Discernment Counseling Is Solution-based
Rather than focusing on the issues within your marriage and working on those, discernment counseling is solution-focused. This approach is slightly different than couples counseling.
Often, during discernment counseling sessions your therapist will connect with both you and your spouse separately. This allows for a time of getting to know your history and identifying each of your concerns.
Understanding your individual goals as well as your take on the situation makes it easier to streamline the discernment process.
How else does discernment counseling help?
Puts a Deadline on Your Decision
A trademark of discernment counseling is that it has a time frame—one to five sessions. Typically, it doesn’t take many sessions to identify the right path forward for your marriage.
Primarily, the reason for the time limit is to keep the sessions from drifting over into couples counseling. And while it may seem like a short time, very few couples exit discernment counseling undecided on how they want to proceed.
Looks Forward Rather than Back
Although most therapeutic approaches dive deeply into your past experiences, discernment counseling is different. Rather than examining your emotional history, this method aims at exploring a possible future for your relationship.
Certainly, this approach isn’t meant to downplay what you’ve experienced or your past as a couple. More than anything, it’s to keep a forward momentum. Plus, it helps you to remain intensely focused on finding a solution.
Provides Much-needed Distance
As mentioned before, unlike couples counseling, discernment counseling often focuses on one spouse at a time. Keep in mind, you’ll meet conjointly at the beginning of counseling. Though, the intense work is often accomplished separately.
This provides each of you a safe space to express your emotions and feelings about the marriage, uninhibited by the other spouse. Not only does the individual approach offer you each a comfortable environment, it also provides your therapist with more room to explore possible solutions.
Offers Marital Feedback
Despite discernment counseling being completely different than couples counseling, it does offer you feedback on your marriage.
Likely, you’re feeling stuck. Unable to make a decision to either stay together or separate, you could be facing emotional exhaustion. This fatigue may be a primary reason why you decide to embark in therapy in the first place and why you’re feeling stuck.
A non-biased third party can have a unique perspective on your situation. They can see things that neither you nor your spouse recognizes. Bringing these things to light can undoubtedly help you make a good decision.
Supports Your Next Step
Three outcomes flow from discernment counseling:
- A couple can choose to stay together, continuing to work on their relationship in couples counseling.
- A couple can choose to divorce or separate.
- Or, a couple can choose to remain in the marriage as-is, using discernment counseling to reflect until they’re ready to make their move.
No matter the direction you take, discernment counseling commits to a supportive stance. This counseling method helps you find clarity and the general trajectory in your relationship.
If your relationship has been on the brink for a lengthy period, consider discernment counseling to help you find clarity. When offered a supportive space to reflect, many people quickly find their answer.
To learn more about our approach, please visit our discernment counseling page.