Every therapist deals with affairs—sexual, emotional, internet. And although most of us say we use a systems approach, it’s hard to maintain that perspective when cases are framed as involving a selfish Betrayer and a heartbroken Betrayed. Or a deprived, desperate partner and an indifferent, withholding mate.
Supporting the dignity and humanity of both parties gives a couple the best chance to investigate reconciliation. The idea that the Betrayer has to beg forgiveness and accept whatever relationship the Betrayed demands is a disservice to both parties, and it typically leads to client dropouts or treatment failure. Illuminating and challenging patients’ stereotypes about both power and sexuality is vital.
Course participants will learn fresh ways of looking at affairs, fidelity, and sexuality—so that they can better evaluate patients, sort out individual and relationship issues, and help people heal from the experiences of powerlessness, grief, rage, and damaged self-esteem that are common on both sides of infidelity.
Course topics will include:
* Why are affairs so common?
* The typical belief that the Betrayed acquires power as a result of being betrayed.
* How much is sex an issue in most affairs?
* How should we handle the Betrayed’s demands for cellphone records, text messages, email passwords, and other personal material?
* How can we get couples to explore reconciliation as partners rather than as adversaries?
* Helping clients draw and maintain boundaries around the wounded relationship.