• Vaughan Relationship Centre: Counselling to Empower.

Discernment counseling is specifically designed for couples who are uncertain about the future of their relationship. It provides a structured environment to explore their feelings and options, whether to continue working on the relationship or to separate.
The main benefit of a therapist in discernment counseling is their ability to provide expert guidance, emotional support, and a structured process that facilitates clear and informed decision-making. This approach helps couples navigate their relationship challenges with greater clarity, respect, and mutual understanding, leading to more thoughtful and effective outcomes.

When Couples Therapy Isn’t Enough

In traditional couples therapy, the goal is typically to improve the relationship. However, discernment counseling is particularly beneficial for couples where one partner is eager to repair the relationship while the other is uncertain, ambivalent, or hopeless about change.
Discernment counseling provides a structured environment where each partner can:

• Reflect on their contributions to the relationship issues.
• Understand the dynamics at play.
• Make an informed decision about the future of their relationship.

This process ensures that if the couple decides to pursue couples therapy, both partners are committed, making the therapy more effective. Alternatively, discernment counseling can also support couples in making an informed decision about separation, ensuring that any choice made is well-considered and mutually agreed upon.

How Does Discernment Counseling at Vaughan Relationship Centre Work?

First Session: Initial Assessment (75 minutes)

• 15 Minutes Together: The therapist meets with the couple to connect and review the process.
• 30 Minutes with Each Partner: Each person meets individually with the therapist for 30 minutes. This helps assess whether discernment counseling is suitable and whether both partners are committed to moving forward.

Second Session: Deep Dive (2 hours)

• 35-40 Minutes Together: The therapist meets with both partners to discuss their relationship and explore their thoughts and feelings.
• 45 Minutes with Each Partner: Each partner has a one-on-one session with the therapist to delve deeper into individual perspectives.
• Closing Debrief Together: The session concludes with both partners meeting together with the therapist to debrief and decide whether to schedule another discernment counseling session or stop. This decision is made collaboratively.

Subsequent Sessions: Ongoing Reflection (Up to 6 sessions, 90 minutes each)

• Check-In Together: The therapist starts by meeting with the couple for a brief check-in.
Individual Meetings: Each partner then has 35-40 minutes with the therapist individually.
• Debrief and Close: The session ends with both partners meeting together to debrief and discuss the next steps.

Why Virtual?

As you can see from the above, these sessions are quite different from typical couples counseling sessions. Due to the unique structure of the appointments, we recommend online therapy. We’ve also found a higher success rate in our clients who used online counseling as opposed to in-person. In our experience, if the sessions are in person clients tend to stop therapy before achieving their desired results.

Virtual sessions streamline the process, making it easier to alternate speaking with each partner without the need for physical transitions. This minimizes waiting time and maximizes the effectiveness of each session.

Virtual sessions also offer greater flexibility in scheduling and allow partners to participate from the comfort of their own homes. This can reduce the stress associated with attending in-person sessions and make it easier for both partners to engage fully.

Finally, the virtual format helps maintain focus and privacy during individual sessions, which is crucial for the reflective work required in discernment counseling. Partners may feel more at ease discussing sensitive topics in their own environment.Discernment counseling offers a tailored approach for couples at a crossroads, providing the space and guidance needed to make thoughtful decisions about their relationship. By leveraging the advantages of virtual sessions, discernment counseling maximizes efficiency and comfort, facilitating a more focused and reflective therapeutic process. If you’re facing uncertainty in your relationship, discernment counseling could be the key to finding clarity and direction.