Discernment Counseling: For Couples On The Brink

Fotolia_112290815_Subscription_Monthly_MNo doubt, you never thought you would find yourself in this place – a place where your marriage is not working as you thought it would. Maybe you feel like that picture – that you are trying to push a huge bolder up a hill. You feel exhausted. You feel like nothing is changing. You might be considering divorce.
Or, you might want to stay in the marriage and rebuild but are unsure if you can work through your issues. You might find that you and your spouse are in different places at this time – where one of you is leaning out of the marriage and considering divorce and the other one is leaning in and wants to make changes and rebuild the marriage. These types of couples – you – are what I refer to as a ‘mixed-agenda couple.’
But have no fear, hope is around the corner. This is a time that you might want to consider Discernment Counseling.  
Fotolia_98034056_Subscription_Monthly_MDiscernment Counseling in not traditional marriage counseling but a new and innovative way of helping couples decide which path to take in these types of marriages. Its’ an opportunity to determine whether or not the problems are solvable.
That is the key difference. Each person is discerning what direction they would like to take. One of the advantages of this type of counseling is that provides the couple the opportunity to slow down, breathe, and look at your options for your marriage – before you pick a definitive path.


How Do I Help You As A Discernment Counselor? 
  • I help you decide whether to try to restore your marriage to health, move toward divorce, or take a time out and decide later.
  • I help each person gain clarity, confidence, and perspective 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.
  • Although we meet as a couple in the beginning and end of each session, the bulk of the time is spent individually to address and determine what individual changes you will make to decide or discern if the marital issues are if they are solvable. 
The Nuts and Bolts
There is a maximum of five counseling sessions.  Couples meet anywhere from 1-5 sessions. The first session is about two hours in length with subsequent sessions either for an hour and a half.  
After an initial period with the couple, I meet with each individual for the bulk of the time. The couple comes back in together for the last part of the session sharing with their spouse/partner their summary of their session and what they each took away from the session.


I Ask Four important questions:
1.) What is your marriage narrative? Asking, what has happened in your marriage that is making divorce an option?
2.) What is your divorce narrative? For example, what have you done to try and fix your marriage? 
3.)What role, if any, do you child(ren) play in your decision making about your marriage?
4.) What are one or two of the best times in your relationship (from when you first met) that you felt the most connected?


A Choice of Three Paths:
1.) Both decide continue with your marriage ‘as is’. Meaning you choose to keep the status quo. 
2.) You initiate a separation/divorce
3.) Engage in six months of intensive couples therapy aimed at reconciliation – with divorce taken off the table.


Discernment Counseling is not suited if one spouse has already made a final decision to divorce, when one spouse is coercing the other to participate in counseling, or when there is danger of domestic violence.
Need more information? Please check out DiscernmentCounseling.com


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