12 May Is Couples Therapy Really Effective After Infidelity?
(and why healing emotional trauma should be your first step)
When your husband cheats, therapy might seem like the natural first step on your healing journey. But does it really provide the answers you need to move forward in your marriage?
As a relationship expert specializing in helping married women overcome their husband’s infidelity, I’ve seen too many women throw in the towel on their marriage, unable to shake off the images, replays, and lingering distrust even after years of therapy.
The question is, how can you determine if therapy is helping or hindering your healing process? And what’s the missing piece that traditional therapy often overlooks?
In this blog post, I’ll take you on a deep dive into what your therapist probably isn’t telling you – and why it’s crucial to your healing after infidelity.
The Unseen Impact of Infidelity: Couples Therapy may help you understand why infidelity occurred, but it doesn’t necessarily focus on releasing the emotional trauma that occurred when you discovered the infidelity.
Emotional trauma, defined as events or experiences that leave us feeling deeply unsafe and often helpless, affects three parts of your brain: the Prefrontal Cortex, the Amygdala, and the Hippocampus.
Understanding the impact of emotional trauma on these brain regions can help you comprehend why therapy might not be as effective as you expect.
The Prefrontal Cortex: Losing Control of Your Emotions The prefrontal cortex is responsible for your ability to choose different emotions and respond to situations that represent who you are. When hit by emotional trauma, you might feel like you have no control over your thoughts or reactions, leading to out-of-character behaviors.
The Amygdala: Overreacting to Threats The amygdala is responsible for detecting threats and triggering fear-related behaviors. However, emotional trauma can make the amygdala hyperactive, leading to overreactions to harmless stimuli.
The Hippocampus: Blurring the Past and Present The hippocampus is involved in learning and memory. Emotional trauma can blur the lines between past traumatic experiences and your present reality. This results in avoidance of situations that remind you of the trauma, and difficulty in trusting your husband’s sincerity in his present actions.
The Unseen Consequence: Replicating Trauma Cells If emotional trauma is left untreated, trauma cells will continue to replicate in the body, making it increasingly difficult to control bouts of anger, fear, resentment, and anxiety. This is why even after years of therapy, many women find themselves easily triggered by seemingly innocent events, such as a certain song on the radio, which sends them spiraling down into distress.
Living in a Heightened State of Alert: Emotional trauma can cause us to live in a heightened state of alert, always ready to hit the panic button. While this heightened alertness may be helpful in situations of immediate danger, it becomes physically and mentally exhausting when it’s a constant state of being. It prevents you from letting down your guard and just breathing.
Why Traditional Therapy May Not Be Enough: As I’ve mentioned, traditional therapy can help you understand why infidelity happened, but it doesn’t address how to release the emotional trauma from your body. It fails to equip you with the tools you need to heal and rebuild trust.
With the women I work with, I never ask them to tell me about the infidelity because they’ve retold their story a hundred times already. Repeating the story only causes them to relive the trauma. Instead, I give them a clear plan to move forward so they can wake up from the nightmare they’ve been living for way too long.
The First Step: Clear Your Emotional Trauma
To truly thrive after infidelity, clearing your emotional trauma should be your first step. By doing so, you’ll be able to approach your marriage from a clear and confident state, no longer constantly questioning your husband, looking at his phone, withholding intimacy, or waiting for him to prove his commitment before you make an effort.
Therapy doesn’t work effectively after infidelity until your emotional trauma has been cleared. Clearing your emotional trauma allows you to reset your biological stress response, which is crucial to reconnecting and rebuilding a strong marriage from a place of true healing.
I’ve developed a simple 3-step blueprint for healing emotional trauma after infidelity. If you’d like to check it out, you can access my free masterclass.
In the end, remember that you’re not alone. There is help and there is hope, and it begins with healing from within.