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Are you unsure if you should separate or stay and work on your relationship? Try our specialist Discernment Counselling.

Discernment Counselling in Vancouver, BC

Discernment counselling is a service that helps couples address the relationship question 'should I stay or should I go'. Sometimes couples come to us with one partner ready and motivated to stay and work on the relationship. However, the other partner is undecided and/or feels so disillusioned with the thought of trying any more and may be unsure of how to proceed.


Discernment counselling is not couples therapy. However, It can lead to couples counselling. At the Discernment Counselling stage, you are not signing up to be committed to 'making it work'. You will not be pressured either way or to do couples counselling. Rather, it is simply an exploration process to help you explore the issues, address your fears and/or reservations, look at your options for staying or leaving, process your feelings and ultimately decide what would be best for you. Once you have reached your decision, discernment counselling will provide support to help you move forward.


"With any difficult decision, it is important to have a safe, supportive space for you to be able to look at your options so you can make a truly conscious choice that is best for you."     Carly Goodfellow, Co-Director

The aims of Discernment Counselling are:

1) A non-biased and safe space for you both to discuss your reasons for wanting to end and/or stay in the relationship. We begin the process with you both meeting with me individually so you can feel safe and free to express your feelings. You will not be asked or encouraged to go one way or the other. This is purely to help you get clarity on what is right for you.


2) A chance for you to build awareness of what didn't work for you and to look at your personal challenges so you don't repeat unwanted behaviours or bring unnecessary issues to your next relationship.


3) A chance for you both to get therapeutic support if you choose to work on the relationship. This may include helping you build awareness around your intimacy challenges that might be getting in the way of you connecting and enjoying a satisfying relationship.


4) If you choose to end the relationship, the discernment counselling will provide guidance and a safe space for you both to consciously say goodbye and get closure. I will be with you both every step of the way to facilitate this.

How Does the Process work?

Discernment counselling is a three phase process that is usually completed over 2-3 weeks. Decisions do take time and so we have crafted a set of steps that are meant to support you and your partner to evaluate your choices, process your feelings and gain important insights to help you make the best decision for you and your relationship.


The recommended process is:


Phase 1 - During this initial Exploration/Cooling off Stage, we all meet together for an initial extended session. The aims are to meet your counsellor and explore the issues that have been ongoing in your relationship.


Phase 2 - You and your partner meet with your counsellor individually for 1-2 shorter sessions, depending on your individual needs.

During these sessions, the aims are for you to have a space to process what your concerns have been in the relationship, gain insights into your 50% (the ways you have struggled personally) and to look at your options. 


Phase 3/Final phase - You, your partner and your counsellor will all meet together for another extended session to start a dialogue/discussion about what insight was gained and what decisions have been made. If more time is needed for exploring the decision together in dialogue, then we can stretch this stage over a couple of weeks with more sessions added until a decision is made.


During the post-decision stage, you will have a few options:


1) If separation/divorce is decision we will be available for emotional support to help both of you navigate this stressful time. If children are involved, we will be available to support you both with co-parenting.


2) If a decision to reunite is made, then we will be available to offer couples counselling support to help you both heal from conflict and repair your bond. Read more about Couples Counselling here.

Are you ready to start the Discernment Counselling process. 

Call (604) 307-6050 or contact us here to book your discernment counselling appointment today!


Have some questions? Book a free in-person or phone consultation with one of our team to learn more about how we can help you get back on track.

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