Sponsored by the HealthcareTrainingInstitute.org providing Quality Education since 1979
Add to Shopping Cart

Section 1
Track #1 - How to Avoid Theraputic Judgements of 'Good or Bad'

CEU Question 1 | CEU Answer Booklet | Table of Contents | Couples
Introduction

Psychologist CEs, Social Worker CEUs, Counselor CEUs, MFT CEUs

Read content below or click FREE Audio Download to listen;
Right click to "Save..." mp3

On this track, we will discuss three therapist judgments that can interfere with counseling couples experiencing an infidelity crisis. These three therapist judgments are, judging whether an affair is good or bad, separating the couple into victim and victimizer, and suggesting the couple should stay together no matter what. We will also discuss choosing terms in infidelity counseling.

Norman and Alicia had been married for nine years. Recently, Norman had revealed to Alicia that he had been carrying on an affair with a friend of theirs from church for the past two years.  Norman stated, "it was the worst night of my life. Of both of our lives! Sue was Alicia’s best friend from church, and I was betraying Alicia with her. I tried to break it off a couple of times, but Sue and I always ended up back together. Finally, I told our pastor what was going on, and he told me I should tell Alicia right away."

When Norman told Alicia what had been happening, she was understandably crushed. Alicia asked Norman if he wanted a divorce. Norman sincerely wanted to recommit to his wife, so on the advice of their pastor, he and Alicia sought marital counseling.

Norman were concerned about marital counseling. He stated, "I know we need to do this, but I’m worried about always coming off as the bad guy. I know I did a terrible thing! But are we just going to focus on all the horrible things I did!?" I explained to Norman and Alicia that there are three judgments that I do not make during infidelity counseling. Each of these three judgments can interfere with the couple’s healing process.

3 Therapist Judgments

Share on Facebook Therapist Judgment # 1 - Labeling the Affair Good or Bad
I stated, "The first judgment I do not make is labeling the affair as good or bad. An affair can be enhancing for one partner, while it is devastating for the other. I do believe that a continuing affair carried on without the consent of both partners perpetuates dysfunction in the relationship. A continuing affair also makes intimate attachment between the couple virtually impossible. I also believe that if the unfaithful partner is serious about recommitting to the relationship and the other partner is not interested in an open marriage, he or she, in my experience, must give up his or her lover."

Share on Facebook Therapist Judgment # 2 - Separating the Couple into Victim & Victimizer
I stated to Norman and Alicia, "The second judgment I do not make in infidelity counseling is separating the couple into victim and victimizer, or betrayer and betrayed. Each of you should accept an appropriate share of the responsibility for what went wrong in your marriage. Rather than assigning blame, I encourage you to confront those parts of yourselves that led to the affair. I also encourage you to change in ways that we help rebuild trust and intimacy. This doesn’t mean that each of you is equally accountable for the affair. Clearly Norman had a choice, and he made it, and is responsible for his actions. But I do encourage both of you to hold yourselves accountable for the distress in your marriage that may have contributed to the affair."

Share on Facebook Therapist Judgment # 3 - Couple Should Stay Together No Matter What
In addition to 1. not labeling the affair good or bad, and 2. not separating the couple into victim and victimizer, 3. a third judgment I do not make during infidelity counseling is that I do not assume that the couple should stay together no matter what. I invite each partner to explain to me their unique reasons for having or giving up a lover. Likewise I invite them to explain their reasons for choosing or refusing to recommit to their marriage. I stated to Norman and Alicia, "your decision to recommit should be deliberate and well considered, not based on feelings alone."

As you have probably experienced, choosing terminology to use when referring to the partner involved in the  infidelity counseling can be challenging. I tend to refer to partners as the hurt partner and the unfaithful partner. I explain to my clients that I refer to the partner whose assumption of monogamy has been violated as the hurt partner. However, I explain that this does not imply that the unfaithful partner does not feel equally hurt at times. I do feel that in general, the hurt partner experiences the greater sense of devastation.

I do not categorize partners as betrayer and betrayed because these words can be interpreted by clients as conveying a certain moral righteousness or condemnation. The words betrayer and betrayed may also be interpreted by clients as putting the burden of responsibility on one client alone. I usually use the term lover to refer to the person with whom the unfaithful partner had an affair, whether or not the affair is still going on. Do you use the terms unfaithful, hurt, and lover? Or do you have other terms that you use? Do you need to reexamine the terminology you are currently using in your couple’s therapy sessions in which infidelity has occurred?

On this track, we have discussed three therapist judgments that can interfere with counseling couples experiencing an infidelity crisis. These three therapist judgments are, judging whether an affair is good or bad, separating the couple into victim and victimizer, and suggesting the couple should stay together no matter what. We also discussed choosing terms in infidelity counseling.

On the next track we will discuss the psychological impact of an affair on the hurt partner.  We will specifically discuss the five emotional losses experienced by the hurt partner following the affair.  These five emotional losses are, the loss of the sense of specialness, the loss of self-respect, the loss of the feeling of control, the loss of a sense of order, and the loss of a sense of purpose.

Online Continuing Education QUESTION 1
What are three therapist judgments that can interfere with infidelity counseling? To select and enter your answer go to CEU Answer Booklet.

 
Others who bought this Couples Course
also bought…

Scroll DownScroll UpCourse Listing Bottom Cap

CEU Answer Booklet for this course | Couples
Forward to Track 2
Table of Contents
Top

CEU Continuing Education for
Psychologist CEUs, Social Worker CEUs, Counselor CEUs, MFT CEUs

OnlineCEUcredit.com Login


Forget your Password Reset it!