Helping Couples Get Past the Affair

A Clinician's Guide

Donald H. Baucom, Douglas K. Snyder, and Kristina Coop Gordon

HardcoverPaperbacke-bookprint + e-book
February 11, 2009
ISBN 9781606230671
Price: $91.00 $68.25
351 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
February 18, 2011
ISBN 9781609182397
Price: $41.00 $30.75
351 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
March 1, 2011
ePub ?
Price: $41.00 $30.75
351 Pages
print + e-book
Paperback + e-Book (ePub) ?
Price: $82.00 $45.10
351 Pages

From leading marital therapists and researchers, this unique book presents a three-stage therapy approach for clinicians working with couples struggling in the aftermath of infidelity. The book provides empirically grounded strategies for helping clients overcome the initial shock, understand what happened and why, think clearly about their best interests before they act, and move on emotionally, whether or not they ultimately reconcile. The volume is loaded with vivid clinical examples and carefully designed exercises for use both during sessions and at home.

“It is well laid out, taking the reader through the processes required to work with couples in a step-by-step approach. It is down to earth, acknowledging the difficulties that can be experienced in this area of work, and the helplessness that the therapist can feel....The book provides guidance for therapists as they support clients in what is often a long and difficult process towards resolution of their issues....Any therapist can feel supported and real when working with this book: difficulties and anxieties are described and allowed....This is a book that really looks at the work that is needed from an honest and realistic point of view and provides sensible suggestions for moving therapy forward. It will be a valuable addition to the bookshelf.”

The Independent Practitioner

“The book provides a wealth of guidance on how to manage the acute distress of couples trying to deal with an affair. At the same time, it portrays just how difficult the therapist's job is to accompany people through their emotional turmoil in a way that does provide safety for all concerned. There is a great deal within this text that is useful for any kind of work with couples.”, website of the British Psychological Society

“It is wonderful to have a practical book addressing the dark shadow in many couple relationships. Baucom, Snyder, and Gordon are an incredibly strong team of clinician-researchers, and this book distills their collective experience into a very useful guide. As the authors point out, the discovery of infidelity is often traumatic, and managing the effects of this trauma is critical to providing effective assistance. Couple therapists of all persuasions will want this practical volume on their shelves.”

—W. Kim Halford, PhD, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland, Australia

“Infidelity can be as overwhelming to the clinician as it is to the couple. Baucom et al. lucidly explain how to guide clients through this tumultuous issue to a stronger and more authentic relationship. Informed by the authors' considerable clinical wisdom, this book is a 'must-have' for clinicians who work with couples.”

—Valerie E. Whiffen, PhD, private practice, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

“A groundbreaking book. We have long known that traditional couple therapy models are not applicable to treating couples who experience infidelity. Baucom et al. offer a revolutionary approach in which infidelity is conceptualized as a traumatic event, yet they are able to facilitate empathy for both parties. This is a delicate balance, and the authors manage it brilliantly. I have already begun using this therapy model in my private practice and teaching it to my clinical psychology graduate students, with wonderful results.”

—Erika Lawrence, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Iowa

“This book offers a lucid, fascinating, and much-needed map to the difficult terrain of affairs: how they occur and how to deal with them. It is comprehensive and full of clinical examples. Clinicians everywhere will find this book invaluable.”

—Susan M. Johnson, EdD, School of Psychology, University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

“This is a major contribution to the literature on treatment of infidelity and a book that all couple therapists should read. Infidelity is one of the most challenging presenting problems for even the most seasoned clinician. This treatment guide stands alone or can be used in conjunction with the authors’ excellent self-help book for couples, Getting Past the Affair. Integrating cognitive-behavioral, systems, and insight-oriented theoretical models, the approach is highly relevant for a wide range of therapists. In addition, the extensive session vignettes, chapter summaries, and clear writing make this a great resource for graduate courses in couple therapy.”

—Norman B. Epstein, PhD, Department of Family Science, University of Maryland, College Park

“What I love about this book is how close it stays to the ground in offering therapists a series of practical steps for working with couples traumatized by an affair. The authors draw on extensive clinical experience and research to present a three-stage model that addresses 'impact,' 'meaning,' and 'moving on.' With its sensible framework and creative techniques, this book is an ideal resource for both beginning and veteran couple therapists. I know it will be an invaluable addition to my practice toolkit.”

—Jefferson A. Singer, PhD, Department of Psychology, Connecticut College

“Baucom, Snyder, and Gordon have established themselves as leaders in the field of infidelity research and treatment. Based on sound theory and accumulating evidence, this book is a clear-headed, compassionate guide for working with the volatile emotional issue of infidelity.”

—Andrew Christensen, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles

Table of Contents

I. Preparing for Treatment

1. Conceptualizing an Integrative Treatment for Affair Couples

2. Initial Assessment and Formulation

3. Creating a Therapeutic Environment

II. Stage 1 of Treatment

4. Damage Control

5. Restoring Equilibrium

6. Addressing Emotional Upheaval

III. Stage 2 of Treatment

7. Preparing the Couple to Examine Contributing Factors

8. Examining Relationship Factors

9. Examining Outside Factors

10. Examining Individual Partner Factors

11. Complex Affairs

12. Tying It All Together: Creating a Formulation of How the Affair Occurred

IV. Stage 3 of Treatment

13. Addressing Issues of Forgiveness and Barriers to Moving Forward

14. Moving Forward

15. Concluding Comments

About the Authors

Donald H. Baucom, PhD, is Richard Lee Simpson Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research focuses on couples and marriage. Through his approximately 175 publications, Dr. Baucom has helped to shape an understanding of the role of cognitions in intimate relationships, which has contributed to the development of cognitive-behavioral couple therapy. An award-winning researcher, teacher, speaker, and mentor, he maintains an active clinical practice working with couples and individuals around relationship difficulties.

Douglas K. Snyder, PhD, is Professor of Psychology and Director of Clinical Training at Texas A&M University. Nationally recognized for his research on marital assessment and for his outcome research on marital therapy, he is the author of the widely used Marital Satisfaction Inventory. Dr. Snyder is a recipient of the American Psychological Association's Award for Distinguished Contributions to Family Psychology, among other honors. In addition to his research and teaching, he maintains a clinical practice emphasizing couple therapy.

Kristina Coop Gordon, PhD, is Associate Professor and Associate Director of Clinical Training in the clinical psychology program at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. She has served as Vice-President for Science of Division 43 (Family Psychology) of the American Psychological Association and is currently chair of its task force on empirically validated couple and family therapies. Dr. Gordon has authored numerous articles and book chapters on forgiveness, couple therapy, and dyadic processes, and maintains a clinical practice specializing in couple therapy.


Clinicians who treat couples, including couple and family therapists and counselors, clinical psychologists, social workers, pastoral counselors, and psychiatrists.

Course Use

May serve as a supplemental text in graduate-level courses.