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 : Pre-divorce counseling: Couples seeking professional advice by a qualified mental health provider: Pre marriage counseling when you want a divorce.

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

Has your unhappy spouse said things like:

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

It isn't couples therapy.

It's Discernment Counseling. 

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

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.

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.

And it's time limited. 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.

This advice will work whether you divorce or not.

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

The "Leaning Out" partner is 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.

When women are in this situation, Michelle Weiner Davis calls these women: “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
  • Settle yourself and don't make things worse
  • Reduce the ‘desperate’ feeling

Discernment Counseling saves 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 be “blamed” for the divorce, or causing anymore pain. You may “agree” to couples therapy, but do so hardheartedly. Secretly, you may be utterly convinced that “nothing will help.” You could be involved in an undisclosed, ongoing extra-marital affair, that you aren't willing to reveal or give up. Or so depressed, you can't do therapy well. The divorce process is overwhelming, too. Or you want a no-fault divorce. Or there are children involved and you are concerned how a divorce might impact them.

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."

Discernment Counseling is  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. 

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."


Couples Therapy Inc is devot​​​​ed 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 us a call at: 844-926-8753.

Interested in a highly skilled professional training in Discernment Counseling?

Will this approach work for you and your partner?

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

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