The Minnesota Couples on the Brink Project led by Bill Doherty has just released an online training course on Discernment Counseling. Discernment Counseling is a new way to work with mixed-agenda couples (one leaning out of the marriage, the other leaning in). It teaches marriage therapists and counselors a step-by-step protocol for offering couples a multi-session consultation to help the leaning-out partner make a decision that has integrity for self and others, while helping the leaning-in partner to bring his or her best self to the crisis and maximize the chance that the marriage will survive and improve.
Discernment counseling is short term, and the focus is not on solving marital problems but on seeing if they could potentially be solved.
Unlike traditional marriage counseling that assumes that both people are willing to work on the marriage, discernment counseling helps people decide whether to work on their marriage or keep moving towards divorce.
Unlike individual counseling that usually takes one person's side, the discernment counselor works to understand both partners, even if they see things very differently. More