Dianna's Couples Case Study
Heather and Tom sought counseling with Dianna after Heather found pictures of other women on Tom’s phone. They both wanted to understand this painful event and to see if they could continue with their marriage. Through counseling, much more was revealed about his infidelity. Dianna worked with them first to address the infidelity in order to help them process the current crisis. This was a fire that had to be put under control before any other work could be done. She worked with them on how much and what to reveal to their kids. She discussed with them ways in which to manage their day-to-day interaction and gave them tools to talk about what had happened in a way that would minimize further damage.
The first several sessions involved setting boundaries and rules for communicating around the painful subject. Heather was allowed to grieve the marriage that she thought she had and process the pain from the break of trust. Dianna worked with Tom to understand his actions and what thoughts and feelings drove him in a direction away from his marriage. With each session, Heather and Tom realized that they wanted to continue with their marriage and committed to more counseling. First Dianna helped them to gain understanding and empathy for each other’s perspective with unresolved pain from past events and experiences with each other. Next she taught them ways to communicate and have conflict that would increase their connection instead of causing damage to the relationship.
Tom and Heather each week between sessions worked on communicating in the way that they were taught even though at first it was awkward and difficult. They discussed the road back to trust. This involved Tom being open and transparent and acting in ways that were trustworthy. Heather was asked to begin working toward surrendering the pain and leaning to trust again. Dianna reminded them that the accumulation of new, positive experiences would begin to add up and replace the pain of the affair. Heather and Tom did not realize until they went through counseling just how little they communicated about what they thought and felt about each other. They only talked about behaviors and kept communication at a surface level. How are the kids doing in school? Who will take them and pick them up? What do you want to do this weekend? Where should we go for vacation or what bills are due? They now discuss with each other what they love about their jobs or what makes them frustrated. They exchange texts on a regular basis expressing love. They offer words of gratitude for the simplest of things. Their marriage is now stronger and more fulfilling then it was before the affair.