"I Don't Care, Do It Now"Oct 17, 2023
For couples who engage the process well, Formal Therapeutic Disclosure is often the greatest tools for rebuilding trust, safety and a solid foundation in marriage.
Sadly, not all couples trust the process and thus do not experience the same level of healing as those who do.
Corey and Kacie (pseudonyms) are a perfect example. This is their story.
Corey initially contacted my office for help with his marriage in crisis after Kacie uncovered some of his high-risk sexual choices. He was panicked and said his wife was demanding a full disclosure as soon as possible.
He balked at the idea of pursing therapeutic benefit over a strictly informational disclosure. He insisted on accelerating the process to appease his wife's demands so he could move back home quickly.
This was my first indicator that things were headed in a bad direction.
Then I learned that Kacie had already selected a female therapist who specialized in betrayal trauma and only worked with betrayed women. She was not interested in see a common therapist for fear of Corey influencing the therapists view of her.
This was my second indicator that things were headed in a really bad direction.
If you're enrolled in MRC, then you can easily spot the danger of this arrangement. If you are not, then protect yourself from making these common mistakes by enrolling in the Bermuda Pyramid.
I cautioned Corey that these dynamics were unwise and set them up for trouble. He insisted on moving forward to prepare a disclosure, since Kacie was demanding it and unwilling to wait.
I reluctantly agreed, secured a release of information and contacted Kacie's therapist in an attempt to collaborate about the case and address the warning signs I saw.
The call with Kacie's therapist was shockingly brief. She made it clear that her goal was to support betrayed women and did not want to be involved with Corey or the marriage dynamics.
"My client is the victim, her husband is a pervert, I'll be dam*ed if I tell her she has anything to do with their marriage problems. Let me know when he's ready for disclosure."
At this point, the alarms were blaring! This reeked of the Karpman Drama Triangle and I regretted getting involved.
Because I was early in my career, I considered it a learning opportunity and let things play out. I have since made it my practice to decline facilitating disclosures unless I am the sole therapist for both spouses to insure maximum therapeutic benefit.
Corey hurriedly prepared his sexual history in spite of warnings about the lack of therapeutic benefit in their approach. His stance was, "I don't care, she demands I do it now." This too reeked of the Karpman Drama Triangle, as he was placing himself in the victim role and claiming he had no choice.
Eventually came the day of formal disclosure. Notice, I did NOT say formal therapeutic disclosure, since it was anything but therapeutic!
Both Corey and Kacie entered the session in a state of hyper-arousal. Corey hung his head in shame and Kacie trembled with fearful anticipation.
Her therapist held Kacie's hand, stroked Kacie's hair and repeatedly spoke on her behalf. It became apparent that instead of preparing Kacie to engage disclosure from a place of security and strength, the therapist had become enmeshed with Kacie.
By painting Corey as the "persecutor" and Kacie as the "victim," the therapist had become the "rescuer." (Karpman Drama Triangle)
Corey later reported that both he and Kacie described their experience as traumatizing. I fully agreed.
Every couple has the right to choose how to navigate the disclosure process. Some trust the process and some do not. Corey and Kacie did not.
Even those who do trust their guide may be misled. Kacie is one of them.
This is a true story and a powerful warning of what not to do.
While this approach may have been informational, it was not therapeutic for anyone.
Don't let this be your story... learn how to Do Disclosure Right.
- Part 1: When Is Formal Therapeutic Disclosure?
- Part 2: When Is It Best To Do Formal Therapeutic Disclosure?
- Part 3: Polygraph Exams In Formal Therapeutic Disclosure
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