Navigating Change and Self-Awareness in Discernment Counseling

In the realm of relationship therapy, particularly when couples are teetering on the brink of divorce, the dynamics can be intense and fraught with emotion. Traditional couples therapy often finds one partner "leaning out," while the other "leans in," creating a high-pressure environment where immediate change is demanded. However, in such scenarios, a shift in approach is necessary to facilitate genuine understanding and potentially salvage the relationship. This is where Discernment Counseling comes into play.

The Pressure of Change

In conventional couples therapy, there's often a palpable sense of urgency for immediate change. The partner leaning out is typically at their wits' end, pushing for their spouse to transform instantly, while the other feels the weight of expectation and the looming threat of separation. Therapists, too, can feel the pressure to produce results quickly under such circumstances, sometimes moving too hastily to appease the distressed partner.

The Essence of Discernment Counseling

Discernment Counseling offers a departure from the typical therapeutic approach. It's a brief, focused intervention lasting one to five sessions, primarily aimed at fostering clarity and understanding rather than immediate change. Unlike traditional couples therapy, which emphasizes altering behaviors and resolving conflicts, Discernment Counseling prioritizes introspection and insight.

Creating Space for Clarity

Discernment Counseling allows individuals to step back and gain a deeper understanding of themselves and their relationship dynamics by temporarily removing the expectation of immediate change. This shift in focus from external modifications to internal reflection creates a space for self-awareness to flourish.

The Paradox of Change

Interestingly, Discernment Counseling paradoxically opens the door to transformation by taking change off the table. Without the pressure to alter behaviors right away, individuals can delve into their own patterns, contributions to issues, and relational dynamics more effectively.

Embracing Awareness Over Action

In relationships where uncertainty looms large, attempting to tackle both behavior change and self-awareness simultaneously can be overwhelming. Discernment Counseling recognizes this challenge and provides a structured environment for individuals to explore their relationship and personal insights without the added burden of immediate transformation.


In the delicate dance of couples therapy, Discernment Counseling offers a nuanced approach that prioritizes understanding over action. Creating a space for self-awareness and insight lays the groundwork for meaningful change, potentially steering relationships away from the brink of divorce.