6 strategies to address infidelity in couples therapy
Aug 25, 2022
When, due to infidelity, the love bond that unites two people is broken, the courtship or marriage enters a state of declared crisis, evident to both parties, which is impossible to to ignore. Therefore, if this experience does not lead to an immediate breakup, it is very important to seek professional psychological support in the form of couples therapy.
In this article We will see several of the intervention strategies used in couple therapy in the face of this type of crisis linked to infidelity, based on the cognitive-behavioral therapy model. In this way you will see that by combining different techniques, it is possible to give very valuable support to those who are looking for ways to reconfigure their way of living, communicating and loving each other.
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How are infidelities approached in couple therapy from the cognitive-behavioral paradigm?
Infidelities are usually one of the saddest and most unpleasant episodes in the lives of millions of people who they have suffered throughout their lives, but that does not mean that it means the end of the relationship in all cases.
In this sense, going to couples therapy is one of the best ways that exist for those couples who have suffered an infidelity by one of the parties or by both and wish to move on together. In fact, infidelities are one of the most common reasons for consultation in this area.
As in any other type of therapy, the couple therapist is a specialist in providing a series of guidelines for behavior, key ideas and contexts of honest communication that can help the couple in their most difficult moments and solve any type of conflict or psychological blockage that infidelity has propitiated.
Through cognitive-behavioral therapy, the aim is to help people modify patterns of behavior and management of thoughts and emotions so that, through this double way, living the relationship in a qualitatively different way, better and more adapted to the needs and difficulties of both, also in the cases in which there have been infidelities.
Psychology professionals who are based on cognitive-behavioral therapy have established, based on long decades of study of this phenomenon, a series of strategies to use for Successfully address infidelity in the context of couples therapy; We will see them summarized below.
1. Identify the type of infidelity
It is clear that not all infidelities are equally painful or share the same characteristics among them. That is why one of the first tasks that must be carried out in therapy by the therapist is to help identify the type and nuances of infidelity.
This is necessary so that both members of the couple are aware of what happened, how far it has infidelity has arrived and what behaviors are considered as a betrayal by one or another part of the partner.
In this way we will be able to clarify what happened, both members will be aware of the behaviors and intentions of the other person and we will be able to start working from a shared base.
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2. Clarify the intensity of the damage
Clarifying the intensity of the damage received by both parties is also a good way of sharing what happened and to make it clear who is in a position to try to repair the damage caused, in the event that the couple wants to continue meeting.
since not all people experience the damage of infidelity in the same way, it is necessary that each member of the couple share everything that she feels after the infidelity, what is the degree of affectation of her and her reasons for feeling that way.
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3. Explore underlying causes through dialogue
Dialogue is the best tool we have in couples therapy so that each party can express themselves and reach a common understanding that helps save the relationship.
In this section it is necessary let the person who has been unfaithful express themselves freely to understand her way of seeing what happened and the type of needs that she was trying to cover, not necessarily of a sexual nature.
The fact that the person who has been unfaithful feels that her feelings and intentions are also taken into account will contribute positively to clarifying the causes of infidelity.
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4. Have as main objective the awareness
The awareness of the problem, that is, the fact of realizing what happened, especially by the person who has been unfaithful, should be one of the main objectives of the therapy.
In addition to that, also more involvement, effort and dedication to solve things should be expected from those who have been unfaithful that of someone who has suffered infidelity, as long as there is a will to save the relationship.
5. Goal setting
During therapy it is also important the establishment of sub-goals to qualitatively transform the routine of living together as a couple and start a new cycle of hope for both parties in which any new problems that may arise can be resolved in a healthy way.
These sub-goals to which both members of the couple commit themselves can be of a diverse nature, be they behavioral or behavioral patterns or related to acquiring greater cognitive flexibility and predisposing to have a more positive attitude in discussions or exchanges of opinions.
6. Monitoring of the process during the following sessions
Monitor the therapy process in the successive sessions through which it is transiting It is the best way for the therapist to detect possible concerns, frustrations or unforeseen problems that have arisen in any member of the couple.
Likewise, it is also advisable to assess the progress made by the couple towards the final goal and find ways to motivate the couple and encourage each other to progress made.
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