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Discernment Counselling

Discernment Counselling in Calgary

Shall I stay or shall I go? Can we make it or is time to make a final decision and call it quits? 

Brink of a divorce

One of you is giving up, another one wants to stay together and work on the relationship. You've been trying very hard, but it's not working and you keep fighting and hurting each other. It's the same fight over and over again. D word has been dropped. Divorce. And yet, you are not sure. There's been a lot of hard, but there's also been a lot of good.

You think couples counselling might be the last resource, but your partner is not sure. There's no commitment, there's no certainty, you just don't know what to do. The uncertainty is driving you crazy.   

Discernment Counselling 

When one partner is leaning in, and another is leaning out, discernment counselling can help.  It is a specialized form of therapy designed to help couples who are considering divorce or separation to determine whether to stay in their relationship and work on the issues or end the relationship. This therapy offers individual support to both partners as they are doing their deeply personal work while also supporting the couple. 

Couple in a therapist office

Three Paths 

The purpose of discernment counselling is to provide couples with a safe and non-judgmental space to explore their feelings, thoughts, and concerns about their relationship. The goal is to create confidence and clarity about the next steps. We will discuss 3 possible paths: 

Path One – to continue status quo in the relationship.

Path Two – relationships transition - you decide to separate/divorce and might look for support through your separation (you might need to seek help of a lawyer, mediator, and/or divorce counsellor) 

Path Three – you commit to repairing the relationship with the help of Couples Counselling for a minimum of typically 6 months

Couples Counseling and Discernment Counselling  in Calgary.

My name is Rovena and I’m a therapist who loves helping couples. It's my passion and my purpose. 

As much as I want to see all couples connected and happy, it's not always possible. Yet, all couples need help. When you are on a brink of a divorce, something that's when you need help the most. There's so much pain, grief, confusion, anger and love, yes, love, it's very hard to know if you are making a right decision. I'd be honored to support you in this process. 

You can read more about me here

Rovena Magidin, RTC, Individual and Couples Counsellor

What Discernment Counselling looks like 

In Discernment Counselling we alternate between time together and individual time with each partner. Each partner is doing their own deep personal work - sessions are designed to create clarity about the relationship, the past, the present and the future. The reason for individual sessions is to create a safe space to do the work without triggering the partner and getting triggered. We are not working ON the relationship, we are making sure you are not making things worse, and offer help to think clearly and see if you want to give this relationship a fair chance to heal and thrive, or if you feel you've done your best, you've tried everything you could, it's time to call it quits.  

First session is to gather information and make a commitment to the process if it's the best fit for you.

Subsequent Sessions  - the couples will meet with a therapist for an agreed number of times, often up to 6. Each session includes a quick check in with the couple, individual time with each person and then again time with the couple together to share their insights.

Final session - the couple makes a decision to pursue one of the 3 paths

  • stay together and work through their issues with Couples Therapy

  • divorce/separation

  • continue with way relationship has been, neither separating, nor doing counselling. 

This type of therapy is different from traditional couples therapy in that it is short-term, goal-directed, and focused on helping couples make a clear and informed decision about the future of their relationship. It is not about learning better communication skills, it doesn't include working on a relationship. It designed to offer you support in the liminal space of uncertainty and pain. 

It’s Time To Start Discernment Counselling

I’d love to help you. Click here to schedule your free 30 minute phone or online consultation for Discernment or Couples Counseling in Calgary. I’d be happy to answer your questions and make sure we are a good fit. My other specialties include Couples Counselling,  Intimacy and Sex Therapy for Couples and Women as well as Individual Counselling.

How is Discernment Counselling different from Couples Counselling 

Couples counselling is designed to help couples work through specific problems in their relationship and improve communication, intimacy, and overall satisfaction. The focus is on identifying and resolving specific issues, such as conflict, infidelity, or lack of emotional connection, and developing skills to improve the relationship.

In contrast, the goal of discernment counselling is to help couples who are considering divorce or separation to gain clarity and insight into their relationship and make a decision about the future of their relationship. The focus is on exploring the underlying issues that are contributing to the relationship problems, understanding each partner's perspective, and exploring the options available to the couple.

Another key difference between discernment counselling and couples counselling is the level of readiness and commitment required from each partner. Couples counselling typically requires both partners to be motivated and committed to improving the relationship and working through their issues. Discernment counselling is designed for couples who are ambivalent or uncertain about the future of their relationship and are considering divorce or separation.

Contraindications to Discernment Counselling

While I’m able to help so many couples, there are a few situations where I might not be the best fit, including​​

  • If there's domestic violence or a danger of domestic violence, active addiction or an untreated acute mental illness present in the relationship - you may need specialized help with a licensed professional, and it's likely that you will need individual support before pursuing Discernment or Couples Counselling.

  • If one, or both partners have already decided to separate or divorce and are not willing to reconsider or explore other options. 

  • If one partner is feeling coerced to participate

Dr. Bill Doherty Talks about Discernment Counselling

Have questions first? No problem. Please contact me. I’d be happy to talk to you.

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