Discernment counseling is an effective approach to help couples who are deciding whether or not to stay in their relationship. It provides an opportunity for couples to explore, understand and make informed decisions about their future.
Discernment counseling is not a traditional couples therapy, as the focus is not necessarily on repairing the relationship, but rather on helping you to make a clear and informed decision about your future together. This can be an incredibly valuable process for those who are feeling unsure about their relationship, as it can provide a structured and compassionate environment to have important conversations and gain clarity.
During this type of counseling, you and your partner will work with a therapist who will provide a supportive and non-judgmental space for you to discuss your individual needs, desires, and concerns. The therapist will help you to better understand each other’s perspectives and to explore any possible solutions or alternatives to ending the relationship.
Discernment counseling is a great option for couples who are struggling to make a decision about their relationship and want to explore their options in a supportive and informed way.
Step One: Discernment
Use this initial step to take a clear look at where you are with the relationship, what you feel is possible, and where you feel hopeless. You and your partner(s) will examine what would need to happen to move forward, and what the consequences are of ending or staying in the current relationship. At the end of your 3-5 sessions, you will choose your next path.
Questions that are asked and answered in Step One:
“Are we able to solve these problems or has too much damage been done?”
“Can we commit to a path of healing, or would staying together cause us more harm?”
“Should we just keep on keeping on the way things are right now?”
Step Two: Choose Your Path:
Path 1 – Stay where you are, not ending the relationship, not doing a deep dive into healing.
Path 2 – Choose a healing path forward together.
Path 3 – Collaboratively end the relationship and pursue healing as individuals.
Paths for Healing
Inner Adaptive Child Reconciliation: Explore how early experiences, trauma, and old hurts in the relationship create a negative version of you and your partners. Learn strategies to heal and integrate old protective patterns into the adult you of today. Find ways to break out of the negative viewpoints of your partners and find ways to create firm and loving boundaries that respect everyone’s hearts and feelings.
Opening Up: You have decided to move forward in healing your relationship and changing up your dynamics. That may include expanding your relationships to include others or the degree of connection with others. Learn specific tools and strategies to lean into the new while preserving the care in your relationships. There are endless attachments out there, we are all capable of strengthening our attachments to others, regardless of our pasts.
Parentship/Platonic Partnership: You decide to move forward as co-parents,/co-caretakers/co-workers with mutual respect and care for one another. Your family/community needs to adapt and grow with this changing dynamic. You want you and your partner(s) to do this as a team, while also grieving the relationship that was. Maybe you are no longer romantic or sexual partner, but you still need/want to be in partnership. Find practical strategies to accomplish this and emotional support to navigate this important life change.
Infedelity/Boundary Breaches: At least one of you has broken a boundary in the relationship, but you have come together to do the important work of repairing. This path will lead you through re-building a new relationship fostered in honesty and openness, you will learn to listen to understand and how to reach out for connection. You will look at the harm of the breach without punishment. You will look at the relationship as a whole without blaming. The focus is on accountability and rebuilding.
Process & Rates
The first session is 2 hours (either concurrent or broken up over 2 days), the second, third and fourth sessions are 90 minutes, and the 5th is optional for 60 minutes.
Discernment Counseling Package total: $1000-$1250 for 4 sessions and 5 sessions respectively.