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Infidelity and Affairs: Realities, Myths and Effective Therapies

4 CE Credits/Hours - Online Course - $39.00

Developed by Ofer Zur, Ph.D.

Course includes articles by Peggy Vaughan (The Monogamy Myth), Michele Weiner-Davis, MSW (Divorce Busting), the prolific infidelity researcher, David Atkins, Ph.D., the culturally aware Michele Scheinkman, Ph.D. and many others.

Course also includes printable informational brochure (PDF file) to give to clients as an adjunct to therapy.

This course includes materials consisting of:

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General Course Description

Infidelity, contrary to the assumption of most people, is neither rare nor exclusively in the domain of men, nor does it necessarily mean the end of the marriage. In fact, almost a third of all marriages may need to confront and deal with the aftermath of extramarital affairs and women's statistics are rapidly catching up to those of men. Infidelity has become an equal opportunity affair. Even more bad news is that online affairs (through the Internet) have become extremely prevalent and, some claim, pose one of the biggest threats to modern marriages. The good news is that extramarital affairs, which have always been part of human evolution, are survivable and marriages can even grow stronger when members of the couple deal constructively with the affair.

Anthropologist Margaret Mead once suggested that monogamy is the hardest of all human marital arrangements. The statistics are there to support her claim. The infidelity of many famous people has been dealt with publicly. These include presidents (e.g., Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, Thomas Jefferson and French President Francois Mitterrand), public figures (e.g., Prince Charles, Marion Barry, Gary Hart, Martin Luther King, Jim Bakker) and actors and actresses (i.e., Spencer Tracy's life long affair with Katharine Hepburn, Bill Cosby, Sophia Loren). Correspondingly, many movies have dealt with affairs, most notably, The Bridges of Madison County, Out of Africa, The Horse Whisperer, Matchpoint, Icestorm, Closer and, of course, The Graduate.

This beginning course defines infidelity, differentiates between affairs and extramarital sexual relationships, differentiates between eleven types of affairs and articulates ways to understand and view affairs. These include individual, relational, cultural and mass media, anthropological and moralistic-punitive approaches. While most clinicians base their work on Systems Theory, Family Systems, sex research, personality theory and Social Psychology and draw on research generated by sociologists, anthropologists and evolutionary psychologists, there are some scholars who adopt a moralistic and punitive and rigid view of affairs. Their prescription for healing infidelity is that the "sinners" must fully confess and repeatedly repent and atone before the victimized and betrayed spouses forgive them. Finally, the course provides therapists with flexible ways to view affairs so they can clinically intervene in effective ways.

Educational Objectives

This course will teach psychotherapists to:

1.    Identify the different types of affairs.

2.    Differentiate between different reasons for and meanings of affairs.

3.    Summarize the individual, familial and social context factors in affairs.

4.    Apply effective ways to intervene with affairs.

Course Syllabus

  • Introduction
  • Infidelity Myths
  • Infidelity Facts
  • Approaches to Affairs and Infidelity
  • Typology of Affairs
  • Research Findings about:
    • Attitudes and Prevalence
    • Gender Differences
    • Religious Affiliation and Religiosity
    • Race and Culture
    • Length of Marriage
    • Education, Employment and Income Levels
    • Individual Characteristics and Attachment
    • Sexual Identity
    • Opportunity, Justifications
    • Clinical Intervention
  • Women and Affairs: Equal Opportunity Betrayal
  • Role of Modern Culture and Media in Promoting Infidelity
  • Four Phases in Dealing and Healing from Affairs
  • Clinical Guidelines
  • Informational Brochure for Clients
  • Bibliography
  • Online Resources for Therapists and Clients
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