Marriage & Family Schema Therapy Institute
Attorneys who would like to provide a couple with a referral for counseling before they finalize their decision to divorce can find a collaborative resource to enhance their practice with this service . When there is one partner leaning in on the marriage and the other leaning out, often engaging in all out couples counseling has shown to be ineffective. See research done at the University of Minessota by Dr. William J. Doherty, Minnesota Couples on the Brink Project. More information can be found at www.discernmentcounseling.com These mixed agenda couples tend to drop out of regular couples therapy or come quickly to a stale-mate. Discernment-type counseling offers an alternative whereby they can explore and discuss issues to see if they even wish to do couples/marital counseling.
I will be happy to provide further information on this 5 session alternative type of "couples counseling", namely discernment-type counseling. This discernment-type counseling allows a couple to evaluate 3 potential paths to take: Path One: to do nothing different; Path Two: to separate or divorce; Path Three: to engage wholeheartedly in 6 months of couples therapy, giving it their all-out effort, with divorce off the table for these 6 months, and then to make a long-term decision. The couple is seen individually and together for each of the 5 sessions. They are under no obligation to continue to the next session, and they come to a decision about this at the conclusion of each session. The first session is two hours and the remaining ones are one and a half hours apiece. This is not couples counseling of the type where they change anything, but they do get to hear the concerns of the other spouse as well as explore their own contribution to the problems. If they wish to continue with Path 3 counseling, I am available to see them for this or will also be happy to refer them to another provider if this works better for them or for their budget. They are under no obligation to continue Path 3 with me. I would be honored to be a part of the process where they evaluate what needs for growth and healing would end some of the cycle they find themselves currently in, and also to help them see what is best for their children. Unfortunately, as you know, too often the children suffer the most when their parents do not know where to turn to get the help they need.
My hope is that those who choose the path/option of continuing forward with their divorce will do so in a more collaborative fashion, and those who decide to take the path of a 6 month commitment to couples therapy will find renewed hope. At the very least, they obtain an opportunity to tell the story of their marriage and gain some understanding of what has happened, hopefully to better their relationship or future ones with some insight into areas they personally need to change in themselves.
Your sensitivity and professionalism in helping them decide what is best for them demonstrates the integrity of your practice. I hope that I can provide another resource for you to offer them. This program is non-judgmental, non-religious, and I attempt to model for them a manner of relating that demonstrates respect and acceptance.
Please feel free to call me at: 920.233.2347 for further details.
Dr. Chiara Simeone-DiFrancesco
Schema Therapy with Couples
January 1, 2015