Restore Intimacy

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Restoring Intimacy

The path to repair within the coupleship is possible. We find that many couples who engage in the recovery process experience a greater level of intimacy, often more so than before the acting out was discovered.

There are stages couples typically go through in the process. Initially there is a strong focus on individual work for both partners in the coupleship. The addicted person begins work to stop the acting out behavior, and develops tools to maintain sobriety. The support often includes a combination of individual counseling, recovery meetings, and participation in a group. After the initial phase of sobriety is done and honesty with self and others begins to occur, the person is often ready to begin some type of couple’s work. The person that has been betrayed also has his or her own process of recovery. We find that when the betrayed person participates, he or she has an improved quality of life experience and the entire family benefits. Sometimes the person that has been betrayed is angry that he or she now has to do this work when she or he did nothing wrong. That is completely understandable. It can feel like a punishment to the innocent party. While that is true, he or she did not cause this pain, he or she is responsible to help promote healing for oneself. Sometimes to help reduce the intensity experienced we will offer a Therapeutic Separation. This is not a legal separation, and the goal is to help each person to focus on him or herself without the frequent contact, to promote healing, and then to help the couple move back together. Most of the time we find that couples are able to make greater strides within the context of a structured Therapeutic Separation than they could have had they not had this space.

In the beginning there is often information the betrayed person does not know about the addicted partners acting out. Many couples choose to participate in a disclosure, this is a structured and therapeutic process facilitated by the clinicians working with the couple. The goal of the disclosure is to level the playing field, so there are no more secrets. We then ask the betrayed partner to write a Partner Impact Letter, to acknowledge and address the ways the acting out persons behavior has impacted him or her. This typically helps the addicted person to develop further empathy of the pain caused. After receiving and digesting the impact letter, the addicted person then writes an Emotional Restitution letter to address the ways in which he or she was deceitful, and further acknowledges that she or he recognizes the pain caused and takes ownership for the wrong actions.

By this time, a couple has been in his or her own recovery process, and has likely begun some couples work, to build empathy, work on responding to triggers, and communication styles. Once there is a newly built foundation, safety is increasing, trust is likely starting to be restored, emotional intimacy is growing, the question is then around physical intimacy. This of course is challenging with the type of acting out experienced. We have clinicians trained in guiding couples through Sexual Reintegration Therapy (SRT). In which couples explore healthy sexuality, functional boundaries, and different types of touch. This process often has many ups and downs as a lot is experienced in both partners. The focus is on presence, sensuality, individuation, expression of needs and wants, desires and dislikes, and overall respect, while overcoming shame, inadequacy, sexual performance, sexual anorexia, and the need to escape. Couples that go through this process often experience a secure attachment within the relationship, which can provide healing of earlier family of origin wounds and promotes a greater sense of wellbeing in life in general.


Restoring Intimacy
Disclosure Process
Individual Work
Partner Impact Letter
Couples Work
Emotional Restitution
Couples Group
Theraputic Separation
Couples Workshops
Healthy Courtship
Emotional Imtimacy
Sexual Reintergration
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