Discernment Counseling

(I Provide Discernment Counseling in my MN Office or Online)

For When You Need Help Deciding Whether to Stay or Go


discernment counseling couple cartoon


Divorce is a serious consideration for many couples. Not many know that discernment counseling is an option to direct the future of your relationship. Let me help you to decide your future.


What is “Discernment Counseling”?


Discernment counseling is a counseling option that is designed for couples where one is “leaning out” of the relationship and one is “leaning in.”

This is for couples who are stuck in the paralysis of relationship indecision. Both couples must be open to considering the three possible outcomes of the process: divorce, a continued relationship as-is or a commitment to couples counseling.


How long is a commitment to discernment counseling?


While marriage counseling is a process that is long term, discernment counseling is much shorter. Because we are working to make a single decision: “Are we willing to work through our conflicts as they are now”? Total time commitment for discernment counseling is no more than 5 sessions.


If my spouse is set on divorce, should we still consider this?


Yes. I think that a couple “fated “ to divorce can still utilize discernment counseling. Not only does it help each couple explain the reasons behind their emotions related to the split, but it allows a couple to set a constructive tone for their future apart (especially important with shared custody of children).


What is the difference between discernment and marriage counseling?


discernment counseling vs marriage counseling graphic


What Discernment Counseling is not


Under my supervision, we take the following steps:

1. Together both partners will review their marriage story, explore questions of children and family structure, recall what makes their relationship stronger and express their hopes for the session.
2. The partner who is “leaning out” (Partner 1) gets exclusive space to talk about their issue. Each possible outcome of discernment counseling will be explored with my guidance. Partner 1 explores their contributions to the marriage and any mistakes they want to discuss. Empathetic connection to Partner 2 is encouraged throughout.
3. Both couples explain the position of Partner 1 in their own words.
4. Partner 2 gets space to talk, as Partner 1 did in step 2.
5. Both couples explain the position of Partner 2 in their own words.
6. The couples are given space to come to their conclusions about the session and what they have learned.


Benefits of Discernment Counseling


– A developed plan for the future that both partners can accept.
– An understanding of where the relationship stands currently.
– A happier collective future for the couple, together or apart.
– If further relationship work is needed, discernment counseling provides a foundation for future relationship building.
– If divorce is chosen, it sets the stage for a constructive future as separate individuals. Lessons have been learned and have been shared for the benefit of future relationships.


Minnesota’s 5 Star Discernment Counselor

Ben Hoogland at TCMFT

5 star marriage therapist graphic


Call me now for an appointment.

Contact Today

250 Prairie Center Drive Suite 202
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

(952) 209-7180

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