Many of us are aware of the negative effects of divorce, yet staying in an unhealthy marriage is not so great either. Divorces can be lengthy, emotional, exhausting, and costly for all involved, including children. Staying married also comes with an emotional cost.
Choosing which one is better can be an agonizing decision. Should you stay or should you go? Counseling can help you decide, but not just any type of counseling. It’s called discernment counseling and it’s a short-term therapy that can help you and your spouse understand your relationship and allow you to spend time restoring it.
Discernment counseling is a form of short-term therapy created by two professors from the University of Minnesota family social science. This new type of therapy has been taught to therapists all over the world.
Discernment counseling is aimed toward couples who are at a crossroads in their relationship. They aren’t sure what to do. They want to have confidence in their decision. Discernment counseling isn’t about restoring their bond with their partner, although that could certainly happen. Instead, it’s about clearly seeing all the options available and helping a person be sure of the choice they make.
Discernment counseling is different from other forms of therapy in that with traditional therapy, the partners usually do not have the same goals. Usually, one person is making the effort in the marriage, while the other doesn’t really care. This makes it hard for therapists to save the marriage because it’s so lopsided. Their goals are not in alignment, so there’s not much therapists can do.
Discernment counseling, on the other hand, is short-term therapy that lasts just 1-5 sessions. It’s designed to get couples on the same page in a short amount of time. The therapist outlines three paths: divorce, the status quo (staying in the marriage as it is), and reconciliation. For those looking to reconcile, the couples are asked to not think about divorce for six months as they work on a few things about themselves. The therapist can identify some patterns of each partner’s interactions in the relationship so it’s better focused on how each person is contributing to the marriage, rather than simply blaming one person.
Each person needs to plan for personal change. After all, the health of a marriage is not totally dependent on one partner; it’s how both parties show up in the relationship,
Does discernment counseling work? The statistics speak for themselves. More than half of couples opt for reconciliation. About 30% choose divorce, while close to 20% stay married and keep the status quo.
Filing for divorce is a huge deal. Find out if it’s really right for you by spending time in counseling.
A Columbia family lawyer from The Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. can help you understand your options. Counseling can help you understand whether or not divorce is right for you. Schedule a consultation by filling out the online form or calling (410) 774-5987.
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