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Aerial View of Barren Land

"Who breaks the thread, the one who pulls, the one who holds on?"

James Richardson


If you are seeking Discernment Counseling, please read below. If you and your partner are seeking sex therapy for couples, please click here. If you are seeking Confused Couples Consulting, please click here, Please click here to find out why I no longer practice traditional couple therapy.

If you or your spouse are considering ending your relationship/marriage, but are not completely sure that it's the best path, Discernment Counseling is designed for you.


Discernment Counseling is a brief model (1-5 sessions) developed to help couples in which one partner is “leaning out”--not sure that regular marriage counseling will help--while the other is “leaning in." That is, interested in rebuilding the marriage. Some couples who benefit from Discernment Counseling have already tried marriage counseling to no avail. 

As a certified Discernment Counselor, I will help you decide whether to try to restore your marriage to health, move toward divorce, or take a time out and decide later.

The goal of Discernment Counseling is for you to gain clarity and confidence about a direction for your marriage, based on a deeper understanding of your relationship and possibilities for the future. Discernment Counseling is designed not to solve your marital problems, but to see if they are solvable.

I treat each partner with compassion and respect no matter how they are feeling about their marriage. I respect the reasons for divorce while considering the possibility of how partners might restore their marriage to health. I will emphasize the importance of each partner seeing their own contributions to the problems and the possible solutions. This will be useful in future relationships, even if the current relationship ends.

Discernment Counseling is not suited for marriages in which one spouse has already made a final decision to divorce, when one spouse is coercing the other to participate, and/or if there is ongoing domestic violence.

Discernment Counseling begins with a brief phone screening with each partner separately, for which I do not charge. If you would like to begin, or if you have questions about Discernment Counseling, please email me.

Certified Discernment Counselor badge, The Doherty Institute.

Consulting for Confused Couples. I have extensive training and experience in relationship therapy with a variety of modalities and perspectives, including Gottman, Emotionally Focused Therapy, The Developmental Model, Discernment Counseling, sex therapy, and research and study regarding ethically nonmonogamous relationships, and mixed-faith relationships. As I no longer do therapy with couples (except for sex therapy and Discernment Counseling), and given my investment in couples therapy and my knowledge of Utah practitioners, I now offer consultation to Utah couples who aren't sure what they want or need, nor how to find it. It is part clinical conceptualization, part detective work, part match-making. In a consulting session, I will meet with you and your partner to understand your love story, what and how things went wrong, your wishes and fears regarding your relationship, and what might be useful to you in reaching your relationship goals, even if you aren't sure what they are. Many couples find this process of being "seen" to be satisfying, challenging, and clarifying. I will use this understanding of your relationship to make recommendations and facilitate connection with local therapists.

A note on couples therapy: I enjoyed treating couples for over a decade. Being oversubscribed, and as my practice has evolved, I have chosen to focus my work on individual psychotherapy. I continue to work with couples in sex therapy and Discernment Counseling, but I refer couples with other needs to trusted couples therapists and clinics. I am grateful for my training and experiences in couples therapy, specifically that they helped me develop a "relationship-friendly" individual therapy. I recognize the fundamental importance of relationships and consider patients' relational contexts and goals as we work together. If you are seeking couples therapy and read this news with disappointment, I welcome you to reach out to discuss the ways in which relationship-friendly individual therapy could benefit your relationship. 

Contact Mary

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