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So Your Client Is Having an Affair...

Should You Be a Secret-Keeper or is Honesty the Best Policy?

Michele Scheinkman • 5 Comments

By Michele Scheinkman - Underlying the perceived magnitude of an affair is an idealized view of marriage as the "shelter" in our lives, with a primary function of providing emotional security and attunement. I've found it perplexing that, although we live in an ostensibly liberal and sexually permissive society, therapists typically have one-track minds regarding how to approach infidelity.

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VIDEO: What Infidelity Looks Like

All Types of Cheating Have This in Common

Tammy Nelson • 2 Comments

Of course, sexual affairs are red flags for infidelity, but there are common elements that make any outside relationship an infidelity. Sex therapist Tammy Nelson explains what they are and how to spot them.

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January Quandary: Should I Keep One Partner’s Secret in Couples Therapy?

Five Clinicians Give Their Take

Chris Lyford • 3 Comments

By Chris Lyford - Mark and his wife, Nicole, have been in couples therapy for almost six months. But Mark recently requested an individual session, where he revealed he recently shared a kiss with an old girlfriend and has plans to rekindle their friendship. He's asked his therapist to keep the whole thing a secret. Here's how five clinicians say they'd tackle the situation.

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Esther Perel's Secret to Weathering an Affair

Two Ways Couples Who Bounced Back Made It Happen

Esther Perel • 4 Comments

By Esther Perel - For several years, I've been contacting couples I've treated to find out more about the long-term impact of the infidelity that brought them to therapy. What were the useful shock absorbers that sustained the couple? Did they think that therapy had helped? I identified three basic patterns in the way couples reorganize themselves after an infidelity.

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Rethinking the Female Affair

When It Comes to Treating Women Who Cheat, Too Many Therapists Are Making This Mistake

Tammy Nelson • 2 Comments

By Tammy Nelson - Far from being evidence of pathology or marital bankruptcy, a woman’s affair can be a way of expressing a desire for an entirely different self. Sometimes, understanding an affair as an unconscious bid for self-empowerment, relief from bad sex, or a response to a lack of choices or personal freedom is an important first step toward a fuller, more mature selfhood.

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Learning to Let Go

Sometimes, Too Much Investment in a Client's Recovery Keeps Everyone Stuck

Daphne de Marneffe • 1 Comment

By Daphne de Marneffe - After decades in practice, I still find myself blindsided by certain clients in ways that both humble and mystify me. I’ve learned that if I’m going to be helpful to these clients, I have to work through something difficult in myself. Our ability to inhabit our clients' experiences is part of what makes us good therapists, but there’s always a delicate balancing act in not getting too involved.

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VIDEO: Esther Perel on the New, Uncertain Landscape of Love

What Role Do Therapists Play?

Esther Perel • No Comments

Our relational lives are undergoing a radical shift, says Esther Perel, couples therapist, bestselling author, and TED speaker. In the following video clip from her 2018 Symposium Keynote, "The Future of Modern Love," Perel explains why today's romantic landscape—and the questions we're asking ourselves about desire and couplehood—are unprecedented, and what therapists have to offer clients who come to us for guidance.

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What Attunement Really Looks Like

Step One: Confronting Your Own Limitations

Molly Layton • 1 Comment

By Molly Layton - The longer I practice, the more I'm struck with the importance of tolerant, hovering attentiveness that looks, Janus-faced, both outwardly at the client and inwardly toward the therapist's own processes.

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When Male Partners Won't Open Up

Helping Closed-Off Men See Vulnerability as a Path to Healthier Relationships

George Faller • No Comments

By George Faller - Many of our clients, especially men, believe in the traditional definition of vulnerability: a state of weakness that leads to being open to attack. But vulnerability is the language of emotionally connected beings, and like a powerful magnet, pain, doubt, fear, mistrust, and other vulnerable states bring forth new opportunities for deep intimacy and transformation, especially in work with couples.

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Should You Take Sides in Couples Therapy?

Why Psychotherapy's Views on Male Intimacy Need to Change

Terry Real • No Comments

By Terry Real - The pressure to be hard, logical, independent, and stoic all too often sets men up to be emotionally distant, arrogant, and numb to their own feelings. These aren't pathological aberrations; they're the defining characteristics of manhood in our culture. That's why I break one of marital therapy's cardinal rules. I side with the woman.

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