Discernment Counseling for Couples

Guided Relationship Assessment

Discernment Counseling is a short-term process for couples where one or both partners are considering a separation or divorce, or are ambivalent about the future of their relationship. It is different from Couples Counseling in that this process is only 3-6 sessions, and will assist couples to decide whether or not it will be possible to stay together and live well.

FamilyMeans' goals in Discernment Counseling include:

  1. Provide a neutral setting for honest and respectful communication.
  2. Guide the couple in recognizing and owning their contributions to the state of their relationship over time
  3. Help both partners achieve a better sense of acceptance and understanding of the direction or steps the couple will take as they move forward from this self-evaluation.
  4. The focus is not on behavior change but rather to clarify what exists. This may lead to change or build a framework for the future, but that is not the goal of this self-evaluation.
  5. The self-evaluation is designed to be short-term (four to six sessions).
  6. The process is customized to the needs of the couple’s relationship.

The process employed by FamilyMeans in Discernment Counseling includes:

  1. Meetings which are generally with both partners, although at least one individual meeting will take place with each partner.
  2. A review of the relationship story from both partners’ perspectives (meeting, courtship, decisions, and significant events).
  3. Reviewing the strengths, challenges, and both partners’ contributions to the relationship.
  4. Recognizing the efforts that have/have not been made to address concerns.
  5. The couple determines what the next step will be:  1) proceed with couples therapy, 2) end the relationship, 3) take other agreed upon steps (e.g., individual therapy, chemical dependency evaluation, anger management counseling), or 4) do none of these

For additional information or to make an appointment, contact the Mental Health Intake staff at 651-439-4840.

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Mental Health
Counseling Brochure


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