Discernment Counseling

Is the relationship worth working to keep? Is it better if you each go your separate ways? Let’s find out together.

Should I stay or should I go?

When you are in the thick of challenges in your relationship, it can feel almost impossible to know what to do next. Sometimes, it comes down to a deceptively simple question: “should I stay or should I go?”

Is the relationship worth working to keep? Is it better if you each go your separate ways? If only you had a crystal ball and could see into the future. Then you would know which path was the right one to take. Unfortunately, we can only make the best choice possible with the information that we have. Discernment counseling helps you make that decision.

What is Discernment Counseling?

There are many different types of relationship counseling. Sometimes, you come to a therapist because you’re in conflict and want to resolve it. Other times, you’re facing a transition in your lives and want to learn how to communicate through it. In those instances, even though your relationship is in conflict, you may come to the table certain that you want to work it out.

Discernment counseling is a little bit different. You’re still in the relationship. At least part of you wants to make it work. But you have no idea whether or not that’s the right thing. Discernment counseling helps you make an informed decision.

In other words, rather than coming to counseling to fix a specific problem in the relationship, you come to counseling to decide if you even want to try to fix that problem.

What To Do When You Don’t Know What You Want

Many people try couples’ counseling and quickly say, “that didn’t work for me.” However, oftentimes the problem is that you didn’t know what you wanted before you went to therapy. If one partner wants to make things work but the other doesn’t, then going to therapy to work things out doesn’t make any sense. Traditional couples’ therapy methods aren’t very helpful if one or both of you is already out the door.

Discernment counseling offers you an option. Instead of having to decide immediately, “yes, we’ll work on this,” you get the chance to decide what your initial goal is. If your initial goal is to work on the relationship, you’ll take one path. If you come to realize that you want to end the relationship, then you’ll take a different path. Discernment counseling helps light the way so that you can gain a clearer picture of which path is right for you.

What Happens in Discernment Counseling?

Discernment counseling is a guided process. You’ll work with a therapist to gain clarity about your thoughts and feelings. In the throes of relationship challenges, even the smartest people can get really confused. Therapy helps you parse out all of the different hopes, fears, dreams, thoughts, behaviors, challenges, issues, and concerns.

Through the process of discernment counseling, you’ll begin to get in touch again with your true inner self. The noise in your head will calm down. You’ll feel more centered and sure of what you want. Once you know what you want, you’ll practice skills to help effectively communicate that desire to your partner.

“When you pick a partner, you pick a story, and that story becomes the life you live.”
– Esther Perel

There’s No Right or Wrong Decision, Just The One That’s Right For You

If you decide that you want to stay in your relationship and make it work, that’s wonderful. Clarifying your thoughts and feelings and learning new ways to articulate them can provide a wonderful foundation for moving forward to repair the relationship.

On the other hand, you might come to the conclusion that you want to end the relationship. That doesn’t mean that counseling was a “failure.” It means that you did everything that you could possible do to make a decision that’s right for you. Discernment counseling can help you work through the challenging feelings that this decision evokes, approach your partner with love and kindness, and move forward into the next stage of your life with confidence.

There is no agenda in discernment counseling. Therapy helps you find the answer that is right for you. It helps you understand clearly why you have come to that conclusion and what you want moving forward. It is a gift that you give yourself, regardless of which path you end up taking in the relationship.

Ultimately, in many ways, it offers a path back to yourself. If that’s something you’re seeking, contact me today to learn more about how I can help.