Discernment Counseling (Pre-Divorce)
Deciding whether to separate or divorce is one of the most difficult decisions a person can make. When a couple is in distress, it can be difficult for determine what to do or discuss next steps. Couples therapy doesn’t work well when one or both partners are ambivalent about separation/divorce; however, Discernment Counseling can help a couple gain clarity as to what they want to do about their relationship and what the best path forward is.
Discernment Counseling is not couples therapy and doesn’t focus on changing the problems in the relationship. Discernment Counseling is a brief, solution-based, assessment process lasting usually 1-5 sessions and is designed to give a couple the information they need to evaluate their relationship and decide next steps.
In Discernment Counseling, I combine individual and couple sessions. My role in these sessions is not to tell you what you should do with your relationship, but rather to help you both make a decision on whether there is something in the relationship worth saving. In the sessions, I take the couple through an honest, mindful investigation of what went wrong, how each person may have contributed to it, and what steps were taken to fix it.
I find Discernment Counseling a valuable process for ambivalent couples because it helps them feel more confident regarding their decision on next steps. If the couple decides to separate or divorce, Discernment Counseling often helps them have a more amicable break. If the couple decides to commit to working on their relationship, they will agree to at least six months of couples counseling where separation/divorce is off the table.
A divorce is not just a legal event, but rather a process. The end of a marriage creates major changes in your life and brings up many different emotions. As with any major life change, divorce can affect all aspects of your life – social, family, and financial. For many people, after a divorce it may be difficult to figure out who they are and what their life is now that the marriage has ended.
Divorce is a life transition where you will need to make a new life for yourself. Building that new life will be difficult if you are stuck in one of the stages of divorce grief: denial, anger, bargaining, or depression. The “death” of a marriage requires a grieving process for healing. Divorce Counseling can guide you through all the different stages which come up after a divorce. Divorce Counseling can help you work through any residual feelings you have towards your ex which may prevent you from moving on and building a new life. Divorce Counseling can help you process any feelings of guilt or shame you may have about the relationship ending. Divorce Counseling can help you to work through the challenges of being a single parent and help you to understand your child’s reactions to the divorce. Divorce Counseling can help you deal with the change or loss of relationships with your partner’s family and friends. These are very hard things to accept especially if you were not the one who initiated the divorce.
I respect the fact that everyone moves through the stages of divorce in their own way and in their own time. Moving through the stages will ultimately lead you to the readiness and desire to move on. The desire to build a new life for yourself will lead to a period of discovering who you are outside of the marriage and what brings meaning to your life. We will go through the process of building new social and support systems and ensuring you are financially stable. Together through the therapy process we will work to help you grow into the person you want to be and build the life you want.