Discernment Counseling: Innovative Marriage Counseling Focuses on Couples Both Individually and Together

The idea of marriage counseling is often met with mixed feelings from people who have experienced it and people who are considering it as an option. With typical marriage counseling, the couple attends sessions together with a counselor in order to work through marital problems and other issues affecting the marriage.

There is an alternative to this type of counseling referred to as discernment counseling. This type of guidance helps couples decide if they want to hold on to their relationship and improve it or let it go. An article from Today Health discusses the differences between how the process works and the expectations couples have.

Instead of meeting together with a counselor throughout the entire session, the counselor first meets with each spouse individually and then together at the end to summarize the takeaways for each person. The initial discernment counseling session includes discussion about the good and bad parts about the marriage and what has been done thus far to help resolve problems.

Unlike traditional counseling, which is usually one of the last efforts when divorce is a real possibility, discernment counseling offers three choices: stay in the marriage, move towards divorce, or try a six-month reconciliation through traditional couples therapy. It also allows for each person to be an active participant in discussion and prevents further damage to a marriage if one person is already fixed on the idea of divorce.

Research from the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy shows that 93 percent of clients said they were helped with dealing more effectively with problems and 97 percent reported receiving the help they desired from seeing a therapist. Counseling of any kind does not guarantee specific outcomes, but can be looked to as generally beneficial overall.

There are endless circumstances that lead to divorce, some of which may not require counseling as an option. If you are considering a divorce and live in Illinois, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. Our law firm is here to provide support through the legal process and answer any questions. We can provide the help you need to understand the law and your rights.