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970 W Valley Pkwy #101
Escondido, CA 92025

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How to Treat Sex Addiction and Infidelity Effectively in Couples Therapy

  • Friday, May 21, 2021
  • 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
  • ZOOM


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How to Treat Sex Addiction and Infidelity 

Effectively in Couples Therapy


Sexual addiction and infidelity can be a very common problem when working with couples. The self-destructive and relationally destructive nature of both of these acting out behaviors tears many relationships, marriages and families apart. The defense mechanisms often link back to unresolved early attachment trauma and/or sexual abuse that the patient has experienced.

There is an important distinction between sexual addiction and infidelity. Sexual compulsivity is an addiction. Infidelity is not considered an addiction unless it becomes compulsive in nature such as serial affairs. Both of these acting out behaviors are a defense mechanism that cause deep relational trauma between the couple and have devastating consequences to families. In order to begin the healing process, we as therapists must learn and help identify the cluster of defenses that is so commonly used with sexual addiction and infidelity.  As we do that, we can help patients see the destructive ways in which they have hurt themselves and their loved ones. A key cornerstone for relational healing is to help them to face and feel their avoided, painful emotions along with the painful reality of what their acting out has done to their relationships and to themselves.. When a patient can feel honest guilt and remorse for the pain they have caused to their partner and to their lives; that is an important step toward reparative healing for the couple and family and brings hope.

There are certain key factors that a couples therapist must facilitate to effectively treat the relational betrayal/s that has caused the relational trauma.  One major key factor is how to judiciously use a therapeutic disclosure for optimal rebuilding of trust and creating emotional safety. This type of work aids in safe guarding the continual healing and repair that is required for the couple to heal both individually and together. How to heal and repair the relational trauma effectively will be the focus of this presentation. 

Educational Goal:

1. Increase knowledge of what both sexual addiction and infidelity is and how it often develops from early attachment trauma and abuse.

2.   Increase knowledge of the defense mechanisms involved that perpetuate the suffering.

3.   Increase knowledge of how best to treat sexual addiction and infidelity effectively with couples using a therapeutic disclosure necessary for facilitating relational healing and repair along with protective factors for increased emotional safety and trust building.

Learning Goals:

1. Identify the common cluster of defense mechanisms responsible for the patients and couples suffering and how to turn patients against these harmful behaviors.  

2.   Learn the important difference between shame and guilt and the important role of guilt that leads to remorse and the start of repair for couples.  

3.   Understand what a therapeutic disclosure is and how to use it effectively with couples.

Members Free

Nonmembers $20

1.5 CE Units will be awarded

Tami Chelew, MA LMFT has an active private practice in Solana Beach. She also teaches and supervises trainees in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP) and in Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP). She serves on the board of the International Experiential Dynamic Therapy Association. She has been married for 31 years to her college sweetheart. She has two grown daughters and two grandsons. One of their daughters is also a MFT in California. Tami offers Couples Intensives to those couples in high conflict. Marriage and family has been Tami’s passion from the get go in helping couples heal. She also sees individuals and families. She loves walking on the beach for her own self care and spending time with her family.


970 W Valley Pkwy #101
Escondido, CA 92025

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