Dr. Shirley Glass

Workshops, Seminars
and Scheduled Appearances

American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
Winter Institute
March 2 - 6, 2003
Palm Springs, California
www.aamft.org

Love, Sex, and Betrayal: Treating the Crisis of Infidelity

Shirley P. Glass, Ph.D., ABPP
Course Schedule: Monday - Thursday 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
This course provides 20 hours of continuing education.

Abstract

In the new crisis of infidelity, good people in good marriages are unintentionally crossing the line between platonic friendship and romantic love. Today's workplace and the Internet are the new danger zones of attraction and opportunity. Extramarital affairs that involve both sexual intercourse and a deep emotional attachment pose the greatest threat to marriages; this combined-type involvement has become more prevalent as more men are getting emotionally involved, and more women are getting sexually involved.

A survey of marital therapists identified infidelity as the second most damaging problem that couples encounter and the third most difficult problem to treat. This Institute integrates clinical experience, empirical research, and the trauma literature to provide an interpersonal trauma model for treating the aftermath of infidelity. The initial phase of recovery establishes safety, fosters goodwill and compassionate communication. Coping with post-traumatic reactions such as hypervigilance, flashbacks, and hyperarousal are handled by the couple together, as the perpetrator learns to become the healer. Exploring vulnerabilities for infidelity must include relationship factors, individual issues, and social-cultural influences. Studies indicate that recovery depends on open discussion about the affair, but many therapists discourage the betrayed partner's desire for details. The walls and windows in the extramarital triangle must be shifted so that the betrayed spouse is "inside" and the extramarital partner is "outside."

Participants will learn to:

  1. Identify the slippery slope of infidelity and validate rational jealousy.

  2. Differentiate between platonic friendships and extramarital emotional involvements.

  3. Help betrayed partners and unfaithful partners resolve their ambivalence about whether to stay or leave.

  4. Identify, validate, and manage post-traumatic reactions in betrayed partners.

  5. Help couples reverse walls and windows in extramarital triangles to create safety and establish appropriate boundaries.

  6. Foster positive resources, generate hope, and develop compassionate communication.

  7. Change the disclosure process from a truth seeking inquisition to an empathic search for meaning.

  8. Explore multi-dimensional vulnerabilities for infidelity.

  9. Recognize and confront resistance to recovery and healing.

  10. Determine the potential for further betrayal.

  11. Guide couples in appropriate forgiveness and recommitment.

© Dr. Shirley Glass