If you are wondering if divorce is right for you, but you are not sure it’s the right path for you and your spouse, consider Discernment Counseling.
Maybe you have been fighting a lot, or maybe there is tremendous distance between the two of you, or both. Perhaps one or both of you have had extra-marital affairs or relationships or emotional affairs. Maybe you don’t feel in love anymore and question whether you really were in love. Some couples tried couples therapy and did not find it helpful. These are some reasons to divorce.
On the other hand, remember when you fell in love? Remember when you had a great relationship and enough hopes for the future to marry? These can be reasons not to divorce, along with concerns about children’s welfare and resilience and relationships with your spouse’s family and other ways you are entwined that are valuable to you.
As the founder of Discernment Counseling Bill Doherty says, “divorce is never an emergency.” It is worth deep thought and consideration. You made a commitment to each other and the possibility of breaking those vows is a serious and vital issue.
Discernment Counseling is a one to five session process of gaining clarity and confidence in your decision along with gaining understanding of how you and your spouse got to the point that divorce is an option.
A specially trained mental health professional helps you decide between three paths. Path one is to keep things the same as they have been, path two is to divorce and path three is to put divorce off the table for six months and engage in working very hard on your relationship with the help of couples therapy and perhaps other supports.
The process is one to five sessions because when you agree to a first session you decide in that session whether you would like another, and if you decide on a next session, you will again determine whether you would like another, up to five sessions.
In the sessions themselves, the therapist meets with you as a couple briefly, but most of the work is done with each of you meeting individually with the therapist. The first session is two hours and the remaining sessions, should there be any, are one and a half hours. Discernment Counseling is not couples therapy, and you should not expect change in your relationship during this time. It is a process to help you decide on one of the three paths stated above.
Discernment Counseling is a good preparation for any of the three paths. It can help you understand and be clear about why you want to continue the way you are as a couple and family, or to be certain that divorce is the right path for you, and also good preparation for couples therapy should you decide on that path.
If you have an interest in Discernment Counseling, Bill Doherty has several YouTube videos, and you can also go to his website www.discernmentcounselors.com, and you can learn more about discernment counseling also from my website www.ninaraff.com.
If you have doubts about divorce but are seriously contemplating it, I urge you to find out more about Discernment Counseling and see if that might be a way to clarify the direction you take for yourself and your family.
Nina Raff, LCSW is a Collaborative Coach practicing in the San Francisco Bay Area. More information in her bio on the “Find A Professional” page.