Date of Award

Spring 5-14-2021

Document Type

Project (696 or 796 registration)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Counseling


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Jessica Brown and Taryn Akgul


discernment counseling, mixed-agenda, on the brink, marital distress


The presented literature review and training are intended to transform the way we perceive & approach ambivalence in marriages and relationships. The objective is to provide more awareness and advocacy of a more effective counseling modality for meeting the needs/realities of modern couples who are uncertain about their marriage. Throughout this review, it is evident that we can no longer deny, as a community and society, the profound levels of relationship ambivalence, rising long-term marital distress, and significant physical and mental health problems for partners and families. Couples and marriages can benefit from discernment counseling as preliminary data found supports this approach as a promising tool for helping mixed-agenda couples, who have struggled with finding direction and solutions from other clinical practices. Discernment counseling meets the unique needs of both the partner leaning into the relationship and the partner who is experiencing ambivalence. This training program is intended for members of the community who deserve to know that there is a form of treatment that seeks to meet them exactly where they are in their relationship ambivalence.

Keywords: ambivalence, discernment counseling, mixed-agenda, on the brink, and marital distress.



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