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CC12 Workshop 03 – The State of Affairs: Rethinking our Clinical Attitudes Toward Infidelity – Esther Perel, MA, LMFT

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Topic Areas:
Infidelity |  Workshops |  Affairs |  Couples Therapy |  Intimacy |  Sex and Sexuality
Couples Conference |  Couples Conference 2012
Esther Perel, MA, LMFT
Audio Only
Original Program Date:
Apr 27, 2012
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Sexual infidelity often triggers a crisis that threatens the entire foundation of trust and connection in a couple. In this workshop, we’ll discuss the complexities of marriage, sex, intimacy, and monogamy in couples from a multicultural, nonjudgmental perspective. We’ll explore the motivations behind affairs and their possible meanings in different relationships, both heterosexual and gay. We’ll examine the benefits and costs of truth-telling and transparency, how couples can rebuild trust and intimacy, and why affairs can actually stabilize a marriage. With an eye on the existential, clinical and ethical aspects involved, we will focus on how our own assumptions, values, and personal experiences can influence our therapeutic work and elude the needs of the couple. Combining didactic material, case studies, and video vignettes, we will lay out a nuanced therapeutic approach for working with extramarital relations, past and present, fantasized or real, disclosed or shrouded in secrecy.

Educational Objectives:

  1. Demonstrate how the therapist can create a safe and flexible environment to help couples deal with the crisis of infidelity, and turn it into an opportunity.
  2. Explore the complexities of secrets, and examine when the revelation of an affair can be helpful and when it is not.

*Sessions may be edited for content and to preserve confidentiality*



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Esther Perel, MA, LMFT, is the best-selling author of Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence, translated into 25 languages. Fluent in nine of them, the Belgian native is a practicing psychotherapist, celebrated speaker and organizational consultant to Fortune 500 companies. The New York Times, in a cover story, named her the most important game changer on sexuality and relationships since Dr. Ruth. Her critically acclaimed viral TED Talks have collectively reached over 10 million viewers.