From Crisis to Healing
Working with couples in therapy immediately after the discovery of an infidelity first requires crisis management along with a plan for healing. In the safety of the office feelings of both partners must be explored and acknowledged. A recounting of what happened is the first step in laying this trauma down into the context of the relationship. Couples usually want to know what to do next to get through this and I share what I have seen work in the past. Therapy proceeds in a parallel fashion. At one level we always touch on the hurt partner’s processing of the trauma, progress, setbacks, recent triggers, additional questions. At the same level we touch base with the experience of the partner who has inflicted the damage. It is a challenge to him/her to be the healer here. Have patience, do what is required to reassure, steps taken to rebuild trust, stand in the fire for a while. At a different level in the parallel process we begin to touch base on the relationship and what may have contributed to the environment where the infidelity occurred. If we do this too quickly, it is often perceived as looking for excuses. Many times there are questions of individual growth and development that have contributed and individual counseling can be helpful. It is a roller coaster of emotions through the fog…but I have seen couples come out the other side saying they have a closer, more honest relationship that may have never developed, but for this crisis.
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