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  • Writer's pictureDr. James Olsen

Is Discernment Counseling Right for Us?

Marriage can be a blissful union where two individuals come together to share their lives, love, and dreams. However, not all marriages are smooth sailing, and sometimes, couples may find themselves struggling to find a way to make their relationship work. When couples reach a point where they are unable to resolve their conflicts on their own, and unsure whether they want to try and work through their differences, they may consider seeking professional help. One form of counseling that is gaining popularity among couples is discernment counseling.


Discernment counseling is a specialized form of therapy that helps couples who are considering divorce to make a well-informed decision about the future of their relationship. It is not intended to fix the relationship or resolve the issues that the couple is facing but rather to help them gain clarity and understanding about their situation. This type of counseling is typically recommended for couples who are unsure whether they want to work on their marriage or end it.


What Happens During Discernment Counseling?


During Discernment counseling the therapist works collaboratively with the couple to explore their relationship and help them understand their individual and collective needs and goals. The therapist helps the couple gain insight into the underlying issues that may be causing problems in their relationship and explore the options available to them. The goal of discernment counseling is to help the couple make a thoughtful and informed decision about the future of their relationship, whether that means staying together and working on their issues or ending the relationship and moving on separately.


Discernment counseling is not for every couple, and there are certain situations in which it may not be appropriate. For example, if one or both partners have already made up their minds about ending the relationship, then discernment counseling may not be useful. Additionally, if there is a history of domestic violence or abuse, then other forms of therapy may be more appropriate.


However, for many couples, discernment counseling can be a valuable resource. It can help couples gain clarity and understanding about their relationship, and it can provide a safe and supportive environment for exploring their options. Discernment counseling can also be beneficial for couples who want to end their relationship but want to do so in a way that is respectful and healthy for both partners.


How is Discernment Counseling Different from Traditional Couples Therapy?


Discernment counseling is different from traditional couples therapy in that for traditional couples therapy, the focus is on improving the relationship and addressing issues that are causing conflict. In discernment counseling, the focus is on understanding why the couple is considering divorce and exploring the options available to them.


Who Could Benefit from Discernment Counseling?


Discernment counseling can be helpful for couples who are experiencing ambivalence about divorce. This might include couples who are:

  • Considering divorce but are unsure whether it's the right decision

  • One partner is considering divorce, and the other is not sure what they want

  • Unsure whether to pursue reconciliation or to end the marriage

  • In a high-conflict relationship but are not sure whether divorce is the best solution

  • Have children and want to make sure they're making the right decision for their family

If you are wondering whether discernment counseling is right for you, know that it is a valuable resource for couples who are struggling with their relationship and considering divorce. It provides a safe and supportive environment for exploring the options available to you and helps you make a well-informed decision about the future of your relationship.


If you are considering discernment counseling, it is important to find a qualified therapist who has experience working with couples in similar situations. With the right guidance, discernment counseling can help you find clarity and peace in your relationship, whatever your decision may be. If you would like to explore discernment counseling, reach out today to work with one of our qualified therapists.



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