Art Luz, Ph.D.

Licensed Psychologist

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

Discernment Counseling for Mixed Agenda Couples: An innovative approach to working with couples with one partner considering divorce and the other wanting to preserve the relationship

The goal of this short term treatment format is to assist couples in gaining greater perspective and assurance in their decision making about divorcing and the prospects for reconciliation. This is accomplished by establishing three possible paths for the couple to follow that include; staying in the marriage as it has been; moving toward divorce; or agreement on a six month reconciliation period with a commitment to make a concerted effort to work on the marriage with divorce off the table. For the person considering divorce, the focus is to help the individual make a decision based on a more comprehensive understanding of the marriage and one's own role in the difficulties. For the person wanting to preserve the relationship, the focus is to help the individual bring their best self to the crisis, not make things worse and use the crisis to work on one's own self.

An estimated 30% of couples presenting for marital therapy have mixed agendas regarding their commitment. In the mixed agenda relationships one partner is “leaning out,” toward divorce, and the other is “leaning in,” to preserve the relationship. Marital therapy focused on repairing the relationship often leaves the leaning out partner reluctant to participate in any meaningful fashion. Discernment Counseling offers a new model in treating the mixed agenda couple that is respectful of divergent partner interests in promoting their best possible future.

For more information on Discernment Counseling for Couples