Discernment Counseling Helps Couples Decide If Divorce is the Best Option

I’ve never been to marriage counseling but my parents have. (They’re divorced now BTW.)

TODAY Health reports on a new kind of couples counseling, the kind that doesn’t focus on bringing you both together, but rather, whether being apart is the best answer.

Bill Doherty, a professor in the family social science department at the University of Minnesota developed discernment counseling to help struggling couples make practical choices regarding their marriage.

According to Doherty, “Around 30 percent of the couples coming into marriage counseling are mixed agenda couples. Divorce is on the table for one of the parties. Traditional marriage counseling has no way to deal with those people. It’s been area of frustration for a lot of marriage counselors.”

Doherty’s discernment counseling differs from traditional marriage counseling in a variety of ways, with the main difference being the combination of individual and joint counseling sessions. Doherty suggests the individual counseling sessions are especially helpful when one partner feels bitter or devastated by the other’s desire to end the marriage.

The primary goal of discernment counseling is to help struggling couples who find themselves facing a marital crossroads. This new therapy approach allows couples to meet with a discernment counselor for up to five sessions who assists them in deciding whether to stay in their marriage as it currently stands, dissolve the marriage, or engage in a six-month reconciliation plan that includes traditional couples therapy.

What are your thoughts on this new approach to couples therapy?

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