Over the last several years, Dr. William Doherty has been exploring ways of working with distressed couples that may be seeking counseling and/or trying to avoid divorce…. or at least one member of the couple would like to avoid divorce. Here is a recent paper in which he summarizes some of his suggestions for therapists on how to work with these couples. He writes,
An estimated 30 percent couples coming to therapy are mixed agenda couples where one is leaning out of the relationship and the other wants to save it. Much research has shown that at the time of divorce filing, most couples are split on wanting the divorce. New research shows that many people in the legal divorce process are ambivalent about whether it’s the best course to take. Because we lack models and protocols for these
couples, therapists mainly muddle their way through, often losing them.