“What do I do now? Is there more? Can I ever trust again?” – Struggling Couple
Has your relationship been wounded by secrets and sexual betrayal? We understand and we can help. We specialize in the treatment of both couples AND sex addiction.
Helping couples through the crisis of sexual betrayal and sex addiction is complex and challenging. The right help can make a real difference in your recovery, while the wrong help can actually cause you more harm.
Your couples therapist needs to have extensive training and experience treating both couples and sex addiction. They also need to be well attuned to the trauma that follows the discovery or disclosure of sexual secrets. Not many therapists can provide this ideal balance of care.
We’re glad you found us.
Sonoran Counseling Services, led by Jeff Schultz, LPC, CSAT and PACT Couples therapist and Francesca Schultz, LPC, SEP, trauma specialist, and partner care specialist, offers couples a key balance of expertise:
- Couples expertise – Jeff Schultz has been trained and supervised by Dr. Stan Tatkin – the creator of PACT therapy (a Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy) and author of the bestselling book, “Wired for Love.”
- Sex addiction expertise – Jeff is a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT), trained by Dr. Patrick Carnes, the leader in the field of sex addiction treatment.
- Trauma expertise – Francesca Schultz is a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP) and EMDR specialist. She understands trauma.
- Partner care expertise – Francesca has specialized in the care of partners of sex addicts for over ten years.
We first address the critical issues facing couples in crisis
“I just discovered that my spouse has been lying to me. Can our relationship survive this? Will we even exist tomorrow?”
Surviving the crisis of sexual betrayal requires that the sex addict be honest, transparent, and ready to take vigorous and verifiable action – key steps toward creating the safety his or her partner needs in order to risk a return to the relationship and to rebuild trust.
Betrayal of trust
“How could he do this to me and still say he loves me? I don’t trust him now and I can’t imagine ever trusting him again.”
Betrayal strains the bonds of a relationship and forces radical change on both partners. When trust is deeply broken, it simply can’t heal perfectly and it leaves a mark the couple will always bear.
Some couples break under the strain, but many couples are transformed by the crisis. They emerge from sexual betrayal radically changed and feel closer than ever before. Our couples therapy provides a path to a secure and loving partnership.
“Who am I? Who is he or she? Is there more that I don’t know?”
The discovery of sexual secrets shakes a partner’s whole reality. She or he can no longer trust what they believed only minutes before.
Discovery is a serious threat to the partner’s reality and is often highly traumatizing. Their nervous system triggers the body’s “fight or flight” response to survive. The result may be a loop of rage, pain, or fear that overwhelms them both. Trauma therapy helps to calm this effect, and permit a sense of safety to return.
Couples recovery has to include an understanding of trauma so a space can open for both to heal and for important decisions to be made.
Early couples recovery
The couple is ready for the next steps of recovery when both feel more stable and hope has returned for the future. By then, the sex addict has established him or herself in sexual sobriety and has begun to “feel” different, to the partner. There will be a “gut sense” that trust is returning.
This stage of couples recovery is about learning how both of you work. Most of the couples we see have felt emotionally disconnected from each other for years. It’s the absence of emotional connection that slowly drives couples apart and makes them more likely to feel attacked, unappreciated, and uncared for. By contrast, emotionally connected couples feel safe, appreciated, and loved.
The work involved in this stage of couples recovery focuses on building a relational connection. Couples learn to become “experts” on each other. They get curious about each other again and are more accepting of what the other person does well or poorly; we all have strengths and weaknesses. Successful couples learn what these are, support each other in being their best, and grow their emotional connection.
Ongoing couples work to cement earlier gains and move solidly into an “us” versus an “I” mindset. If it’s bad for your partner, then it’s bad for you. You both choose to value and protect the relationship as the most important thing in your lives. You also both wouldn’t think of doing anything that would risk harming something so precious.
You won’t need our help much as you get better at each other. The length of time it takes to get here is up to you. You’ll know when you don’t need us anymore and you can always call and schedule a “checkup” if you catch a little cold.