An estimated 30 percent of couples coming to therapy are “mixed-agenda” couples where one is leaning out of the relationship and reluctant to work on it, and the other wants to save the relationship. Many models of couples therapy don’t address “mixed-agenda” couples leading to frustration and early treatment termination*
Discernment counseling can be an effective model to assist the couple in gaining insight and discovering their hopes for the future of their relationship. They can also enhance understanding of relational patterns that are impacting their relationship. This model is not considered ‘couples therapy’ — rather sessions focus on each individual’s exploration of what is negatively impacting the relationship and gaining insight on how they want to proceed. A successful outcome could be staying together as-is, more work in couples therapy, or ending the relationship. The discernment counseling model offers a combination of individual and joint sessions.
*Information provided by William J. Doherty, PhD and the Minnesota Couples on the Brink Project, University of Minnesota, The Doherty Relationship Institute, www.discernmentcounseling.com