Friday, February 9, 2018
9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.


Ruth S. Harley University Center
Thomas Dixon Lovely Ballroom

The State of Affairs: Rethinking our Clinical Attitudes Toward Infidelity

With Esther Perel, M.A., LMFT

CEs: 6
Cost: $125

» Register for this workshop 

Sexual infidelity is generally regarded as a grave symptom of a troubled relationship. Consequently, the revelation of an affair often triggers a crisis that threatens the entire foundation of trust and connection in a couple. Conventional practices mandate that therapists should insist upon full disclosure, never keep secrets and view the infidelity as a highly traumatic event.

However, when it comes to affairs, there is no one size fits all. Our discussion will include the variations of infidelity—from one-night stands to second families, a reaction to a bad relationship, simple immaturity or basic humanity.

In this workshop, we will approach affairs from a dual perspective of growth and betrayal, an act to balance emotional and erotic needs, or an attempt to stabilize and not only harm the primary relationship.

We will briefly cover the complexities of marriage, sex, intimacy and monogamy in couples from a multicultural, nonjudgmental perspective. The motivations underlying affairs and their possible meanings in different relationships, both heterosexual and gay will be explored, as will the benefits and costs of truth-telling and transparency, how to create a safe therapeutic environment to work with secrets and confidentiality.

We’ll address whether all affairs are traumatic, how couples can rebuild trust and intimacy, how boundaries of fidelity can be defined and justified and if some affairs can actually transform a marriage.

In this broader perspective, fidelity is considered contextually in terms of multicultural meanings and individual choice.

A three stage model for post affair recovery is laid out to help couples in the immediate aftermath of the revelation of an infidelity, to mine the respective experiences and to determine whether to break-up, simply survive or turn crisis into opportunity. We will discuss truth and accountability, detective and investigative questions, loyalty and faithfulness.

With an eye on the existential, clinical and ethical aspects involved, we will focus on how our own assumptions, values and personal experiences can influence our therapeutic work and elude the needs of the couple.

Couples therapy has traditionally focused on two partners occupying a shared space with a neutral third party, striving toward greater honesty and transparency. Couples are engaged as a unit, and therapists are discouraged from seeing partners separately lest power balances or allegiances be disturbed. What’s lost in this approach to couples therapy?

To effectively engage such issues as intimacy, sexuality and infidelity, therapists must create separate spaces where each partner can explore his/her feelings and experiences along with larger relationship dynamics. Couples therapy can best succeed in combinations of one and two.

The workshop draws on attachment and psychoanalytic theory, family systems and body-oriented approaches and applies to couples of all sexual orientations.

Learning objectives:

  • Create a safe and open therapeutic environment to manage secrets, confidentiality, transparency and truth-telling.
  • Structure the therapeutic process flexibly to help couples deal with the crisis of infidelity, if, and how to re-envision their relationship in the aftermath of an affair.
  • Master the three phases for post affair recovery:  1-The immediate aftermath of the revelation, 2-exploring the differentiated meanings of the affair, investigative versus detective questions, 3-  after the Storm: the legacy of the affair.
  • Draw the connection between attachment maps— expectations, conflicts, hope and disillusionment with intimate connections– and erotic blueprints, i.e., sexual feelings and behaviors.
  • Gain a more flexible therapeutic model to create a combination of one and two, allowing separate spaces where each partner can explore his/her feelings and experiences about the infidelity along with larger relationship dynamics.
  • Guide couples to explore the motivations behind an affair and construct the story of the affair moving from blame and crisis to understanding and opportunity when possible.
  • Support couples to draw from their new understandings of one another and the lessons learned from the affair to navigate forgiveness, redefine and restore trust and intimacy, and open up communication about boundaries, fidelity and monogamy.
  • Discuss perspectives on love and desire and help couples open up possibilities for erotic recovery post affairs. 

» Register for this workshop 

About the Speaker

Psychologist Esther Perel is recognized as one of the world’s most original and insightful voices on couples and sexuality across cultures. She is fast becoming one of the best thinkers in the healthy living space today. Fluent in nine languages, she holds a therapy practice New York City, and is a celebrated speaker sought around the globe for her incisive pulse on family, professional and communal relationships in the digital era. Her recent TED Talk went viral and was viewed by more than two million people in just a few months. Esther is the author of Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence. This bold, provocative new take on intimacy and sex was ranked as the #1 book on couples and sexuality on NPR and has become a global phenomenon translated into 25 languages. She is on the faculties of New York University Medical Center and of the International Trauma Studies Program at Columbia University 

A regular media commentator, Esther has been interviewed in leading publications including the Washington Post, the New York Times, The New Yorker and the Wall Street Journal as well as being featured in Vogue, the Guardian and the Observer and a guest on “Oprah,” “The Today Show” and CNN.


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This program has been approved for the following continuing education credits:

  • Social Workers
  • LMHC
  • LMFT
  • CASAC Renewal
  • Psychology

Successful completion for the award of approved continuing education credits requires attendance at entire training/workshop and submission of a completed evaluation form.

» See full credentialing information and CEUs

New York State Office of the Professions (NYSED) regulations require that participants must be present for the entire approved educational activity in order to receive a certificate for continuing education credits. There is no accommodation in the State regulations for late arrival, late return from lunch or breaks, or early departure. According to NYSED, in order to award social work CEUs; “When you offer a multi-day or multi-part course/educational activity, the learner must complete all parts in order to earn the certificate for contact hours, in the same way that a student must complete a semester-long course to receive college credit. You may not award partial credit for a program, even a one-day program, if the learner does not complete all requirements at that time.”

Cancellation Policy

Unfortunately, we cannot provide refunds for cancellations made seven working days or fewer before the event for any reason—or for no-shows.  We can provide credit towards a future workshop up to 24 hours before the event. After that, no credit will be issued.

Accessibility Statement

The Student Access Office ensures equal access to all of Adelphi University’s programs, services and facilities for students with documented needs. Through assistance, advocacy and reasonable accommodations, the office provides an accessible and supportive campus environment.

The Student Access Office provides cost-free assistance and services that are tailored to meet the needs of individuals based on their specific, appropriately documented needs, while preserving Adelphi’s academic integrity and high standards of academic expectations and performance

If you are a student with a documented disability and wish to request accommodation services, please submit a Petition for Reasonable Accommodations form along with the required information as detailed in the Guidelines for Documentation.

Please be aware that all decisions regarding accommodations and equal access are made in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and prevailing University Policy. 

For further information, please contact the Student Access Office at 516.877.3806 or

For further information, please contact:

Joanna Suppa, LCSW-R
Coordinator of Continuing Education and Professional Development
p – 516.877.3216
e –