The Impact of Discernment Counseling on Individuals Who Decide to Divorce: Experiences of Post-Divorce Communication and Coparenting

Angela J. Emerson, Steven M. Harris, Fathiya A. Ahmed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Discernment counseling is designed to help couples considering divorce arrive at a greater sense of clarity and confidence in their decision making about the future of their marriage. Possible outcomes include making no change to the marriage, divorcing, or attempting reconciliation through couples therapy. To date, no research has been done on whether or not discernment counseling helps couples who decide to divorce with their post-divorce family life (i.e., coparenting). We surveyed 11 people (from male–female couples) and conducted in-depth interviews with eight who had undergone discernment counseling and subsequently divorced to see what impact discernment counseling had on their post-divorce coparenting relationship. We analyzed the data from a phenomenological perspective. Respondents described their discernment counseling experience as helpful for achieving clarity and honesty in the divorce decision-making process, they shared their appreciation for the structure of the intervention, and indicated that it led to a greater coparental cooperation post-divorce.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of marital and family therapy
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • coparenting
  • discernment counseling
  • divorce
  • divorce outcomes

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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