This post was originally published on Self.com
In two hours, Jason and I will determine whether we'll stay together or split up. We enter the office of Bill Doherty, Ph.D., director of the Minnesota Couples on the Brink Project at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, and perch nervously on opposite ends of the couch. Doherty, a soft-spoken man with gray hair, thanks us for coming and then cuts right to the chase: "Why are you two considering a divorce?"
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Doherty isn't your typical marriage counselor. He's the pioneer of a new kind of therapy called discernment counseling. Its groundbreaking premise: help couples decide in just one to five sessions whether to stay together. "Traditional therapy assumes that you want to work on your relationship, but about a third of couples find themselves on the fence," Doherty says. "They're reluctant to break up, but they're not sure they want to fix things, either, so they're stuck in limbo." Discernment counseling forces the issue — key for us, because, like so many couples, we're guilty of letting our relationship roll forward without ever actually deciding this is what we want. And the therapy works at warp speed. In less than half a day, Jason and I will determine if we're going to commit to each other or if we'd rather call it quits.
Doherty starts with a joint session where Jason and I share our backstory: After meeting at work 12 years ago, we went back and forth between being friends and being more. Once we coupled up, we hemmed and hawed over whether to move in together, then over whether to marry and have kids. By my mid-30s, my aging egg supply decided for us: We shelved the birth control. A year later, we were engaged and expecting a child, neither of us quite sure how we'd gotten there. Keep reading...
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