Discernment Counseling

Discernment Counseling

Discernment Counseling

Discernment Counseling is a process that helps clarify a direction for your relationship. When one person is leaning out, thinking the marriage is over and heading for divorce, and the other person is leaning in, still invested and trying to save the marriage, it’s likely that as a couple you’re experiencing a standstill and feeling stuck. Discernment Counseling is a short-term process that helps couples decide on a path for moving forward, be it together or apart.

In Discernment Counseling, which can take anywhere from one to five sessions, time is spent meeting with both partners together and time with each individual separately. This is not couples’ counseling. This is not collaborative divorce work. It is something in the middle.

At this stage of a relationship, emotions may be very high and the thought of sitting in a room together to ‘work on your relationship’ can feel like the last thing you want to do. Discernment Counseling provides a very safe, structured, hand-holding environment with three possible outcomes. Path one is to keep doing what you’re doing, staying in that indecisive place, not moving towards divorce, not working on the relationship. That’s always an option. Path two is moving towards divorce, and Path three is a six-month effort to repair your relationship, taking divorce off the table for those six months.

Regardless of which path you choose, at the end of the Discernment Counseling process you will feel better about the decision you have made. You will have taken a look at your own contribution to where you are as a couple and you will each identify what you would need to do in order to move forward.

Take our Discernment Counseling Quiz

If your marriage seems to be on the brink of divorce, take our quiz to see if discernment counseling is right for you.

Please watch the video before answering below.


Tracy Ross, LCSW is an NYC-based counselor with a nationwide practice, who has helped couples and families for over 25 years to redesign their relationships and move them from volatility to versatility: from a state of breakdown to a new relationship in which all can thrive.