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Counselling in Georgetown for Couples Thinking about Separating

Discernment Counselling in Georgetown, ON

Thinking About Leaving?

Deciding whether to stay in your marriage can be a very painful and lonely experience.  Most often, divorce is not a mutual decision and you alone have the burden of deciding whether to stay or go.  You have likely thought about leaving before but you are at a point now where you’ve had enough.  Things cannot go on like this, not for your partner, not for anyone.  You feel alone and depleted.  You’ve tried so hard to make things better but are left feeling even more hopeless.  You feel like you’ve already checked out of the relationship and staying makes you feel like an imposter. You desperately want your life to be different, but divorce?  That’s such a big step.  Perhaps you’ve already told your partner, but it only made things worse. You need an unbiased person to help you work through your emotions and explain your feelings and thoughts to your spouse.

Or is it Your Partner that Wants Out?

You just had the rug pulled out from under you.  You knew your relationship had problems, but doesn’t every relationship?  Now your partner tells you he/she wants to leave.  You thought you two were in this together, forever.  You’ve done everything to keep the relationship together.  And what about the rest of the family?  How could the person you trusted more than anyone in the world tell you they’re not in love with you anymore?  Or that they want to divorce? You feel so betrayed and let down. You are incredibly sad, hurt, angry and confused.  You’re not sure how to respond right now.  You’re showing anger or you may be begging for another chance.  You may also be acting cold or completely withdrawn. 

Your relationship is on the brink.  You will come in as a couple but we will also work within our individual sessions.  Why? Because you are starting out in different places.  No matter the reason for discernment counselling, you will both be treated with compassion and respect.  We will not be taking sides. 

What is Discernment Counselling?


Discernment counselling is specifically for couples where one spouse is leaning towards divorce and the other wants to save the marriage. 

You want to be able to make a clear and confident decision about the future of your marriage.  The aim of discernment counselling is for you and your partner to emerge from sessions with more confidence about what your next steps will be.  If you decide to work on your relationship, it means that both of you are committed to working on the marriage for a minimum of six months.  This can provide the strongest possible chance of saving your marriage. If you decide to end the marriage, we can work on next steps together in a collaborative and healthy way.

How does Discernment Counselling work?


Discernment counselling involves separate conversations with each spouse, as well as sessions together as a couple. Ultimately, the discernment process may help you and your partner to choose one of three options for your relationship:

  1. Status quo - nothing changes in the relationship and everything stays as it is.

  2. Get a separation or divorce - with intent to do so whilst minimizing hurt on one another or the children.  You can begin the process of uncoupling without causing more hurt, blame or conflict than there already is.

  3. Commit to six-months of couples therapy while taking divorce off the table. With greater commitment, you'll have a much better chance of getting your relationship back on track.

Your therapist will not be making any negative judgements about who may have done right or wrong. Your therapist will simply listen to you and help you determine what is right for each of you, and your relationship.

What are the Benefits of Discernment Counselling?

Approximately one-third of all couples who seek out couples therapy are what we call “mixed-agenda”- where one partner is leaning out of the relationship and uncertain about whether they want to work on the relationship, and the other partner is leaning in wanting to save the marriage. If you or your spouse are considering a divorce, then discernment counselling can help each of you by: 

  • If you are the Leaning Out partner - help you make your decision with a greater understanding about what happened in the marriage that’s brought you the point of considering divorce.  You will also learn how each of you, in some way, may have contributed to it breaking down.

  • If you are the Leaning In partner - learn how not to worsen the situation, help you focus on working on yourself, learn how you may have contributed to the breakdown of the marriage, and help you hear your partner more clearly.


How can Discernment Counselling Help?

It can help in several ways including helping you and your partner:

  • Understand more clearly each of your concerns, as well as what's happened in the marriage that brought you here

  • Uncover patterns between you that have led to unnecessary distance and misunderstandings

  • Be aware of what has been working and what hasn’t when you’ve tried to resolve your problems in the past

  • Examine and process the hurts and blame from new perspectives

  • Appreciate if and how your children impact your decision about the future of your relationship

  • Have insight into the impartial and objective perspective of your therapist

  • Provide you with a clear agenda for personal change 

  • Should you decide to part ways, couples therapy can help you accomplish this in the most peaceful and amicable way possible.

  • Become more clear and confident in a direction for your marriage 

  • Make a decision about the future of the relationship and how to move forward with that decision in the best possible way

Discernment Counseling
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