This scenario is really tough - someone betrays their partner and is thinking of leaving. You're faced with an angry but leaning in spouse who may have a double wound of a betrayal in the marriage along side the threat of the marriage ending. Watch this video to learn more about how to deal with this scenario.

Navigating Crisis in Relationships: Insights from Discernment Counseling

In the tumultuous landscape of couples therapy, few scenarios rival the complexity of working with couples teetering on the edge of divorce, primarily when one partner has engaged in hurtful behavior such as infidelity or addiction. This transcript from Bill Doherty, co-founder of the Doherty Relationship Institute, sheds light on one such challenging situation and offers valuable insights into the practice of Discernment Counseling.

Understanding the Dynamics: Hurt, Betrayal, and Uncertainty

When the actions of the other have hurt one partner, the relationship dynamics can become strained. The hurt party often seeks acknowledgment, apology, and a commitment to repair the damage. Meanwhile, the partner who has acted out may be contemplating leaving the marriage, further complicating the situation. This delicate balance of hurt, betrayal, and uncertainty forms the backdrop against which Discernment Counseling operates.

The Role of Discernment Counseling

As developed by Bill Doherty, Discernment Counseling offers a structured approach to working with couples facing profound relationship challenges. Central to this approach is recognizing that both partners have valid perspectives and needs that must be addressed. Rather than rushing to fix the relationship or prematurely deciding on divorce, Discernment Counseling provides a space for couples to explore their options and make informed decisions about the future of their marriage.

Managing Emotions in the Crucible

One key aspect highlighted in the transcript is the management of emotions, particularly for the partner who has been hurt. While it's natural to want to express anger, frustration, and pain, Doherty emphasizes the importance of restraint during the initial crisis phase. By focusing on the larger goal of preserving the marriage, the hurt partner can refrain from venting all their feelings, recognizing that there will be an appropriate time and space for emotional expression in the therapy process.

Looking Ahead: Revisiting and Repairing

As the crisis subsides and the couple commits to working on their marriage, Discernment Counseling facilitates the process of revisiting and repairing the underlying issues that contributed to the relationship's breakdown. Just as a person recovering from a medical emergency must address the root causes of their health issues, couples engaged in therapy must confront the deeper issues within their relationship to foster healing and growth.