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Is your partner “screwing around” on the Internet?

It’s important for therapists to keep up to date. The trouble is, one indicator of the vast literature on “couple therapy” produced over 300,000 hits today.  As troublesome as it is to keep up to date, it is possible for therapists to read a few key journals that focus on their areas of interest. Being that couple therapy is my most favorite focal point, I read the widely referenced Journal of Marital and Family Therapy.

Well over a billion people now use the internet worldwide. As a result, more and more partners are complaining of internet infidelity. I keep my eyes open for new research concerning this key topic in couples therapy.

When I saw a study of Internet infidelity in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy published as recently as February 9, 2012, my interest was sparked. The study conducted in-depth interviews of 15 therapists with experience treating Internet infidelity and the interviews were analyzed for basic themes used in treating this problem.

In summary, the study reports that prevalent themes therapists focus on during treatment of internet infidelity include: 1. Developing physical boundaries, 2. developing psychological boundaries, 3. managing accountability, trust, and emotional escalation, 4. Increasing client awareness of the causes of the Internet relationship, 5. assessing the couple’s context and readiness for change, and 6. working toward forgiveness.

Although this was a small study, some of the themes are easy to recognize as useful when treating any concerns around infidelity. In support of the themes, my own treatment approach includes attending to interpersonal boundaries, assessing whether clients are ready for change, and building awareness around desires and attitudes towards exploring sexuality with those outside the marriage.

To reference the article, go to:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1752-0606.2011.00275.x/full

Stay tuned in coming weeks for more about how to improve your satisfaction with your intimate relationship.

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