|Clinical Excellence Alan Sroufe Mind/Body Attachment Ethics Couples Brain Science Anxiety The Future of Psychotherapy Narcissistic Clients Community of Excellence David Schnarch Etienne Wenger William Doherty Mary Jo Barrett Couples Therapy Attachment Theory Diets Great Attachment Debate Wendy Behary Symposium 2012 CE Comments Gender Issues Trauma Clinical Mastery Future of Psychotherapy Men in Therapy Linda Bacon Mindfulness Challenging Cases|
|Foreign Affairs - Page 3|
Pittman was followed by Emily Brown, Janis Abrams Spring, Don-David Lusterman, Shirley Glass, and Kristina Gordon, Donald Baucom, and Donald Snyder, all of whom added ideas about how to deal with the impact of affairs in couples therapy. Their approaches, which incorporated in differing degrees elements from trauma theory that were dominant in the 1990s, emphasized the shock of revelation and discovery, the centrality of confession and truth-telling, the critical need to make decisions about the third party, and, eventually, forgiveness and repair. Most of these authors shared the view that an affair is always a symptom of problems in the marriage.
These assumptions—that affairs are traumatic and symptomatic—inform the work of influential couples therapists today, such as Susan Johnson, the developer of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, for whom an affair represents a "broken bond." Underlying the perceived magnitude of the rupture is an idealized view of marriage as the "shelter" in our lives, with a primary function of providing emotional security and attunement. Within these expectations of marriage, affairs are always profound attachment injuries, which require an intense reparative process.
The impact of an affair can be devastating, but it can also be neutral or positive. In Sexual Arrangements: Marriage and Affairs, published in London in 1992, psychologist Janet Reibstein and reproductive behavior researcher Martin Richards proposed that the impact of an affair will vary according to what kind of relationship it is—a one-night stand, a purely sexual liaison, or a long affair of the heart—and whether it's disclosed, undisclosed, or unintentionally discovered. Considering the possibility of a positive impact, individually and for the couple, they explain: "Affairs have brought people increased self-esteem, more sexual conÞdence, more insight into how one is with the opposite sex, a wisdom about relationships, and a greater sense of autonomy. . . . Through affairs, a redefinition of marriage can evolve; and there may also be a revaluation of what is possible and desirable." In writing about gay affairs, psychologist Elizabeth Kassoff has reinforced these points, saying, "Affairs can end in heartbreak, or in wisdom and renewal. Certainly, many people in long-term relationships have been able to use the experience of an affair to remind themselves of both the fragility and renewability of their bond."