Many therapists have hidden or sometimes unconscious biases regarding infidelity. Unfortunately, there is no generally accepted approach for treatment, so therapists can have different methodology. If your therapist is not familiar with the latest research, they may be more vulnerable to imposing their own personal opinions and faulty theories. Regrettably, if you are having a lack of progress it could be indicative of therapy being ineffective or creating more problems.
Ask yourself these questions of your therapy:
- Affair Avoidance: Does your therapist allow the betrayed partner to ask questions regarding details of the affair? It's a problem if the therapist makes comments such as "Let the past go" or "you don't need to know every detail". It's important for the betrayed partner to know details to clear up assumptions, misperceptions, and long-held secrets. Silence about the affair will keep a wall between you, but talking about it frees some boundaries and allows you to become closer.
- Finding Fault: Are you feeling the therapist blaming the betrayed partner or unfaithful spouse? You might be hearing "you must have known this was happening, it was right in front of you" or "you damaged everyone with the affair". In reality, your therapist should help you gain awareness of the vulnerabilities for the infidelity.
- Opinions: Is your therapist interjecting their personal opinions onto your relationship? For example, "You shouldn't stay together simply for the sake of the children" or "Leave if this is proving too painful". There should be a safe and non-judgemental space to decide whether you want to repair the relationship or not.
- Structure and Direction: Evaluate whether you are making some progress or are totally stuck. Most therapy does get worse before it gets better. But, if the therapist is providing little to no feedback or direction, it may be time for a change.