8 CE Hours
Presented by: Barry McCarthy, Ph.D.
Recorded workshop available via video on demand
Human Sexuality Education
Sex Therapy Education
The issue of affairs (Extra-Marital Affairs-EMA) is one of the most controversial and value-laddened in mental health. Rather than remaining stuck in the traditional model of EMA caused by a relational problem, this workshop provides a new understanding and skills to address and treat EMA. In successful treatment it is crucial to carefully assess (rather than assume) the causes and meanings of the EMA from the perspective of the injured and involved partners. Contrary to the “common sense” belief that an EMA is a symptom of a relationship problem which is likely to result in divorce, the reality is that EMA’s are multi-causal, multi-dimensional, and have a range of outcomes.
We will explore a comprehensive, multidimensional assessment, treatment, and relapse prevention model of EMA. These concepts, data, assessment protocols, and intervention strategies help individuals and couples deal with EMA’s from the perspective of the injured partner, involved partner, and the meaning for the couple and marital sexuality.
EMA is an example that “sexually, one size never fits all.” Sometimes, the EMA serves as a “wake-up call” while other times the message is that this is a fatally flawed marriage. The EMA field has been revolutionized in the past 10-20 years. Much of what clinicians learned in training has not been supported by empirical or clinical data. Be aware that EMA sex cannot be replicated in marital sex. The challenge is to create a new couple sexual style which is healthier and more satisfying than before the EMA. Sexual recovery from the EMA is a crucial treatment component.
As many as 35-45% of married (with higher rates for cohabitating and partnered couples) experiences some type of EMA -whether high opportunity/low involvement, a comparison EMA, paid or choice, in person or on-line, an attempt to find oneself, to reinforce desirability, a sign of alcohol/drug abuse, or to create a second life.
The focus for each partner is to understand the meaning of the EMA so the person and couple make a “wise decision” rather than be caught in the cycle of strong emotions and judgmental advice. If the couple continue their relationship a crucial factor in healing includes creating a couple sexual style which integrates desire/pleasure/eroticism/satisfaction. A specific, individualized relapse prevention plan is core for comprehensive treatment.
In addition to heterosexual married couples we will explore EMA with partnered couples, gay couples, bisexual plus couples, lesbian couples, kink couples, and alternative sexualities. In addition, we examine the clinician’s professional and personal values regarding monogamy vs. consensual non-monogamy. We advocate for all clients receiving high quality relational and sexual treatment.
Schedule for EMA Workshop
Confront myths and iatrogenic understandings about EMA
Four session assessment model
A “both-and” rather than hierarchical approach to EMA treatment
Detailed case study of successful EMA treatment
Use of apology letter and taking responsibility
Developing a new trust bond
Creating a satisfying couple sexual style
Affair themes vs. affair details
Comprehensive understanding of the meaning of the EMA
Create an individualized relapse prevention plan
Fatally flawed marriages and the good divorce
Cultural, family, and value factors in EMA
Variant sexual behavior pattern-acceptance, compartmentalize, or necessary loss
Sexual orientation and gender expressions
Accepting partner vulnerabilities
Autonomy vs. secrecy
Good Enough Sex model
Open, swinging, and polyamory
Value of satisfying, secure, and sexual relationship
Clinician professional and personal values
Barry W. McCarthy, PhD, ABPP, is a board certified clinical psychologist (ABPP), certified marital and sex therapist, and a tenured professor of psychology at American University. His clinical expertise focused on integrating sex therapy strategies and techniques into individual and couple therapy, assessment and treatment of the most common male and female sexual problems, and a special expertise in the treatment of sexual desire disorders.
Dr. McCarthy earned his BA from Loyola University and his MA and PhD from Southern Illinois University. His professional memberships include the American Psychological Association, American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy, Society for Sex Therapy and Research, and Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. He is a Diplomate in sex therapy earning this from the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists.
As a leading expert in this field, Dr. McCarthy has presented over 350 workshops around the world, and his extensive list of publications includes over 100 professional articles, 26 book chapters, and co-authorship of 14 books, including Rekindling Desire (2nd edition), Sexual Awareness (5th edition), Enduring Desire, Discovering Your Couple Sexual Style, Men’s Sexual Health, Coping with Erectile Dysfunction, Getting It Right the First Time, and Coping with Premature Ejaculation.
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