Discernment Counselling can help you get your relationship quickly back on track
Did you know an estimated 30% of couples coming to marriage counselling are mixed-agenda couples where one partner is leaning out of the relationship and is reluctant to work on it, and the other partner wants to save the relationship?
Much research has shown that at the time of divorce filing, most couples are split on wanting the divorce and at least one partner is hoping to overcome the relationship issues.
New research shows that even after entering the divorce process, about 30 percent of individual parents of minor children have hopes for their marriage and interest in help with reconciling. Sadly, most people that enter the divorce process have never tried traditional marriage counselling to see if their relationship could be saved.
If you're a couple where one or both of you is considering ending the relationship or filing for divorce, Discernment Counselling can help you more than couples therapy at this time. It can be helpful for you in deciding on the best decision for the future of your relationship.
What is Discernment Counselling?
The goal of Discernment Counselling is simple: to help you achieve greater clarity and confidence in your decision-making about the future of your relationship, based on a deeper understanding of what's happened in your relationship.
Discernment Counselling is not couples therapy or family therapy because you are not having difficult conversations and immediately working on the relationship (although many couples report that they experience positive improvements in the relationship during the Discernment Counselling process.)
Some of the most common mistakes therapists make with mixed-agenda couples include:
- Pursue the person leaning out of the relationship to get them to try couples therapy
- Launching half-hearted couples therapy
- Hold back meaningful help unless they both want therapy
This approach doesn't work and often ends in the relationship ending, because one or both partners end up giving up on salvaging the relationship the leaning in partner accepts ambivalence of the leaning out partner.
How Discernment Counselling works
Discernment Counselling is time-limited counselling consisting of 1-5 sessions only. You and your spouse can meet with the therapist in-person or online. Online sessions are just as effective as in-person sessions and often more convenient. With online sessions, one benefit is you don't have to be in the same location to attend a session.
You and your partner attend all therapy sessions together, however, the discernment counsellor combines individual conversations and couple conversations, to help determine what's gone wrong in the marriage to bring you to the point of divorce and get great clarity and confidence to decide on the best path forward.
The discernment process focuses on choosing one of three paths:
- Path one is the status quo - nothing changes in the relationship and everything stays as it is.
- Path two is separation or divorce - you both decide to end the relationship without injuring or hurting each other or your children.
- Path three is a six-months commitment to couples therapy to overcome your issues (and sometimes other resources) with divorce off the table - after the six months, you can make another decision about whether to stay or leave.
The Discernment Counsellor will use different approaches based on whether you are the leaning in or leaning out partner:
- Leaning out partner: help you make a decision based on more a complex understanding of the marriage and your own role in its problems and potential future.
- Leaning in partner: help you bring your best self to the crisis, not make things worse, get what your spouse is saying, and work on yourself.
The benefits of Discernment Counselling
The main goal of Discernment Counselling is to help each of you make a clear and confident decision about the future of your marital relationship, so if you choose to work on your relationship, it means that both of you are on board with working on the marriage for a minimum of six months without any threats to end the relationship. This can give you the strongest possible chance of saving your relationship.
The benefits of Discernment Counselling include:
- understanding what's happened in your marriage that has gotten you to the point where divorce is a possibility
- understanding what's worked and what hasn't worked in attempting to resolve your relationship and communication issues
- understanding what role, if any, do your children play in your decision about the future of your marriage
- understanding what initially drew you together and what's changed since then
- an appreciation of what have been the best times in your relationship since you met
- an appreciation of each of your concerns about the relationship - what's happened and where it's going
- the ability to make a clear and confident decision at the end of the Discernment Counselling process about the future of the relationship
If you decide to separate, you can make this clear decision within a short amount of time and start the separation process without causing more pain and hurt than is already there.
And if you and your partner make the decision to work on your marriage after engaging in Discernment Counselling, you'll do much better with getting your relationship back on track, because you are both committed to making the relationship work.
Don't let your divorce destroy you or your children.
If you're considering online marriage counselling services in Australia, Clinton Power has extensive experience helping couples create better relationships. Clinton uses evidence-based interventions based on the science of healthy relationships in his work with his clients.