This week I welcome Dr. Tom Murray for a conversation about the difference between discernment counseling and couples therapy. Dr. Tom is an author, international trainer, educator, and couples and sex-therapist supervisor. He is also a sought-after expert in sexuality and intimate relationships.

In this episode, we get to the root of why couples therapy does not work in the traditional sense, and how discernment counseling might be a better option for you and your partner.  This is a wonderful and insightful discussion for all who listen. 

Featured topics include:

  • Discernment counseling: what it is and how it can help couples make a decision about what’s next for them (4:07)
  • The difference between couples therapy and discernment counseling (6:42)
  • The three paths of discernment counseling: status quo, divorce, or couples therapy (7:34)
  • If there is domestic violence in a relationship, discernment counseling is not appropriate (9:10)
  • Agenda versus Love: “When I want you to be as I want you to be, that’s an agenda. When I want you to be as you want to be, that’s love.” Even in the presence of love, however, you don’t have to stay married. (18:00)
  • Why Dr. Tom says, “Rather than focus on the assumption that therapy is the catalyst for the change, focus on the change you want to see.” (22:21)

Learn more about Dr. Tom Murray:

Dr. Tom Murray, an international trainer, educator, and couples and sex therapist, is a widely sought-after expert in sexuality and intimate relationships. He authored the 2022 book, Making Nice with Naughty: An intimacy guide for the rule-following, organized, perfectionist, practical, and color-within-the-line types.

For 20+ years, Murray has worked with everyday folks to embrace their weirdness, shed labels and shame, lean into anxiety, and build better and stronger relationships.

Murray’s doctorate is in marriage and family counseling from the University of Florida. Clinically, he combines a pull-no-punches, no-beating-around-the-bush style. His integrated therapy approach has helped folks quiet the mind-chatter that interferes with happiness, intimacy, and quality sexual relationships.

Dr. Murray has appeared in numerous venues, including the Huffington Post and The Daily Mail, as well as radio, television and podcasts, including the Practice of Being Seen and Shrink Rap Radio. He’s a highly acclaimed presenter at local, regional, and national conferences on various mental health and relationship topics. Dr. Murray has published numerous articles in professional journals and has had faculty affiliations with UNC Greensboro, Walden University, Lindsey Wilson College,  Northwestern University’s Family Institute, the Modern Sex Therapy Institute, and Adler University.

In addition to his couples and sex therapy practice, Dr. Murray is passionate about Highly Sensitive Persons, artists, actors, dancers, musicians, and other creative types. With nearly a decade of experience as the director of a counseling center for one of the premier art conservatories in the nation, Dr. Murray integrates knowledge from business, positive psychology, sports psychology, mindfulness, and performance optimization to manifest creative aspirations.

Dr. Murray lives in Greensboro, NC, along with his two sons. In addition to his strong passion for sex-positive, clinical practice, and advocacy, Dr. Murray enjoys writing jokes, taking comedy improv courses, cooking and baking, singing, and participating in his faith community.

Resources & Links:
Grit & Grace
Dr. Tom Murray’s website
Dr. Tom’s book


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