Who is it for?
If you or your spouse or partner are considering divorce or separation, but are not completely sure that’s the best path, you are in a tough spot.
Discernment Counseling is designed for you. It’s a chance to slow down, take a breath, and look at your options for your marriage or committed relationship. Discernment Counseling is a new way of helping couples where one person is “leaning out” of the relationship—and not sure that regular couples' counseling would help--and the other is “leaning in”—that is, interested in rebuilding the relationship. The counselor will help you decide whether to try to restore your relationship to health, move toward breaking-up or divorce, or take a time out and decide later.
What's the goal?
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 relationship 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 or separation while trying to open up the possibility of restoring the relationship 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.
Things to consider:
The process takes 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 or partner has already made a final decision to divorce or otherwise leave the relationship.
• When one spouse or partner is coercing the other to participate.
• When there is danger of domestic violence
If your relationship is in crisis, it can be saved. However, the process of remaking your relationship anew can occur only if both partners in the couple are fully committed to a process of change and renewal. Discernment Counseling can help clarify the necessity of ending the relationship, or help you reach the point of commitment to effective couples' counseling that will result in change and renewal within your relationship.