Recovering From an Affair in a Holistic Way

Most Couples Wait too Long

As a licensed marriage and family therapist, I understand the immense pain and betrayal that can result from an affair within a relationship. However, I also know that it is possible for couples to recover and even strengthen their bond after experiencing infidelity.

Research tells us that most couples wait approximately six years before seeking the help they need. When timing is everything, this is not great news. Also, if you wait too long, motivation can wane to the point of diminishing returns. So consider that there’s no time like the present to seek help.

Utilizing the Best Trainings to Give You What You Need

As a couples therapist, I don’t come with an agenda of how your relationship needs to go after an affair. I have treated couples who decided to stay together, and others who have decided to separate or divorce. Rather than presume to be the expert on your life, I help you reach consensus on what you want and provide valuable support and guidance to get you there..

I provide couples recovering from an affair the listening, tools and space they need to navigate complex emotions and challenges that arise in the aftermath of infidelity.

I call my approach one of an integral therapist, someone able to use a handset of tools to help couples navigate the difficult process of healing and rebuilding trust in the aftermath of an affair. For me, an integral approach to therapy is centered on the belief that individuals are complex and multifaceted, with physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects that all play a role in their overall well-being. See more here:

I utilize my training in Gottman Couples Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for Couples, Trauma Incidence Reduction, Internal Family Systems and Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFIT). This holistic approach recognizes that healing and growth can only truly occur when all aspects of a person are considered and addressed.

Dealing with Big Emotions

While each couple’s situation is unique, what’s common after affairs is the need for the couple to find ways to peacefully co-exist while each partner explores strong feelings — like hurt, anger, guilt, sadness, shame, and confusion — that may arise in the aftermath of an affair.

Early on with clients, often at intake, we discuss how betrayal such as an affair can be the kind of traumatic event that leads to symptoms of PTSD (hypervigilance, agitation, impulsive actions, flashbacks, waves of intense emotion) in the betrayed spouse. What the betrayer may call “out of control” behavior is more likely a dysregulated stress response on overdrive, which can happen at the snap of a finger and make communication more volatile.

The betrayer often cannot tolerate the intensity of emotion and may experience a predictable desire to fight, fly or freeze. Without psychoeducation about the trauma of betrayal, the tensions can push the couple away from each other, thwarting the parts of them that long to return together and connect.

Depending on the intensity of symptoms, the suffering partner may be referred for individual therapy or a medical/psychiatric consult, where appropriate, since the individual healing is often essential to progress on the relationship front. While the betraying partner may desperately want to move forward and past the mess, until sufficient details of the affair are uncovered and dealt with, the betrayed spouse often can hardly get past the affair, much less move on.

Assessing the Situation Using The Gottman Relationship Checkup

As the couple develops rapport with me, and as they manage the day to day out of session, we address issues of trust, safety, transparency, damaged bonding, and related fears and concerns impacting communication and forgiveness.

I like to assess the couple’s status using the Gottman Relationship Checkup, a clinical tool that consists of 337 questions about friendship, intimacy, how well you know your partner, how you manage emotions and conflict, how you share your values and goals, and what gives meaning to your lives. It was created by ​Drs. John and Julie Gottman ​in collaboration with The Gottman Institute ​and ​Affective Software Inc. Check it out here:

The assessment currently costs $39 (includes both partners), can be completed online, and yields a comprehensive report that provides valuable clinical information pinpointing specific strengths and challenges in the relationship. It also suggests actionable, research-based recommendations for treatment.

Reconnecting One Step at a Time

Recovering from an affair does not happen overnight. The betrayer will earn reconnection one step at a time, usually with better results when they open up candidly and take ownership for what happened.  To assist couples recovering from an affair, I utilize a variety of techniques in my work, including interventions from the Gottman Couples Method, DBT skills, mindfulness, and hypnosis. These evidence-based practices can help couples regulate emotion, better see problems and solutions from multiple perspectives, and understand their communication styles, patterns and defenses.

When there’s been sufficient atonement for the betrayal, couples identify and address underlying issues that may have contributed to vulnerability in the relationship, and work to develop trust, intimacy, healthy communication skills and limits/repercussions to prevent future infidelities. I often recommend books for them to read for more information. For more on how I work with Affair Recovery Using Atone, Attune, Attach, read here:

I recommend couples learn to soothe themselves and each other, to tolerate intense pain that can arise from a betrayal, and to learn skills to mindfully communicate, manage their emotions and reactions, and begin to rebuild a sound relationship. To see how I incorporate DBT Skills into couples therapy, read here:

It’s important to note that the process of recovering from an affair can sometimes be a long and difficult one, and it’s normal for couples to experience ups and downs along the way. Not all couples make it, but it seems important to most to give couples therapy a try before giving up on the relationship. I’m here to provide a supportive and non-judgmental space for couples to explore their emotions and work through the challenges of affair recovery, so the partners can heal and rebuild their relationship, or find ways to move on.

If you or someone you know could use support dealing with the aftermath of an affair, please call me at 954.247.8120 or contact me here: You don’t need to suffer alone.


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