Discernment Counseling: & Navigating Relationship Choices


Resolving the Stay-or-Go Dilemma in Relationships

Are you or your partner unsure about the future of your relationship? I often use Discernment Counseling to help couples gain clarity and direction.

What is Discernment Counseling?

Discernment Counseling is a specialized form of therapy designed for couples at a pivotal crossroads in their relationship. Unlike traditional couples therapy that focuses on improving relationship dynamics and communication, Discernment Counseling aims to help couples understand and thoughtfully decide whether they want to commit to resolving their issues or part ways. This form of counseling is particularly beneficial for couples where one partner is leaning towards leaving the relationship while the other is more hopeful about repairing it.

How Does it Work?

Joint and Individual Sessions

In Discernment Counseling, the process involves both joint sessions as well as one-to-one conversations. The aim is twofold: to foster mutual understanding and care during this decision-making process, and to honor the individual experiences and feelings of each partner. The goal is not to solve your relational problems; it is to discern whether they might be solvable in couples therapy. Joint sessions focus on building a shared perspective, while one-to-one conversations allow for private reflection and personal clarity. This balanced approach helps ensure that both the collective dynamics of the couple and the unique perspectives of each individual are respectfully acknowledged and addressed.

Three Possible Paths

Through this process, couples discern three potential paths:

  1. Enter couples therapy to restore the relationship.
  2. Transition towards separation or divorce.
  3. Choose a structured time-out before deciding.

Each path is designed to align with the couple's unique circumstances and shared goals, providing a clear direction for their next steps.

Benefits of Discernment Counseling

Here are some key benefits of this counseling method:

  • Respect and Compassion: This approach emphasizes kindness, empathy, and collaboration, essential qualities as partners navigate through this challenging and emotional process. By fostering open, honest communication within a non-confrontational setting, it guides partners to express themselves thoughtfully and kindly, even when broaching difficult subjects. This method helps mitigate the adversarial tones that might typically arise during discussions about the future of a relationship.
  • Clarity and Complexity: Discernment Counseling helps address the ambivalence and complexity inherent in relationships. This process helps partners gain a clearer understanding of their own emotions, while simultaneously fostering a deeper insight into their partner’s perspective. Such understanding is especially important given the shared history and potential future of the relationship. By facilitating this dual comprehension, Discernment Counseling enables partners to make more informed and empathetic decisions, respecting both the individual journey and the collective narrative of their relationship.
  • Useful for Future Relationships: The insights gained through Discernment Counseling extend beyond the immediate decisions regarding the status of the relationship. By engaging in this reflective process, individuals may gain a deeper understanding of their own patterns and behaviors, which are often deeply ingrained and recurrent across relationships. By thoughtfully processing these issues, individuals become better equipped to embark on new relationships, whether it's a renewed commitment to each other or with new partners.

Schedule a Therapy Appointment

Ready to find out more? Reach out to schedule an appointment to help make a clearer decision.

"Working with Carolyn has changed my life. She is excellent at guiding and managing the therapeutic process by listening, giving insight, being honest, taking notes and providing concrete tools. In my case, she has given me a toolbox filled with techniques, behaviors and tasks to help me manage depression effectively. This has freed me to live a happier, healthier and more intentional life. Carolyn is fair, patient and kind. If and when you are ready to fully engage in the therapeutic process, and put in the personal work necessary, she will help you get to the place you truly want to be."

- former client

"Carolyn helped me navigate the hardest time in my life. She lends a sympathetic ear and offers keen insights, and does so with grace and humor. Her organic approach has given me concrete practices to meet life goals as well as encouraged me to dig deep into hard places. I looked forward to our sessions. She made our time together feel authentic and comfortable while delivering lasting therapeutic impact."

- former client

"Carolyn is such a caring and genuine and wonderful therapist. I can't express how much my work with Carolyn has helped me. I'm able to handle my anxiety and depression and issues with my family in much healthier ways. I feel really present to my life and my relationships with everybody in my family have improved so much. It's not that I'm happy all the time, or enjoy where I am all the time, but I'm ok with that now, and I am present so much more of the time, and so much more able to recognize when I feel sad, or angry, or happy... Read more"

- former client

(See other testimonials)

Contact us to schedule a time.


Help with Relationships, Anxiety, Depression, & Loss.