Principles for Discernment Counseling

Every professional who works with marriages in distress brings a values stance that is often not disclosed. We want to be transparent about our values. Below are principles that Discernment Counselors in our directory have affirmed.

Principles about Marriage:

  • Life-long commitment is especially difficult in today’s throwaway culture.
  • Children have an important stake in the health and endurance of their parents’ marriage.
  • Marital commitment brings obligations to work on a troubled marriage before giving up.

Principles about Healing in Therapy:

  • Because most troubled marriages can be restored to health if both partners dedicate themselves vigorously to make that happen, the first stance of therapists should be to help couples see if the path of healing is possible for them.
  • Because marriages have other stakeholders, especially children, it is important for therapists to help couples to see how others are affected by the decisions they make about the future of their marriage.
  • Because love and fairness must go hand in hand, healing a marriage must not come at the expense of one of the spouses.

Principles on Divorce:

  • Some divorces are necessary in order to prevent further harm in a destructive relationship.
  • Some divorces are unavoidable because one party chooses the divorce path against the wishes of their spouse.
  • However, many of today’s divorces could be prevented if both parties took steps to work on their marriage before it was too late.
  • When clients choose divorce, therapists have a responsibility to make them aware of additional resources, including divorce professionals who can facilitate a fair and healing divorce process.