Are you feeling stuck in your relationship? Do you have doubts about whether you should stay or go? Do you wish you could have more clarity and confidence about your future? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might benefit from discernment counseling.
What Is Discernment Counseling?
Discernment counseling is a type of brief therapy that helps couples who are uncertain whether they want to continue their relationship. It can also be used in cases where one partner wants to end the relationship while the other hopes to preserve it. This type of therapy aims to help partners consider all options before they make the decision to work on or terminate a relationship.
Discernment counseling is different from traditional couples therapy, where the goal is to improve the relationship and resolve conflicts. Discernment counseling does not assume that there is a right or wrong decision, but rather helps each partner understand their own feelings, needs, and values, as well as their partner’s perspective. Discernment counseling also helps couples explore the consequences of each option, such as the impact on their children, finances, social network, and personal growth.
Discernment counseling typically lasts from one to five sessions, each lasting about two hours. The sessions are structured as follows:
- The therapist meets with the couple together for a brief introduction and explanation of the process.
- The therapist meets with each partner individually for about 45 minutes to discuss their views on the relationship, their reasons for staying or leaving, and their contributions to the problems.
- The therapist meets with the couple together again for a summary and feedback session, where they help the couple decide if they want another session or choose one of the following paths:
- Path One: Stay in the relationship as it is, without making any changes or seeking any help.
- Path Two: End the relationship through separation or divorce.
- Path Three: Commit to six months of intensive couples therapy, with divorce off the table during that time.
What Are the Benefits of Discernment Counseling?
Discernment counseling can offer many benefits for couples who are facing a difficult decision about their relationship. Some of the benefits include:
- Increased clarity and confidence: Discernment counseling can help you and your partner gain a deeper understanding of your relationship and your own feelings. It can also help you weigh the pros and cons of each option and make a more informed and confident decision.
- Improved communication and empathy: Discernment counseling can help you and your partner communicate more effectively and respectfully. It can also help you listen to and empathize with your partner’s point of view, even if you disagree with it.
- Reduced stress and guilt: Discernment counseling can help you and your partner cope with any stress or anxiety that may come with making a major life decision. It can also help you reduce any guilt or regret that may arise from choosing one option over another.
- Greater readiness for the next step: Discernment counseling can help you and your partner prepare for whatever path you choose, whether it is working on your relationship or ending it. It can also help you plan for any challenges or changes that may come with your decision.
How to Find Online Discernment Counseling
If you are interested in online discernment counseling, there are several options available for you. Online discernment counseling can offer convenience, flexibility, affordability, privacy, and effectiveness for couples who prefer to receive therapy from the comfort of their own home. However, not all online discernment counseling services are created equal. To find the best one for you and your partner, you should consider the following factors:
- Credentials: Make sure that the service provider has qualified and licensed therapists or coaches who specialize in discernment counseling. You can check their credentials on their website or on the website of their licensing board.
- Reviews: Read the reviews and testimonials from other clients who have used the service. You can get a sense of their quality, effectiveness, and satisfaction level.
- Compatibility: Try to find a service provider who is compatible with you and your partner. You can do this by having a free consultation or trial session with them before committing to a long-term plan. You can also ask them questions about their background, philosophy, goals, expectations, etc.
- Cost: Compare the prices and plans of different service providers. Some providers charge per session, while others charge per week or month. Some providers accept insurance or offer sliding scale fees, while others do not. Find a service provider that fits your budget and offers value for money.
Our Top Picks for Online Discernment Counseling Services
To help you narrow down your search, we have compiled a list of our top picks for online discernment counseling services based on our research and evaluation. Here they are:
- Best Overall: Couples Therapy Inc Couples Therapy Inc is an online platform that offers intensive discernment counseling with highly trained and experienced therapists who use the Gottman Method. It involves conducting a detailed assessment of you and your partner and then using a therapeutic framework to address areas of conflict. This form of therapy aims to improve the quality of friendship between you and your partner, increase intimacy, and equip you with problem-solving skills that can help you build a stronger relationship. Couples Therapy Inc costs range from $1,500 to $3,000 for a weekend intensive6.
- Best for Healthy Communication: Growing Self Growing Self is an online platform that offers online discernment counseling and coaching with highly qualified and experienced professionals. It focuses on helping couples achieve positive outcomes such as happiness, growth, and success. It also offers free consultations and podcasts on various topics related to relationships. Growing Self costs range from $65 to $160 per session depending on the education or credential level of your chosen provider7.
- Best for Personalized Care: Octave Online Therapy Octave Online Therapy is an online platform that offers online discernment counseling with licensed therapists who tailor their approach to your specific needs and goals. It helps couples address issues such as communication, intimacy, conflict, finances, family, etc. It also provides access to online courses and workshops on topics such as stress management, mindfulness, etc. Octave Online Therapy costs range from $150 to $250 per session depending on the therapist8.
- Best for Unlimited Messaging: Talkspace Talkspace is one of the most popular and trusted online therapy platforms in the market. It offers unlimited messaging and live video sessions with licensed therapists who specialize in discernment counseling. It also has a dedicated app that allows you to communicate with your therapist anytime and anywhere. Talkspace costs range from $99 to $396 per month depending on the plan9.
- Best Intensive: Ours Ours is an online platform that offers personalized discernment counseling with live talk therapy and self-study modules. It guides couples to pinpoint solvable relationship issues that may arise before or after marriage. It also helps couples work through them using evidence-based techniques and tools. Ours costs range from $50 to $400 per month depending on the plan10.
Discernment counseling is a valuable option for couples who are uncertain whether they want to continue their relationship. It can help them communicate better, understand each other better, cope with stress better, strengthen their bond better, and make a better decision for their future. Online discernment counseling is a convenient and effective option for couples who prefer to receive therapy from the comfort of their own home. However, they need to choose the best online discernment counseling service for them based on various factors, such as credentials, reviews, compatibility, and cost. We hope that our list of top picks can help them find the right service for their needs. Remember that discernment counseling is not a magic bullet that can fix all their problems overnight. It requires commitment, effort, and cooperation from them and their partner. But with the right guidance and support, they can find their path in life.
1: Discernment Counseling – GoodTherapy 2: Discernment Counseling: How It Works, Costs, & What to Expect 3: Understanding Discernment Counseling – TherapyDen 4: Discernment Counseling: Definition, Techniques, Efficacy – Verywell Mind 5: What Is Discernment Counseling? Definition, Benefits & Efficacy – wikiHow 6: Couples Therapy Inc 7: Growing Self Couples Counseling 8: Octave Online Therapy 9: Talkspace Couples Therapy 10: Ours