Discernment Counseling

Love At The Crossroads
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There comes a time when you have to choose between turning the page and closing the book. 
                    ― Josh Jameson

About Discernment Counseling

If you or your partner is unsure if you want to stay together AND doubtful that couples therapy can help, discernment counseling is for you. Discernment counseling is a brief course of therapy designed to help you get clarity on whether you want to invest in rebuilding your relationship. By accepting and working with ambivalence, rather than ignoring it or trying to overcome it, we sidestep half-hearted couples therapy.

Discernment counseling begins with an initial commitment of just one 2-hour session. Following this session, each partner decides separately if they would like to continue meeting, up to five sessions. The goal in these initial sessions is clarity and confidence based on a deeper understanding of the relationship problems and each partner’s individual contributions.

The outcomes of Discernment Counseling are framed in terms of three paths: 1) stay together as is, 2) move forward with separation/divorce, or 3) commit to 6 months of couples therapy to see if the relationship can be put in a good place. During the period of full-on couples therapy, we take talks of separating off the table and develop a plan for both personal and relationship development.

Benefits of Discernment Counseling

Recognizing and working with mixed agendas

Nurture and support for leaning-in partner without pressuring or judging leaning-out partner

Promotes productive conversation about relationship's problems

Provides honest assessment of strengths and weaknesses as well as a clear picture of potential repair

Acknowledge and accept the reality of how each partner is experiencing the relationship currently

Provides support for couples who are not a good fit for traditional relationship therapy, including couples experiencing an active affair, couples who are "out of love," and "on-again/off-again" couples

Discernment Counseling is designed to protect both partners from half-hearted therapy, premature or unnecessary separation, and separation that leaves one partner feeling blindsided. In Discernment Counseling, we do not consider separation or divorce to be a “failure.” We consider separating or divorce without learning to be an unwanted outcome.  If your relationship is in crisis and tradition couples therapy is not a good fit, consider Discernment Counseling. 

My Approach

The foundation of my work with any couple is an understanding of the challenge facing modern lovers. On the whole, we are wanting more from our relationships than any other time in human history. We still want the stability and comfort afforded by traditional marriages, but we now also crave emotional intimacy, intellectual stimulation, passionate sex, and spiritual connection…on into our golden years! Unfortunately, most of us are still operating under the rules that worked (or didn’t) for our parents and grandparents. We need a brand new set of skills to match our lofty vision. 

In light of this, I see myself as an emissary for a radically new kind of relationship, the intimate relationship. I believe intimacy is our birthright as humans, and that we do best when living in authentic connection. I also believe that being torn from this natural state is the single greatest environmental contribution to psychiatric and behavioral disorders.  For me, therapy is about returning to this natural state, and clearing up anything that gets in the way of true closeness.

The relationship you want is not out of reach, but neither is it for the faint of heart. If you work with me, I’ll be asking a lot of you, but it’s not just because that’s what I think you need. It is, without a doubt, what I think you deserve.

I am trained in a variety of modalities that I integrate to create the best treatment plan for your relationship. These include Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), Relational Life Therapy (RLT), Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy (PACT), and Gottman Couples Counseling. I also draw on somatic psychology, spiritual psychology, attachment research, polyvagal theory, trauma theory, multiculturalism, depth psychology, feminist psychology, and gender studies.

Recommended Resources

Books

If you would like to set up a free initial face-to-face consultation to see if we might be a good fit for counseling work together, please submit the form below. It may take up to 2 business days for a response. Thank you! -Hayden

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