One of the most difficult parts of divorce for many couples is broaching the subject in the first place. Sometimes it is a mutual decision, but often one spouse will decide it is time before the other realizes it. Revealing these feelings can often shock the other spouse, and it can make a divorce more emotionally charged. Now, there is a new type of marriage counseling that may make bringing up divorce easier, and it may help couples avoid it altogether. This new type of counseling is known as discernment counseling.
Understanding Discernment Counseling
The idea behind discernment counseling is that it helps couples “discern” whether divorce is really the right choice for them. Some research suggests that at least some fraction of divorces occur despite the fact that both couples would be open to patching up the marriage. The problem is that once the possibility of divorce enters the equation, it can be difficult for many couples to walk back from that.
Discernment counseling attempts to help fix that problem. The couple goes into discernment counseling understanding that divorce may be one of the possible outcomes, but that it will not necessarily happen. Instead, couples go through the counseling for a limited number of sessions at which point they will reach one of three outcomes: their conflicts will be resolved, they will realize that they want further counseling in a more traditional manner, or they will realize that divorce is likely the best option for their happiness.
How It Differs from Ordinary Counseling
There are two main differences between ordinary marriage counseling and discernment counseling: the goal and the techniques. The goal of ordinary marriage counseling is to try to heal the couple's marriage. This can be difficult because many couples go into counseling already thinking that they want a divorce. This can make traditional counseling less effective, and it may end up becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. Discernment counseling tries to provide a place where those sorts of couples can go and still receive effective treatment. Discernment counseling can help heal a marriage, but the frank exposure to the possibility of divorce can also be helpful.
The types of counseling also differ in their methods. Ordinary marriage counseling usually involves both members of the couple in the room, working out their differences with the help of a neutral, third-party counselor. Although, many marriage counselors do also use solo sessions to some extent. Discernment counseling does involve some group work so that both members of the couple stay on the same page, but it involves more solo sessions than ordinary counseling to help the members of the couple open up more.
Making the decision to get a divorce is never easy. However, if you have realized that you do need to get a divorce, contact an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney
today to learn more about the process.