"Traumatized By Counselors & Pastors"Aug 29, 2023
It's risky business to get help from professional... especially when you don't know what they don't know.
Counselors and pastors mean well, but without training and experience in navigating the complexities of Betrayal Trauma from Sex Addiction, their guidance often causes more damage than good. Matt and Susan (pseudonyms) are perfect examples.
They tried for years to deal with the impacts of Matt's infidelity, but after years of bad advice, shame-based interventions and spiritual abuse, they were both worn out from well-meaning but ill-informed professionals.
When they started with me, they were intrigued by the comprehensive, collaborative and grace-filled approach I teach in therapy and the Marriage Recovery Course.
They decided to give it one more shot... and were SHOCKED at the results!
Read their story below.
Matt struggled with porn addiction for years, eventually escalating into emotional and physical affairs. He sought help from men in his church who advised him to "pray harder and just stop sinning." Their shame-based approach only made his struggle worse as superficial behavior management only continued to feed his shame and addiction.
Susan struggled for years with betrayal trauma from not only Matt's infidelity, but also from the harmful messages she received from her faith community. She too felt shamed by messages of being a "bad Christian if she couldn't immediately forgive" and for "not giving him enough sex."
When meeting with their pastor, they were wounded again by being called "immature Christians." Feeling now betrayed and traumatized by their religious community, they began seeking help outside the church.
They started with a professional marriage counselor, assuming he would understand the complex nature of affair recovery. What they didn't realize is that marriage therapists are trained to help with communication and conflict resolution, not sex addiction and betrayal trauma. This became painfully evident when the professional counselor began advocating they watch porn together or consider swinging. Feeling shocked and again betrayed, both Matt and Susan knew it was time to look elsewhere.
Next they found a sex addiction therapist (CSAT). While this approach helped Matt limit his acting out, it did not get to the underlying roots of his addiction and did nothing to help the marriage or Susan. In fact, Susan was rarely included and received no support for her betrayal trauma. She was, however, asked to "help Matt heal" by listening to him disclose all the gory details of his multiple affairs. Susan was traumatized worse by this abusive form of disclosure than the initial discovery of Matt's infidelity. She couldn't continue and was in a state of disassociated trauma for days.
By the time Matt and Susan reached my office, they were both battered, weary and distrusting of yet another professional... and still desperate for hope! After explaining my comprehensive approach that prioritized safety for both spouses, Susan had a flood of emotions.
At first, she felt enraged by the way their CSAT handled disclosure. Then she felt relief that someone finally understood her pain and agony as a betrayed spouse. She felt hope to finally locate a professional who could help the entire complex system of Matt, Susan AND their relationship, while integrating the faith they held dear. She realized how well-meaning but ill-informed advice of pastors and counselors had caused unnecessary trauma for them both and she felt SAFE for the very first time in recovery.
Matt felt a newfound sense of hope as he began to experience GRACE for the first time ever in his recovery journey. He learned to be kind to himself and approach his addiction and relapses with a sense of curiosity and kindness... to love and accept himself as Beloved, in spite of his unhealthy choices. For Matt, this changed everything!
We spent months undoing the damage created by the professionals before me. We then followed the protocol laid out in the Marriage Recovery Course to accomplish holistic healing for the addict, the betrayed AND the marriage system while also integrating their faith along the way.
Today, they describe their marriage as "the best it's ever been" and describe each other as "the safest relationship in my life." These results don't happen by chance! They only happen by putting the RIGHT ingredients in the RIGHT order, using the RIGHT framework and doing a lot of hard work. However, Matt and Susan both deeply regret naively trusting professionals that were unqualified to help.
To avoid making the same mistake, enroll in our course, Bermuda Pyramid, to learn the pros and cons of each of the four predominant approaches to betrayal and how to integrate the best of each approach while avoiding the pitfalls.
Matt and Susan's story happens far too often, but it does not have to be your story.
Click below to do recovery right... from the beginning!
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