In the realm of couples therapy, encountering what we term "mixed agenda couples" is not uncommon. In these situations, one partner is leaning out of the relationship while the other is leaning in, leading to inherent tensions and uncertainties. As a therapist, navigating such scenarios can be challenging without a structured approach, often resulting in awkward moments that impede progress, especially with couples on the brink of divorce. However, with the proper protocol in place, the counselor can transform this situation into opportunities for graceful intervention and meaningful progress.

Whether you're doing a phone screen as part of your intake process, or they're in the first session discussing their opposing stances on marriage and whether to do couples therapy, you will not feel stressed because you have an organized approach to helping them where they are. The same is true later in therapy when one spouse says, "I'm done." You have a way to help clarify whether the marriage is over or if this is a cry for help. Instead of making this up independently, therapists trained in Discernment Counseling know how to respond in a way that works for many couples.

Couples on the Brink of Divorce

At the Dougherty Relationship Institute, we understand the complexities of working with mixed-agency couples or couples on the brink of divorce. To address these unique dynamics, we have developed a specialized approach known as Sermon Counseling. This method enables therapists to effectively handle ambivalence regarding staying or leaving the relationship, as well as ambivalence towards therapy itself, with finesse and empathy.

Mixed Agenda Couples

One common scenario is the initial contact with the couple, where one partner may express hesitancy about committing to therapy while the other is eager to make it work. With a clear protocol, therapists may feel confident about how to proceed, potentially leading to tense interactions and doubts about securing a therapy contract. However, with Sermon Counseling, therapists can confidently guide the couple through this process, offering alternative strategies and reassuring both partners that their concerns are valid and will be addressed.

Traditional Assumptions

Another challenge arises when couples enter therapy under the assumption of traditional couples counseling, only to discover differing levels of commitment within the first session. This revelation can derail the therapeutic process if not handled delicately. Sermon Counseling provides therapists with the tools to acknowledge and validate each partner's perspective while redirecting the focus toward a more tailored approach that addresses their specific needs and concerns.

Sermon Counseling

Furthermore, during therapy sessions, one partner's unexpected declarations of doubt or reluctance can disrupt the progress made thus far. Through Sermon Counseling, therapists can navigate these moments with grace and understanding, reframing them as opportunities for deeper exploration and growth rather than setbacks.

By embracing a structured approach like Sermon Counseling, therapists can transform potentially awkward moments into catalysts for meaningful change and connection within mixed-agenda couples. Instead of feeling overwhelmed or frustrated, therapists can approach these situations with gratitude for the opportunity to guide their clients toward a more fulfilling and authentic relationship journey. At the Dougherty Relationship Institute, every couple deserves the chance to navigate their differences with grace and resilience. Sermon Counseling offers a pathway to achieve just that.