Have you decided that you want to get a divorce? If so, you might have already spoken with your spouse about your plans and asked their opinion of separating.
If your spouse is not interested in divorcing, that doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to do so. However, going through a contested divorce can be more complex, so it may be worth considering if discernment counseling could help.
Discernment counseling may help couples when one person is ready to move on but the other isn’t. This form of short-term therapy isn’t marriage counseling, and it’s not there to make sure you get back together. Instead, it is designed to help both parties get more clarity on the direction they’d like their relationship to go.
Discernment counseling gives couples a few options
Discernment counseling allows couples to consider options such as staying together and focusing on repairing the relationship, staying in the marriage the way it currently is or divorcing and moving on. The process meets each spouse where they currently are in the relationship without the goal of convincing them to stay or go. Instead, it aims at helping them understand where the other party is at in their relationship (happy, miserable, ready to move on, willing to work on it, etc.), so that they can decide what the right path forward truly is.
Unlike marriage or couples counseling, the goal isn’t necessarily to heal the relationship. It’s instead to get both parties to agree on the path forward that is actually best for their situation based on what those decisions may look like. For instance, the counselor may guide the couple through thinking about life after divorce, life together with counseling or life together with doing nothing.
Discernment counseling is a short, effective tool for guidance
Lasting five sessions or fewer, discernment counseling is a short-lived opportunity for couples on the brink of divorce. Those sessions may be up to two hours long and involve times when the couple works together or individually with the counselor. At the end, the couple discusses the takeaway. If the end result is divorce, then it is hopeful that the divorce will not be contested and make go more smoothly than without the counseling.