How to do Discernment Counseling for Couples on the Brink of Divorce The dirty little secret of couples therapy is we have great models and protocols that work for couples who want to actively work on their marriage. What happens when one person is mostly out the door and the other is desperate to save

This is a new Psychotherapy Networker article that best summarizes the place of Discernment Counseling in contemporary culture and in the world of psychotherapy.  At the request of the editor, it also deals head on with a morally ambiguous area for many therapists: whether to work vigorously to support the marriage of an on-the-brink couple

It’s commonly believed that when people enter the legal divorce process, they have come to accept the reality that divorce is inevitable.  Even therapist and lawyers tend to assume that once divorce papers are filed, ambivalence about divorcing is over and the only task ahead is to help couples have a constructive end to their marriage.

Some therapists feel they’re great couples therapy advocates. They can smoothly and eloquently “sell” their skills and the positive outcomes they’ve seen over the years. This may all be true but for someone not sure they want the marriage, you can bounce along for a few sessions until the reality of where they’re at emotionally

We’ve all been there. A couple enters the office for an intake. During the session (or worse, at the end during the final “doorknob blitz” of information), one of the spouses admits they don’t really feel a need for couples therapy. You freeze. This spouse is NOT suggesting divorce. They are simply stating they’re not into this therapy thing.