Discernment Counseling

Is your relationship feeling like it is about to end? One or both of you considering divorce or separation? You are likely feeling a great deal of pain, frustration, and sensing a bleak future. Have you thought about divorce or separation but realize the true financial cost of such?

Want to make sure you have tried everything before you call it quits?

If one or both of you are considering ending this relationship, before you give up on the time, energy, and emotion that you have invested in each other, consider Discernment Counseling.



Discernment counseling is for those couples where one partner (or both) is unsure if they are committed to truly work on their relationship. Unlike couple's counseling, Discernment Counseling does not expect improvement in your relationship. Rather, before signing up for expensive treatment options, Discernment Counseling is designed to help each partner determine if you want to work on your marriage.

The Goal

The goal of Discernment Counseling is to gain a sense of clarity and confidence in: how your relationship got to this point; what needs to happen to repair your relationship; in which path to take.

Leaning-In vs. Leaning-Out

There are typically two types of partners. Leaning-In Parnters are typically those ready to commit to counseling and may be the driving force for the couple to repair their partnership. Leaning-Out Partners are the partner that says things like "It's too late," or may have already taken action to separate or divorce. Learn more here

First Step

We begin with an in-depth scientific assessment process designed to most accurately pinpoint your deepest relationship wounds and provide an immense amount of clarity in the potential steps needed to repair your relationship. This assessment process includes three 90-min sessions and extensive online questionnaires to complete (approx. 500 questions each!). Additional assessments are available.

Short Term

After the assessment process, we begin Discernment session. Again, this is not 'relationship therapy' where we are improving your relationship. We first strive to foster understanding. Discernment Counseling is designed to be short term (1-5 sessions). At the completion of each session you will be asked if you desire another discernment session. Discernment sessions are completed at the end of the five sessions (or before) when you have determined a path to take...

Three Paths

Path 1: Decide to keep the status quo - stay the same and/or decide later,

Path 2: Make an informed, ideally mutual decision to change your relationship status - a therapeutically supported separation or a constructive divorce, or

Path 3: Choose to reconcile by committing to work on your relationship through counseling and other means. This is a rather short commitment of 6 months, after which we will reassess your Path Choice.

(If you are both confident in either Path 2 or Path 3, we can skip Discernment and jump right into one of those Paths. Sometimes its better to work through one Discernment session first.)

If you are unsure if Discernment is the right starting point, or maybe you are both considering Path 2 or Path 3, we may be able to start with the assessment process first and then determine if there is a clear Path to take, or if Discernment Counseling is most appropriate. 

What's Next?

Path 1: We discontinue Discernment Counseling. You return to your daily lives and reach out when you would like to take further action (reentering discernment counseling, or jumping to Path 2 or 3).

Path 2: You begin Separation Counseling that aims to support you in the process of separating. These sessions aim to ease the transition by focusing on clear expectations, co-parenting, respect in parting, etc. We have numerous clients that have decided to divorce but continue to run a daily business together. These things are possible when you remain mutually respectful and collaborative. If you are married, Path 2 can also include divorce support and tailored referrals to divorce and mediation specialists to help make this process less terrible.

Path 3: You commit to work on your relationship by signing up for one of our Couple's Counseling Packages specifically designed to make the most of this 6-month commitment (begin with a workshop or jump right into a Private Retreat or other counseling option). In some instances, we can combine over 18-24+ months of therapy into this 6 months. At the end of 6 months, we reexamine what is best for your relationship.

We will discuss more specifics on Path 2 & 3 options as we explore your relationship more. All our suggestions are tailored specifically to your needs. If you'd like more info, email me for more insights into these options.


Scientific Assessment Process bundled at $2,000 - $2,500 - (Includes three 90-min sessions, extensive questionnaires, and approximately 4 hours of therapist review and prep).

The first session is 120-min at $500

Sessions 2-5 (if needed) are 90-min each at $375

*We can also schedule a Discernment Retreat or Mini-Marathon - where we condense the up-to 8 week process into just a few days. Email SCS to see if this option is appropriate for you.

Consider this...

Consider the cost of ending your relationship. Not only is there a huge financial cost, but in many circumstances there is also an extreme emotional cost as well: everything invested over the years of this relationship, the history you built, the kids, friends, family, careers.

The thing that pains me the most is when a divorcee comes to me at some point expressing regret at 'not trying everything [they] could.' Discernment Counseling helps gain that clarity before you have a chance to experience regret.

For an investment of less than $4,000 and up to 8 weeks, you can gain the clarity and confidence, individually and collectively, to hopefully come to a mutual decision on how to proceed in your relationship. Dissolving your relationship can sometimes be a much greater cost.


Contact SCS directly for further information or to schedule your Discernment Counseling experience.

Doherty Relationship Institute Discernment Counseling


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