In Discernment Counseling, you don’t have to be sure you want to remain married. 

You don’t have to be convinced that you want a divorce. There is no pressure to commit to any given path. Many people need the time, space, and an objective, supportive therapist to provide a place to thoughtfully consider all of their options.

It lasts from one, to a maximum of five counseling sessions, meeting both individually and as a couple during each session.

The goal is to reflect upon, and consider the best course of action for you:

  • Explore how you got to this point in your relationship.
  • Evaluate objectively whether past counseling has been helpful or detrimental.
  • Examine all options about possible next steps:

Path One:    Stay the same- Do nothing and decide later.

Path Two:    Make an informed, ideally mutual decision to divorce...a constructive divorce; or

Path Three:   Decide on a reconciliation plan to wholeheartedly work on renewing the marriage.

"We want you to have a shot of changing around your marriage, and getting it to work again. If you’ve spoken to your “walk-away wife” or “out the door husband,” and gotten nowhere, give us a call for a free consult."

If we’re successful in helping you, hey, you might want to see one of us, or see someone who lives closer to you, but either way, you’ll be on your way to figuring out how to keep it together, when it’s all falling apart.

The advice we will offer will work whether you divorce or not.

We’ve helped quite a few partners get a “walk-away spouse” to slow down and consider what they’re doing.

"Before you start marital counseling but before you finalize any divorce proceedings."

Discernment Counseling doesn’t require both people to agree to “work on the marriage.” In fact, it actually is designed for those who are actively doubtful that marital therapy will do any good.

You can run away from your spouse, but you can’t run away from yourself.

You’ll always bring that person into the next relationship.

And doing the same thing, but expecting different results is the definition of insanity.

There’s a lot to be learned about what makes a marriage really horrible, and how to change it around. Forty-two years of research, studying real couples with real problems.

Like yours.

Either way, you'll be put in the absolute best position to move forward with greater confidence.​

They’re in “flight mode."

They can’t get out of the marriage fast enough. They are in so much pain, they believe divorce is the absolute only solution. Michelle Weiner Davis calls women in this situation “walk-away wives.”

Check out the video below: 

Walk Away Wife?” with Michelle Weiner Davis. 

Discernment Counseling 

Leaning Out Spouse


  • Clarity
  • Confidence
  • Struggling to decide what is the best thing.

Leaning In Spouse


  • Bring your best self forward
  • Not make things worse
  • Settle Yourself
  • Reduce the ‘desperate’ feeling

Discernment Counseling can save thousands of dollars spent in marital counseling that is destined to fail.

Got that?

Leaning Out
You may be looking to “get out easy” without being the one to “blame” for the divorce, or causing anymore pain.

Leaning In
You can’t believe you’ve been betrayed like this, when you’ve worked so long and so hard to keep the marriage together.  "You're going to leave?  Just like that?"

It's so hard to be your 'best self' in a situation like that.

Learn More from the Master of Discernment Counseling, Dr. Bill Doherty:

"Discernment Counseling is for couples where at least one partner is seriously considering divorce. It is a structured, reflective setting where you meet with a specially trained couples therapist, to help you sort out your relationship options."

It's  done by an elite group of professionals with advanced training in couples therapy.

Many have been approved to conduct his ​​​​work by the Couples on the Brink Project, the group that originated this groundbreaking approach.

Discernment Counseling helps the couple, individually, to decide if counseling is really the way to go. About 30% of couples who come into couples’ therapy are what we call “mixed agenda” couples where one person is “leaning out” of the marriage and the other is hopeful that with help, the marriage can work.

This “leaning out” spouse will sometimes “agree” to couples therapy, but  often does so hardheartedly. Secretly, they may be utterly convinced that “nothing will help.” Sometimes this is because they are involved in an undisclosed, ongoing extra-marital affair, that they are not willing to reveal. At other times, they may be so depressed, they are unable to devote their full energies to the process.

Not surprisingly, marital therapy at that point, is of no help. This leaves the “leaning out” spouse even more convinced that divorce is the only viable option.

For this reason, Discernment Counseling can save thousands of dollars spent in marital counseling that is destined to fail.

We emphasize the importance of each partner recognizing their own contribution to the problems, and considering all of the possible solutions, not just marriage counseling. Even if you do decide to divorce, knowing what part you’ve played in your marital troubles will be very useful to you in your future relationships."

Goals of Discernment Counseling

Discernment Counseling is considered successful when partners have clarity and confidence in their decision. Once you’ve gained clarity and direction, you can decide with confidence, on your next step. To learn more about discernment counseling, read this article in the
Wall Street Journal.

It starts with a "State of the Union" assessment, prior to the start of the five sessions. Think of it as "Pre-Discernment Counseling."


Interesting in learning more about “Last Shot Couples Therapy,” a therapy specifically designed for highly troubled couples committed to the reconciliation process? Click here.

Couples Therapy Inc is devoted to helping couples in all phases of their marriage.

If you’d like some help knowing how to speak honestly and directly to your “walk-away spouse,” give Daniel a call at:


Interested in a highly skilled professional training in Discernment Counseling?

Will this approach work for you and your partner?

Discernment Counseling is a brief, focused, time-limited approach