About 25% of all couples seeking couples therapy are on the brink of ending their marriage. Traditional couples counseling, in which the focus is on repairing and rebuilding the marriage, is not an effective treatment approach to help couples whom are discerning their marriage.

What is Discernment Counseling?
Discernment Counseling is an effective treatment approach used when one or both partners in the couple relationship are contemplating ending their marriage but are not completely confident it is the right decision.

Discernment Counseling Can Help When:

  • You want to take one last look at the marriage before making a decision to divorce
  • You’ve lost emotional or physical connection to your partner that you want to try to regain 
  • One partner is “leaning out” (considering divorce) and the other partner is “leaning in” (wants to work on the marriage/relationship)
  • Both partners are unsure if they want to stay together
  • You want further clarity and confidence about what steps to take next in your marriage
  • Couples want to understand if their marriage/relationship can be saved (repairable)
  • You want help making an informed decision about whether or not to move toward divorce and if so, to begin talking about what the divorce path looks like
  • An affair has been uncovered and the couple or one partner is unsure if they want to try to repair their marriage versus dissolve their relationship

Frequently Asked Questions

What does discernment therapy involve?
Discernment counseling usually consists of weekly sessions and are conducted individually and together as a couple. Sometimes couples opt to come in for a 2-3 hour session due to time constraints or to move things along. Once couples enter discernment counseling the frequency of sessions is individualized depending upon each couple’s needs. Discernment counseling helps couples explore whether to try to restore their marriage to health, move towards divorce, or take a time out and put the decision on hold. Unlike marriage counseling, the focus is not on solving the problems, but to see if they could potentially be solved. 

Do we come to counseling together?
Usually couples come to the first session together, but not always. Some couples prefer to start alone. Most sessions are done individually. Many times couples have differences about how they see the relationship and hopes for repair. Usually there is one partner who is leaning towards divorce and one partner that wants to hold on and try to make things work. Individual therapy allows for each couple to get support and explore their options. Discernment counseling is also appropriate for individuals who want to give their marriage another chance, even though their partner is not interested in participating. 

If I try discernment counseling does that mean I have to work on my marriage?
No. Discernment Counseling allows couples to take one more look at what happened in the relationship, and understand what the repair process would entail, before making a permanent decision. It is not meant to pressure you in any way to work on your marriage. Your therapist remains neutral and does not assume you want to work on your marriage.
What if we decide to work on the marriage and can’t repair it?
That does happen. Making a decision to work on the marriage is not an assurance that the marriage will survive. You do not have to sign up for a lifetime. We will come up with a repair plan and begin to work on your relationship in therapy. You will receive the support and skills to give your marriage tools to become strong and viable. 

Do your therapists have specialized training in Discernment Counseling? 
Yes. Discernment Counseling is a unique and specialized treatment approach. Our therapists have gone through the training offered by Dr William Doherty of the University of Minnesota, "Couples on the Brink Project", a researched therapy approach for couples ambivalent about their commitment to their marriage. We can help you navigate this very crucial time in your relationship.​

Our Services

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763-400-7475 X1


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Maple Grove Office 

Arbor Lakes

7835 Main Street N. #220

 Maple Grove, MN  55369 

 (o) 763.400.7475
(f) 763.400.7473

Discernment Counseling

Edina Office

Londonderry Office Park

5780 Lincoln Drive #250

Edina, MN 55436

(o) 763.400.7475

(f) 763.400.7473