30-50% of couples who come for marriage counseling come with divorce ambivalence.
Discernment counseling is a way for “mixed agenda” couples (where one partner wants to work on the marriage and the other is leaning out of the marriage and is ambivalent about couples therapy) to work through their decision to divorce or remain married and seek further counseling. Traditionally these couples get stuck and leave therapy.
The goals of discernment counseling are clarity and confidence about a direction for the marriage, based on a deeper understanding of what has happened to the marriage and each person’s contributions to the problems. Typically, after 5 sessions, about 50% of couples decide to embark on intensive couples therapy and most of the other 50% decide to move directly to divorce, having come to better understand themselves and their relationship. It is not an easy decision to consider divorcing and couples often are plagued by fear, indecisiveness, and remorse. Even when couples are certain they want to proceed with the divorce, there can still be much pain and regret.
Discernment Counseling starts where both spouses are at emotionally: no good or bad spouse and no pressure to work on the marriage.
Discernment Counseling can save thousands of dollars spent in marital counseling that is destined to fail. Published research shows that 30 percent of individuals who have already filed for divorce express divorce ambivalence and indicate some degree of interest in avoiding the divorce and getting help for their marriage. My goal for our time together is to prevent an unnecessary divorce and to assure a less destructive divorce for those who choose that path.
If you think this type of counseling would be productive for you and your spouse, give me a call today.