If one partner is leaning toward divorce/separation and the other is wanting to work on the relationship, traditional couples counseling may not work. Couples in this scenario are generally working toward to different ends, which can cause the couples therapy to be directionless and frustrating for all parties involved.
Discernment Counseling is a new format of therapy that takes these two opposing goals in mind and works toward a unified goal. The goal of discernment counseling is to help couples have greater clarity and confidence in their decision making. The immediate decision is framed not as whether to stay together or divorce but whether to continue moving towards divorce or committing to a six month effort to restore the marriage, with divorce off the table for that time period.
As a discernment counselor Dr. Whitehead will work with each partner separately, focusing on the decision making process with the spouse who is leaning toward divorce/separation and on support and validation with the other spouse. In both cases, the spouse learns to understand his or her own role in the marital problems along with potential solutions for those problems, rather than focusing on changing the other.
Dr. Whitehead received advanced training in Discernment Counseling and can train other therapists as a result. For more information on Discernment Counseling checkout the Minnesota Couples on the Brink Project and the Doherty Relationship Institute.