Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Diego CA

Professional counseling services in my San Diego office, by telephone or video conference

Discernment Counseling

To Divorce or Not to Divorce
Thinking About the “Pros” and “Cons” To Staying Together Or Not?
Feeling Stuck But Not Sure You Want To Make It Legal?

Discernment Counseling is not Marriage Counseling.  As a Marriage Counselor, couples occasionally come into Marriage Counseling not to seek help for their marriage, but seek help deciding whether or not to stay married.

In Marriage Counseling, I consult with couples where one partner wants to preserve and repair the relationship and the other is leaning towards ending it. It’s obviously agonizing for both parties as they want different outcomes. Throughout the counseling process options are discussed for moving forward.  One option is to implement the Couples Counseling process for a period of 6 months with a Moving Forward Plan specifically developed for the couple.  Another option is Discernment Counseling where we talk about what separation and/or divorce would look like and what that entails.

Discernment Counseling

Sessions involve mostly individual conversations along with sharing insight about what each partner is learning in these conversations. Or the couple can remain in status quo and decide what they want to do at a later time.

Discernment counseling is appropriate when one partner wants to separate and the other wants to stay and work on the marriage. It differs from regular marriage counseling in three ways: 1) the goal is not to solve problems in the relationship, but to figure out whether the problems can be solved; 2) the process involves mainly individual conversations with each partner, since they each have different needs and agendas, and 3) it is always short term.

While in Discernment Counseling I help couples get the clarity needed about what they want from their relationships to be able to want to move forward staying in the relationship.  I help them get a better understanding of what happened to their relationship and each other’s contribution to the problems.

Discernment counseling is time-limited and can be as brief as one session and as long as five sessions. The couple decides each time whether to come back for a subsequent session. The sessions are usually 1.5- 2 hours long.

Whatever the decision I respect and help the couple move towards the option selected. Wanting to work on your marriage or believing you need a divorce is a personal choice. For more information about whether or not you want “to want” to move forward in your relationship please contact me at 858-735-1139.

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