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An integrative model for understanding and treating extra-marital affairs

Saturday, June 18th, 2022

9 am – 6 pm

8 CE Hours

Presented by: Barry McCarthy, Ph.D. 

Live Via Webinar OR Via Video Recording following the live class

$280.00

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An integrative model for understanding and treating extra-marital affairs

Saturday, June 18th, 2022

9 am – 6 pm

8 CE Hours

Presented by: Barry McCarthy, Ph.D. 

Live Via Webinar OR Via Video Recording following the live class

$280.00

Description

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.

Learning Objectives

  1. Describe the meaning of the EMA depending on relational factors, sexual factors, gender factors, and cultural factors.
  2. Explain the four session assessment protocol for a comprehensive assessment of the injured partner, involved partner, and their relationship.
  3. Develop a comprehensive treatment plan based on the goals of the individuals and couple.
  4. Discuss the EMA which is accepted by the injured and involved partners.
  5. Describe 2 ways to help the couple make a “wise decision” about their relationship, not an “emotional choice.”
  6. Explain a new couple sexual style as integral to the healing process.
  7. Describe an individualized relapse prevention plan to address vulnerabilities of both partners.
  8. Discuss how to know whether to reinforce a clear monogamy agreement or decide on a consensual non-monogamy agreement.

Schedule for EMA Workshop

9-11:00

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

11-1

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

1-2 Lunch

2-4

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

4-6

Autonomy vs. secrecy

Good Enough Sex model

Open, swinging, and polyamory

Value of satisfying, secure, and sexual relationship

Clinician professional and personal values

 

Speaker Bio:

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.