Thursday, February 16, 2017

New Service for Couples @ Crossroads

Discernment Counseling

When your spouse wants a divorce but you don't...what do you do? 

Or, if you are the one who believes the relationship must end - how will you convince your partner to accept this and move on?

In both cases, discernment is crucial. 
Discernment means the ability to judge and decide well, to have clarity, understanding, and confidence about your direction so you can move forward with this major decision. 

There is a new service for couples who find themselves at this important crossroad. Discernment Counseling is a short-term program for couples who want to achieve a clear mutual decision about their next step. Despite the name, it is not counseling because it is not trying to fix you or your relationship. It is a process that determines if your relationship isfixable” so that you don’t waste time, money, and effort - only to get more discouraged and pessimistic. 

When a marriage can’t be saved and the decision to split is made, lawyers report that couples who have gone through the Discernment process are calmer and the relationship ends more smoothly allowing for better co-parenting and less conflict. 

Guided by a neutral and trained facilitator-therapist who follows a research-based protocol, you and your partner will be asked structured questions both together and separately.  The interviews are aimed at helping each partner understand their contribution in driving things to this crossroad and what it would require to fix it, or why it must end and what it will take to heal, being better equipped to recognize and avoid destructive patterns with each other as well as increasing your odds of success with future relationships.

I have been trained to offer this service founded by the well-known author and marriage expert Dr. William Dougherty.  If you are interested in learning more about Discernment counseling, please contact me

Whether you are the partner who is wanting to save the relationship or end it…here are answers to some frequently asked questions about this unique and new service:

How long is the process?
You two decide. Usually 1-5 meetings, the couple decides at the end of each meeting whether another meeting will help their decision-making.

How much does it cost?
$150 per hour, first session is usually 2 hours, less after that.

Does insurance cover this?
It’s complicated. Remember, while this can be therapeutic, it is not meant to be therapy.  We can discuss this further but keep in mind that insurance only covers counseling when there is “medical necessity” meaning you will need to have symptoms warranting a diagnosis of a mental/behavioral health disorder. I have found that many clients do not wish to have this kind of diagnosis in their record for various legitimate reasons. Frequently, clients find that paying my rate at this juncture is worth the outcome:  either if they decide they are giving their marriage one last shot, they leave with a ready-made game plan saving time (& your money) for the new couples’ therapist, or if heading for divorce, as lawyers can attest to, Discernment couples have a smoother divorce which reduces costly legal fees.

What if my partner doesn’t want to come? Can I come alone? 
No. Discernment counseling requires both of you. However, I have found that when someone is reluctant it is often because they don’t fully understand that I won’t be trying to persuade or convince them to accept a direction. I always speak with each partner separately on the phone, before we schedule anything to explain the process, address any questions or concerns, and to see if you are eligible for Discernment counseling.

Do we have to be married?
No. Discernment counseling is a viable option for non-married couples, heterosexual or same-sex couples as well as couples with or without children.