Discernment Counseling for "Mixed-Agenda" Couples

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14 Scopus citations


This article describes discernment counseling, an approach to working with couples where one partner is leaning toward divorce and the other wants to preserve the relationship and work on it in couples therapy. These "mixed-agenda" couples are common in clinical practice but have been neglected in the literature. The goal of discernment counseling is clarity and confidence regarding the next steps for the relationship, based on a deeper understanding of each partner's contributions. Sessions emphasize individual conversations with each partner. An analysis of 100 consecutive cases found that about half of the couples chose to start couples therapy in order to reconcile, with most of the rest choosing the divorce path. Longer term follow-up information is also presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)246-255
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of marital and family therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

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