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Product ID: 401690EAU
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Counseling Couples on the Brink of Divorce: A New Approach to Couples Therapy

OnDemand Webinar (89 minutes)

Gain a better understanding of how to move couples forward when helping them face difficult truths in their lives.It's not easy when a couple enters treatment unsure about whether to dissolve a marriage or try to save it---especially when each partner leans in a different direction. These 'mixed agenda' couples present challenges for even the most skilled couples therapist, particularly since successful couples therapy usually depends on both partners being at least nominally invested in working on the relationship. This topic will demonstrate a new approach called Discernment Counseling that helps partners develop clarity and confidence about whether to divorce or work on their relationship in therapy, while avoiding the pitfall of trying to start couples therapy in the face of ambivalence about the future of the marriage and about the value of therapy for the marriage.


William J. Doherty, Ph.D., University of Minnesota


Overview and Definitions of Terms

Research Backdrop

• Divorce Decision Making

• Divorce Ambivalence

• Mixed Agenda Couples

Three Common Mistakes With Mixed-Agenda Couples

• Pursuing

• Withholding Hope

• Bargaining

Overview of Discernment Counseling

• Goals

• Different From Traditional Marriage Counseling

• Structure

- Time Limited but Longer Sessions

- Separate and Joint Conversations

- Focus on Three Paths

- Different Approaches With Leaning in and Leaning Spouses

- Outcomes

• Confidentiality Issues

The First Session

• The Questions When Both Are in the Room

• The Separate Conversations

• Sharing With One Another After Separate Conversations

Middle Sessions Overview

Final Session Transitions

• Path One (Status Quo)

• Path Two (Divorce)

• Path Three (Commitment to Six Months of Couples Therapy)

Learning to Do Discernment Counseling

• Common Mistakes

• Resources