Discernment Counseling is not couple therapy. The protocol for this form of treatment was developed because many partners, even when they are contemplating divorce, are very ambivalent about what they actually want to do. Sometimes one partner wants to continue in the marriage while the other partner no longer feels this commitment. These couples are called mixed agenda couples. Discernment counseling is a structured form of therapy that works with each partner so that they can become clearer, discern, what they actually want to do. This process takes place over the course of 5 structured meetings in which the therapist works with each partner primarily individually to help them become clearer about what they are actually feeling. There are three possible outcomes: do nothing and continue in the unclear state, move towards a full separation, or commit to do couple therapy for agreed upon time usually at least 6 months.

I am a certified discernment counselor and understand the complexity faced by couples when one partner is in an ambivalent stance. From my perspective, discernment counseling, is an excellent way to help create greater understanding in this highly charged situation.