chapter  11
The Trauma of Infidelity
ByButch Losey
Pages 36

This chapter focuses on how to assess the level of trauma symptoms and how to create a treatment approach to help manage the symptoms. The couple can be told that forgiveness is a natural response to trauma. It makes sense to consider how the post-traumatic stress of the discovery or disclosure of infidelity can be addressed in therapy. Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms are grouped into four groups: intrusive symptoms, avoidance, negative changes in mood or thinking, and changes in emotional reactions. Clinician mindfulness can help couples identify triggers that can potentially ignite trauma responses and incorporate this understanding in treatment. Baucom et al. suggest that for situations involving an ongoing affair, the clinician should work to promote the participating partner's agreement to limit or suspend involvement with the outside person on an intermediate basis. Couples talk about the difficulty and distress of going to certain places, hearing certain songs, and encountering other experiences that are strong reminders of the infidelity.