Infidelity and Confidentiality: A Dilema for Therapists Essays

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Counseling couples who are attempting to overcome the betrayal of infidelity together pose a unique challenge to most therapists. In addition, a couple where one spouse admits to an affair to the therapist without their spouse’s knowledge can be equally distressing to said counselor. What are the ethical concerns regarding this scenario? In one case we are keeping our client’s confidences, building trust and following all ethical codes of confidentiality. In another case, we could possibly cause harm by keeping the client’s spouse in the dark about the affair. The fact that we aid the spouse in harboring this secret can backfire once the spouse finds out that we were well aware of any and all high-risk behavior that…show more content…
Current Research Due to the many incidences of extramarital affairs, the percentage of couples seeking therapy while coping with adultery is largely unknown. Even with the enormous amount of occurrences, as well as clinical research in couple’s therapy, only three earlier studies have delved into the actual usefulness that couples therapy has had on extramarital affairs (Marin, Christensen & Atkins, 2014). In the first study, Gordon et al. (2004) learned that before therapy, the spouses who were not involved in the extramarital affair had experienced advanced levels of depression and other symptoms compared to their unfaithful spouse. However, after therapy, it was revealed that they were less distressed. In the second study, Atkins et al. (2010) studied over a thousand married couples from Europe where a small percentage (27%) named infidelity as a major issue in their marriage. A year and a half after therapy, each couples marriage improved greatly, and even more so the couples who had experienced the extramarital affairs. In the last study, Atkins et al. (2005) found that married couples who had disclosed infidelity at some time during therapy began treatment with more grief than those married couples who had not experienced infidelity. In fact, married couples who had not revealed their affair at all in the course of

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