Discernment Counseling

Discernment Counseling is a 1-6 session process created by Bill Doherty to help couples get unstuck from the impasse that occurs when one partner wants out of the relationship and the other wants to work on reconciliation and healing.

It is not couples counseling. It is an opportunity to work with a skilled couples therapist with the sole goal of arriving at a joint decision with clarity and confidence, to either end the relationship or engage in a course of couples counseling for a specified period of time, such as 3-6 months.

Discernment Counseling

Discernment sessions run between 90 minutes and 2 hours and involve individual as well as joint meetings. The process can also be done as an open-ended intensive block. Our role is to bring into focus each person’s sense of the impasse as well as each person’s contribution and willingness to explore what it would take to move forward.

Discernment Counseling

Discernment counseling is NOT suitable when:

  • One partner has made a final decision to end the relationship & simply wants the counselor to engage the other partner to accept this outcome;
  • One partner is coercing the other to participate via threats of any kind;
  • There is an active Protection from Abuse order or recent domestic violence.

At the end of discernment sessions, both partners will have clarity and confidence in their decision and a more balanced and nuanced understanding of what happened in the relationship that led to the current impasse.

Frequently Asked Questions About Discernment Counseling

Does doing Divorce Discernment sort of commit me to working on my relationship? No. It’s a process for couples who are really stuck, where there is a “leaning out” partner and a “leaning in” partner. If you are the leaning out person, your partner will either shift and let go or you will decide to give couples an opportunity. Couples work is much more likely to be successful when both partners have made the choice to invest in it for a period of time. If you do choose to do couples work, we may have you begin anew with another therapist.

Discernment Counseling

Do you believe that all relationships can be fixed? No. Both partners have to be willing and able to work on repairing the relationship. Sometimes, couples conclude that too much damage has been done, that there is no more energy to invest in repair or it’s simply time to move on. Even when this is the “right” choice, it can still be a deeply painful one. At the conclusion of the “discernment” process, we will be available to continue meeting with you together with a focus on “Conscious Separation”.

For more information on Bill Doherty’s work see his site.