Panic attacks, Stress management

How You Could Save Your Marriage With Discernment Counseling

Therapist newport beach

Marriage counseling is something that many unhappy couples have already gone through, or are considering for the near future. But there’s one thing that keeps many couples from even seeking out couples therapy and giving it a shot: the notion that it might not work at all, and that their time, money, and energy will have been spent in vain.

This uncertainty about the success of marriage counseling has plagued more than a few couples, so if you’ve wondered those questions too, you definitely aren’t alone. But there’s a fairly new type of therapy for couples that may be able to address this concern: it’s called discernment counseling.

It’s best to think about discernment counseling as a sort of pre-therapy exercise to marriage counseling; it’s the process where couples decide if they’re really committed to each other and want to stay in a relationship. No amount of conflict resolution exercises, stress management strategies, and shared feelings can keep a marriage together if one (or both) partners just want out. And as one psychotherapist noted in a Wall Street Journal article titled “When It’s Just Another Fights, and When It’s Over,” it’s estimated that in about 30% of couples today, either one or both partners would prefer to leave the relationship rather than work on it.

This is where discernment counseling comes into play. In a 2011 relationship study mentioned by the WSJ, it was estimated that about 30% of couples would be willing to consider a court-offered “reconciliation service” instead of defaulting to divorce, and in a real doctor’s practice, 40% of couples opted for a six-month “reconciliation” time before deciding on anything permanent.

That’s precisely the main benefit of discernment counseling — with the help of a therapist, a couple experiencing relationship problems is given the opportunity to make temporary, individual changes in their own lives before making a decision that will be permanent. It gives couples the chance to answer that What If…? question that would otherwise keep them awake at night. And for couples who love each other too much to risk letting a good relationship fall apart — or vice versa — discernment counseling could be the best first step. Read more like this.

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