• Vaughan Relationship Centre: Counselling to Empower.


  • Are you stuck in your relationship and not sure if you should stay or leave?
  •  Does your partner want to end the relationship, but you want to repair it?
  • Have you found yourself going in circles in your relationship and not sure what to do?

We’ll find a way to help you.

What is Discernment Counselling

Discernment counselling was developed by Bill Doherty Ph.D.  It is designed to be a support when one half of the couple is motivated to recover and improve the relationship and the other is ambivalent about continuing in the relationship. The benefit of Discernment Counselling additionally extends to situations where one partner has decided to exit but the other is not ready to. This therapy technique is used as a tool to help a couple gain clarity about their relationship, gaining a deeper understanding of what transpired in their amalgamation. In Discernment Counselling, the couple meets between one to six times; after each session, it is decided if they should attend another session. If unison of the two individuals is no longer an option, Discernment Counselling can help the couple come to a better understanding as to how they got to this place and make a more amicable divorce process. Moreover, it helps skill the individuals on how to move forward with confidence.

Three goals are discussed in session:

Path One – which is to continue status quo of the couple

Path Two – which is to dissolve the relationship and proceed with separation/divorce

Path Three – involving repairing the relationship and moving forward with couple’s therapy.

How is Discernment Counselling different than Couples’ Therapy?

In Couples’ Therapy, the goal is typically to improve the relationship.  However, we see many couples where one person wants to repair the relationship and the other is not as motivated (or has already made the decision to leave). In these circumstances, couples’ therapy is not always effective for either party because therapy is a tug and pull requiring both parties to be committed to the process. Discernment counselling helps the couple make a decision about their relationship so that if they do choose couples’ therapy, it will be effective. Again, discernment counselling can also prove its effectiveness by supporting couples in making an informed decision around separation.

Discernment Counselling is a Commitment in Time In and Outside of  Session

What to Expect

First session – is one hour in length; the therapist meets with each party individually for 30 minutes.  This is to assess whether discernment counselling is the best fit and to make the commitment of moving forward with the process.

Second Session – is 2 to 2.5 hours in length; both parties are required to attend.  The therapist meets with both partners for about 35-40 minutes to discuss their relationship.  After, the therapist meets with each partner individually for about 45 minutes. To close, both partners meet to debrief and decide if they should attend another discernment counselling session or to stop.  The decision of whether to meet again is a collaborative one between the couple and therapist.

*Subsequent Sessions – The couple can meet again up to 6 times.  Each meeting is 1.5 to 2 hours, where the therapist first meets with the couple (as a check in), then meets with each partner for 30 minutes, then meets again with the couple to debrief and close off the session.


Frequently Asked Questions:

What if we don’t need the entire time allotted for each session?
You will be charged for the time you are in session, whether it is more or less than the standard given time. Some couples do not need an entire session, while others need more.  You will only be charged for the time used.

How much does it cost?  
You will be charged the hourly rate of the therapist.  Please contact the centre for fees.

Will my insurance cover the sessions?
You will be provided a receipt for the session that you can submit to your insurance for reimbursement.  You can contact your insurance provider to gain clarity about coverage. Please inform us at the time of booking if you require anything specific noted on your receipt.  

My partner had an affair, is discernment counselling suitable?
Yes.  Discernment counselling can help you understand how your relationship got this place and steps on moving forward.


More info on Discernment Counselling:

Get In Touch

Contact us to set up your first appointment and learn new tools to repair your relationship.

We are a fee for service agency and while some clients pay out of pocket for their session, most utilize their extended benefits to pay for a session. Please check your insurance and confirm if you have coverage for a registered social worker, psychotherapist or marriage, and family therapist. Please indicate to us about your coverage, so we connect you with a therapist who can provide you with coverage. Please note that we cannot provide coverage under registered psychologist.