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What is Discernment Counseling?

A woman in contemplation about what is discernment counseling and if it might be the right choice for her.

What is discernment counseling and why is it important if you are asking

“should I stay married”?

If you are on the fence about whether divorce is the right option for you, learning the answer to what is discernment counseling and why it could be an excellent first step in your possible divorce journey can be very helpful in making that difficult decision.

What is Discernment Counseling?

Discernment Counseling is a type of marriage counseling, usually provided by a licensed therapist, in which the couple is seeking guidance together on whether or not they should end their marriage.

Who should engage in discernment counseling?

Often times in a marriage, there is one spouse who is ambivalent about staying married and the other spouse is interested in doing therapy. If this sounds like your situation, then this type of counseling may be the right fit for you. Discernment counseling is not effective in a situation where one person has already made up their mind that divorce is the only path.

What is discussed in discernment counseling?

During the session, you will likely discuss what has happened in the relationship leading up to the point that divorce is now a consideration. Additionally, you will review what both partners have done to try to support the continuation of a healthy relationship.

What are the possible results of this kind of counseling?

There are 3 possible outcomes following therapy
1) Status quo – the couple returns to their relationship with no change
2) Divorce – the couple decides they will not remain in a relationship and they move onward with getting a divorce
3) Reconciliation – divorce is taken off the table and the couple commits to working on their marriage

Benefits of Discernment Counseling

Here is a great study that shows the positive impact of these things listed below.

– Therapy helps provide clarity and honesty on the current martial situation and may change perspective towards divorce.
– Going through this process together helps the partners review all options before making a decision.
– Couples to decide to remain married are able to strengthen their relationship, working on the issues that were discussed in therapy and practicing good communication.
– Couples who do decide to divorce often have better cooperation during the legal divorce process.
– Parents who divorce often have a better relationship which supports the ability to co-parent.

Does discernment counseling sound like something that might benefit you? Are you not quite sure? Check out this article where we share some questions you can explore if you are in a place of questioning if your current situation is right for you. And remember, we are always here to help!