This case study summarizes an example of individual and couple's marriage Online Counseling processes.
The process of Online Counseling starts with you, I informed J., my client; not with your husband. I was not trying to add to her sorrow, stress and anger by saying this and assured her that I was in no way implying that what she did for her "family's sake" was incorrect. I simply advised that before she could set things right for her family, J. needed to situate things right with herself first. Through our first session it became obvious that J's anger and confusion over the memory of the event was still there.
The story is about loving mother and wife that recently discovered that her husband (of 33 years) had been unfaithful. In her own words: "For the family's sake, I accepted his apology and promise that it would never happen again." She therefore encouraged her daughters to give him a second chance. This had all occurred about two months ago and things seemed to be back to normal in her household. Except that J. just couldn't forget that he had cheated on her.
J. started her Online Counseling sessions since she was worried, over anxious and stressed about whether she could truly trust him again and was concerned about being hurt again. Another issue was her fear regarding setting a poor example of tolerance for her daughters to follow in.
My experience with situations like hers showed that a period of about 2-3 sessions of Online Counseling was normally enough for most clients to move into a new and better sustainable place for their relationship, as they start to reflect on their own behavior and take responsibility for their part of the marriage that brought the spouse(s) to react as they did. It was easy for me to address HER concerns for her daughters during our first Online Counseling session. I decided to share with her MY concern: she focused on repairing her family relationship prior taking the time to begin her own personal healing. I let her know my feelings: she appeared to have been re-acting to her situation instead of dealing with it.
Psychologically speaking, I explained, it is easy to choose retaliation in time of stress, shame and anger. I did not hide my impression that she reacted to the situation by (unfortunately) making the mistake of pulling her children into the marital issues and therefore complicating things even more.
The Online Counseling process with J. confirmed the old wisdom that psychological processes do not erase memories; they heal them. This is being done by zooming in on the "WHY" and examining the fundamental deteriorating factors. Only thereafter the Online Counseling process can deal with the "WHAT NEXT" question, which was addressed via five sessions of couple Online Counseling.