NP0022 Who's Afraid of Couples Therapy?

This blog focuses on discussion regarding the course NP0022 Who's Afraid of Couples Therapy?

Confidentiality, Secrets, and How to Deal with Affairs with Esther Perel


Who’s Afraid of Couples Therapy?: NP0022 – Session 4


Is it possible to rebuild trust and intimacy in a couple’s relationship after a partner has had an affair? How can therapists help? Hear from Esther Perel, author of the international bestseller Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence, on how to help couples after an infidelity and the role that cultural perspectives have in this emotional situation.

After the session, please let us know what you think. If you ever have any technical questions or issues, please feel free to email support@psychotherapynetworker.org. 

08.07.2012   Posted In: NP0022 Who's Afraid of Couples Therapy?   By Psychotherapy Networker
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  • Not available avatar Joanne Loftus 08.07.2012 13:15
    Your counseling makes a lot of sense. Being an investigator seems like it can move a partner in a whole new direction. I am hung up on the word commitment and the word boundary. Tell me please what words I might replace these with. Is there kind of a permission to explore your "deadness" whenever you can't figure out what the moral high ground is?
  • 0 avatar VeLora Lilly 08.07.2012 13:16
    VeLora in San Francisco
    I really appreciate the multicultural perspective here. THe "meaning" varies according to one's cultural background. Your approach is lovely and hopeful for both parties to grow beyond their pain. THank you
  • 0 avatar Sanaa Sharnoubi 08.07.2012 13:18
    Really enjoyed your liveliness and the mastery that was evident in how you work with couples--especially around infidelity. The very last piece about the couple you took back to her first orgasm--was that what you meant or how you were illustrating detective (versus investigative) work?? I love your spirit,your experience and your wisdom. Thank you for sharing all this richness with us. Sanaa Sharnoubi.
  • Not available avatar Annette 08.10.2012 12:31
    great interview, Thank you very much. I am a European inter-cultural family and couple therapist and do very much agree with this broad and profound understanding of " affairs" and "infidelity". I changed over the years of practice ( now more than 25 years) to a much more inclusive perspective, never abandoning though my systemic and client centered backgrounds, bust constantly searching for better ways of being helpful. This includes current training in Pact ( Stan Tatkin) Thanks Esher.
  • Not available avatar Jill 08.11.2012 11:09
    Very interesting with plenty new ideas to think about. Especially telling a couple at the start that you might be privy to things that one or the other partner does not know. Somehow saying that might make it more acceptable for me as a therapist to hear an unfaithful partner lie to the other person -- maybe repetitively -- and not feel that I, too, am betraying the "victim."
  • Not available avatar Kate Creedy 08.13.2012 06:49
    Really helpful to think of the affairs of the heart as having reasons and desires that are not of one person or two people but of all those involved. As a child of a devastating divorce, listening to this analysis of the context and complexity of desire and what it propelled both participants to do, allowed me to hear differently my father and my mother's story of their divorce and my father's subsequent marriage in a more measured and compassionate way. As a therapist, the potential of distinguishing between the role of being a detective and a investigator of a different kind of relational truth seems more fruitful and will be helpful in working directly with couples around these issues so thank you for being so helpful.
  • 0 avatar Holly Severson 08.13.2012 10:58
    This was a fantastic interview, I only wish it had been longer. My mind will be busy thinking about this for days. Thank you for the information,especially the new frame for thinking of affairs from the investigation standpoint. It will be a great addition to my work with couples in my office.
  • Not available avatar Lynda S. 08.13.2012 16:54
    As a therapist that sees couples, your perspective was extremely helpful and frankly, a breath of fresh air on several levels! Your approach feels respectful, non-judgemental and therapeutically appropriate, which is really at the core of what our clients want and need from us. I was severely chastised during my supervision for licensure by my supervisor for seeing some couples in individual sessions outside of the couples sessions, which to me seemed an important step in developing a thorough understanding of the values, goals and needs of each client. Since that time I have heard more and more experienced, well rounded and extremely competent therapists take that approach and the reasons for it. Thank you for your validation regarding that therapeutic step! Your information on affairs from a cultural perspective was so helpful. I will take the time to think further about that and how I might remain non-judgemental on this issue in the therapy room. Thank you for a very instructive hour!
  • Not available avatar miriam eisdorfer 08.14.2012 11:09
    Amazing!This crystalized so many nagging thoughts I've had about reactions to public and private individuals' infidelities. I expect this to be very liberating in my own work. And Esther is so articulate and scholarly. What's the name of her book?
  • Not available avatar Andrew Schwartz 08.14.2012 11:56
    Refreshing! I am new to couples therapy and to the field in general, and this interview made me aware of just how much ideology exists in couples therapy culture -- and how much I had internalized. The permission, if you will, to work separately with each member of the couple at will, and even more to respect the possible need for a type of privacy between the members of the couple, feels liberating. Thank you for the open-minded and grounded approach.
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