What is Discernment Counseling?

The difference between Couple and Discernment Counseling?

The difference between Couple Counseling and Discernment Counseling is the agenda of the couples. In couple counseling both partners want to save the marriage/relationship; whereas in discernment counseling the agenda is mixed. One partner may want to save the marriage/relationship, while the other partner is uncertain and/or leaning toward ending the relationship. It is not uncommon that one partner may wants something different than the other partner.

How Does Discernment Counseling Work?

Discernment Counseling is a brief therapeutic approach meant to help the couple make a much needed decision about whether they want to work toward saving the marriage/relationship or end it. Once both partner has completed their individual assessment. The therapist will lead the couples through a five 100 minutes sessions; during this process couples will learn:

  • Understand the reality of the relationship from the other party's perspective. Acknowledging and addressing “the pink elephant” in the room.

  • Analyzing the causes of issues, problems, and disagreements, between the two partners. Weighing the pros and cons of breaking up or staying together.

  • Learn how to better communicate with your partner. Learn how to Communicate your needs more clearly and express them more emphatically with their partner.

What should I expect?

Intake evaluation is an Individual assessment where each member of the couple sees the counselor separately. Typically intake evaluation takes about one therapeutic hour (50 minutes). Couples with more complex issues to address may need more time or multiple sessions, before starting. Please let your therapist know, if you believe you may need more time or session.

Five discernment therapy sessions (100 minutes) with your partner. By the end of the fifth session the couple will make the decision on whether they will

  • Commit to six months of intensive couples counseling to see if the relationship can be saved. Individual therapy, workshops, classes, or reading and homework may also be prescribed.

  • At this time, don't make any decisions about staying or leaving; just keep things as they are. Sometimes one partner needs more time to process their feelings, in order to make a decision; and may need more individual therapy before proceeding.

  • Proceed with separation or divorce (couples often continuing coming to therapy for guidance in this process, especially if there are children involved);

  • Once the couples have come to a decision the focus of the session will be focusing on the next steps to move forward. As well as, any appropriate referrals.

Who is Discernment Counseling for?

Couples who are struggling with “how to move forward.” Discernment counseling benefits couples who aren’t on the same page, and are unable to move forward without professional intervention. Discernment counseling is about empowering couples to make a collaborative decision about their future and does not view divorce as a failure or staying together as a success.

When is Discernment Counseling Not Appropriate?

  • A partner has already made the decision to leave.

  • Domestic Violence and/or child abuse in the home

  • imminent crisis related to suicidal thoughts, substance misuse.

For couples who are experiencing the above, they will be offered individual counseling or referred to a counselor with the appropriate expertise.

Does my insurance cover Discernment Counseling?

Couples counseling and discernment counseling are rarely covered by insurance. Insurance will only cover treatment that meets medical necessity in treating a verified psychiatric diagnosis. In some cases, insurers may cover couples counseling if the demand for counseling is directly related to an individual's psychiatric diagnosis. In spite of this, discernment counseling rarely falls under this category.

How much does Discernment Counseling Cost Out of Pocket?

  • Individual Intake Evaluation $180

(50 mins.)additional time can be added; as needed.

  • Five Discernment Couple Sessions $350 each session

(100 mins; includes a 5 to10 minute break).

How do we get started?

Please complete the following assessment. Each partner is expected to complete onboarding paperwork and assessment before scheduling their appointment. Please request an assessment by emailing Licensed Professional Counselor Jennifer L. Hillier M.A. LPC at jennifer@mendinghearts.com

Population Served

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Jennifer L. Hillier M.A. LPC & CCTP

8620 N. New Braunfels Ave Suite #538

San Antonio, Texas 78217

  • Accepting New Clients for Teletherapy Only.

  • Texas & Florida Residents

  • Most Insurance, EAP, Accepted!

  • OON w/Superbill Provided & Private Pay.

  • Schedule & Manage Your Appointment Online. Evening & Weekend Appointments Available.

  • Currently Not Seeing Client Face to Face

All Sessions Conducted Online via HIPAA

Secure Telehealth Platform.

Ph: 210-895-4315

Fax: 210-899-1415