Principles for Discernment Counseling
Every professional who works with intimate partnerships in distress brings a values stance; oftentimes, it is not disclosed. I want to be transparent about my values in regard to Discernment Counseling. I adhere to the following principles taken from The Doherty Relationship Institute, the training center for Discernment Counseling (please note: the principles listed below have been adapted for more inclusive language):
Principles about Committed Relationships:
• Life-long commitment is especially difficult in today's throwaway culture.
• Children have an important stake in the health and endurance of their parents' and caregivers' relationship(s).
• Relational commitment brings obligations to work on a troubled relationship before giving up.
Principles about Healing in Therapy:
• Because most troubled relationships can be restored to health if both partners dedicate themselves vigorously to make that happen, the first stance of therapists should be to help partners see if the path of healing is possible for them.
• Because intimate partnerships have other stakeholders, especially children, it is important for therapists to help partners to see how others are affected by the decisions they make about the future of their relationship.
• Because love and fairness must go hand in hand, healing a relationship must not come at the expense of one of the partners.
Principles on Separation/Divorce:
• Some separations/divorces are necessary in order to prevent further harm in a destructive relationship.
• Some separations/divorces are unavoidable because one party chooses the separation/divorce path against the wishes of their partner.
• However, many of today's separations/divorces could be prevented if both parties took steps to work on their relationship before it was too late.
• When clients choose separation/divorce, therapists have a responsibility to make them aware of additional resources, including separation/divorce professionals who can facilitate a fair and healing separation/divorce process.
If you have any questions or need additional clarity regarding my stance on committed relationships, therapy, or separation/divorce, do not hesitate to contact me for additional information.