What is Discernment Counseling? How Is it Used for Divorce?

What is Discernment Counseling? How Is it Used for Divorce?

Discernment Counseling was founded by Bill Doherty, a therapist who has expertise in relationship counseling. The actual word “discernment” is defined as have the ability to judge a situation in a well and educated manner. Discernment counseling  is aimed at helping  couples  look at their relationship on a deeper level, through the guidance of a seasoned, clinically licensed counselor. The goals of counseling are: a comprehensive examination of your relationship and challenges you are having, clarity regarding what path to take in your relationship, and confidence, as well as support as you move forward.

What exactly happens in discernment counseling?  Here is a brief overview of what may happen in your first sessions during this process. The therapist meets with the couple together, utilizing specific tools to help determine dynamics of the relationship. Each partner then meets with the counselor alone. The therapist then assists each partner in examining their perspective on the challenges they are having in the relationship, how they may each contribute to the difficulties, and then what path they feel is appropriate for the relationship at the current time.

Lastly, the therapist meets with the couple, discusses the information given and then clarifies with each partner on the path they would like to take. As per the discernment counseling model, there are three paths. The first path is keeping the marriage as it has been. The second path is separation or divorce. The third path is a 6 month commitment to couples therapy, where divorce is not pursued.

Obviously, the above techniques used in discernment counseling may  bring up many dynamics that need to be explored on a deeper level. Most commonly, a specific  dynamic may be that one partner wants to work on the relationship and the other partner does not see a future.  Another dynamic may be one partner is not sure of what path to pursue.

Discernment counseling is an excellent approach to utilize before seeking legal assistance. Why? Discernment counseling gives you a chance to take a different look at your relationship, utilizing a clinically licensed counselor to guide you in making better choices.

This blog was written by a guest blogger & colleague of Roseann Vanella,Professional Mediator, Collen Brigid Fitzpatrick, MSW, LCSW of Instrumental Change, LLC.

Parent Alienation During Divorce: The Importance of Pre-Planned Parenting Schedules

Parent Alienation During Divorce: The Importance of Pre-Planned Parenting Schedules

The recent news about children being separated from their parents at the southern border got me thinking about how this often occurs in divorce situations as well. As a divorce mediator, I’ve seen many cases in which parents begin living separately well in advance of the divorce proceedings. This can be problematic for the children, especially when the parents fail to work out a visitation schedule ahead of time. (more…)

How the New Tax Law Affects Alimony

How the New Tax Law Affects Alimony

At the end of 2017, Congress passed the most sweeping tax reform law in decades. The new law includes hundreds of changes to the tax code both for businesses and individuals. One little-known provision in the bill changes how alimony is treated for tax purposes, and it has the potential to significantly impact the finances of divorcing spouses. (more…)

When is the Right Time to See a Divorce Mediator?

When is the Right Time to See a Divorce Mediator?

As a divorce mediator, one of the most frequently asked questions I get is “when is the best time to come and see you?” There is no right answer to this question, because each circumstance is unique. Mediation can benefit couples at any stage of a separation or divorce, and it is never too early or too late to take advantage of this option. (more…)