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S24-206 Infidelity and Affairs: Helping Couples Heal their Broken Hearts

Total Credits: 3 including 3 Category I CE

200 Adults, Couples & Families
Robert Scuka, PhD
Course Levels:
3 Hours 15 Minutes
Target Audience:
Social Workers, LCPCs, and Psychologists



The disclosure of an affair is among the most devastating and painful experiences that couples face. It is also one of the most challenging and complicated problems encountered in therapy. This workshop will examine various forms of infidelity, the impact of its discovery on each spouse and the marriage, and issues of recovery and treatment. Some of the challenges encountered in treatment include how much information about the affair should be disclosed; how to help with shattered trust, hypervigilance, and anxiety; and how to build empathy between the partners. Some important insights that have been gained in understanding and treating infidelity and affairs will be reviewed. In addition, a framework for the treatment of infidelity rooted in Relationship Enhancement Therapy will be presented.


Robert Scuka, PhD Related Seminars and Products

Dr. Rob Scuka is a Maryland licensed clinical social worker and has been meeting the diverse and complex needs of couples, families, and individuals for the past 15 years.   

In addition to his clinical work, Dr. Rob is Executive Director of the National Institute of Relationship Enhancement® (NIRE) in Bethesda, MD, where he is also a member of NIRE’s training faculty and certified as a trainer and supervisor in relationship enhancement (RE) Therapy, the RE Program, and child-centered play therapy.  


Dr. Rob is the author of numerous articles and the book, Relationship Enhancement Therapy: Healing Through Deep Empathy and Intimate Dialogue, published by Routledge in 2005. He holds a Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) from the University of Maryland School of Social Work (1994) and has served as an adjunct faculty. Dr. Rob has a Ph.D. in Religious Studies and Philosophy from Southern Methodist University.  

Agenda & Learning Objectives


8:50-9:00 Log on 


9:00 – 10:30       

  • Broad definition of infidelity  

  • Two complimentary perspectives for understanding and treating infidelity:   

  • An Assumption-of-Responsibility perspective and a Contextual Factor perspective   

  • Vulnerability Factors within the Context of Infidelity   


10:30– 10:45 Break  


10:45 – 12:15 

  • Considerations in understanding infidelity   

  • Important questions regarding specific cases of infidelity   

  • Working with Cases of Infidelity   

  • Using Relationship Enhancement (RE) Therapy’s structured dialogue process and communication skills training as an ideal modality to help couples address all their issues, including the trauma of infidelity, in order to facilitatea process of healing.   

  • The 3 core RE skills: Empathic, Expressive and Dialogue skills   

  • Explaining the issue of confidentiality to clients in the context of couple therapy   

  • The option of Discernment Counseling when one either or both partners are not certain about committing to a therapy process designed to heal the relationship   


12:15 Questions and adjournment 



Upon the completion of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Recall two complementary perspectives in the treatment of infidelity.  

  • Identify key thematic considerations in understanding and treating infidelity, including pitfalls to avoid.  

  • Describe how to explain the issue of confidentiality in couples therapy with clients.  

  • Describe how to use a couple’s dialogue process to facilitate the couple’s work of emotional healing.  

Bibliography & References


Alexopoulos, C. (2021). Justify my love: Cognitive dissonance reduction among perpetrators of online and offline infidelity. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 1-23. 



Barraca, J., & Polanski, T. X. (2021). Infidelity treatment from an integrative behavioral couple therapy perspective: Explanatory model and intervention strategies. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 47(4), 909-924. 


Brown, E. M. (1991). Patterns of infidelity and their treatment. New York: Brunner/Mazel. 


Cornish, M. A., & Hanks, M. A. (2020). Self-forgiving processes in therapy for romantic relationship infidelity: An evidence-based case study. Psychotherapy.  


* Glass, S. P. (2002). Couple therapy after the trauma of infidelity, in Gurman, A.S. & Jacobson, N. S. (eds.), Clinical handbook of couple therapy (3rd ed.).  New York, Guilford Press. 


* Glass, S. P. (2003). Not "just friends": Protect your relationship from infidelity and heal the trauma of betrayal. New York: Free Press 


Gordon, K. C., Baucom, D. H. & Snyder, D. K. (2004). An integrative intervention for promoting recovery from extramarital affairs. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy 30: 213-231. 


Haltzman, S. (2013). The Secrets of Surviving Infidelity. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. 


Olson, M. M., Russell, C. S., Higgins-Kessler, M. & Miller, R. B. (2002) Emotional processes following disclosure of an extramarital affair. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy 28: 423-434. 


Perel, E. (2017). The state of affairs: Rethinking infidelity. New York: Harper Collins. 


Piercy, F. P., Hertlein, K. M. & Wetchler, J. L. (2011). Handbook of the clinical treatment of infidelity. New York: Routledge. 


* Scuka, R. (2005). Relationship enhancement therapy: Healing through deep empathy and intimate dialogue (pp. 263-309). New York: Routledge. 


* Scuka, R. F. (2012). Repairing a relationship imperiled by infidelity: Combining individual work, Relationship Enhancement® couple therapy and guided visualization to break through an emotional impasse. Sexual and Relationship Enhancement Therapy 27(4), 335-343.        


* Scuka, R. (2015). A clinician’s guide to helping couples heal from the trauma of infidelity. Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy, 14, 141-168. 


Shrestha, S. P., et al. (2023). Emotional dimensions of infidelity: An analysis of psychological and emotional factors affecting relationship infidelity. Jurnal Sosial, Sains, Terapan dan Riset (Sosateris), 11(02), 51-66. 


Shrout, M. R., & Weigel, D. J. (2020). Coping with infidelity: The moderating role of self-esteem. Personality and individual differences, 154, 109631.  


* Spring, J. A. (1996).  After the affair: Healing the pain and rebuilding trust when a partner has been unfaithful. New York: Harper Collins/Perennial. 


* Spring, J. A. (2004). How can I forgive you?: The courage to forgive, the freedom not to. New York: Harper Collins. 


Strean, J. S. (2000). The extramarital affair. New York: Jason Aronson Publishers. 


Vaughn, P. (1998). The monogamy myth: A personal handbook for recovering from affairs. New York: Newmarket Press. 


Vossler, A., & Moller, N. P. (2020). Internet affairs: Partners’ perceptions and experiences of internet infidelity.Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy 46, 67-77.  

Course Completion & CE Information

Category I Maryland BSWE Requirement

The Office of Continuing Professional Education at the University Of Maryland School Of Social Work is authorized by the Board of Social Work Examiners in Maryland to sponsor social work continuing education programs. This workshop qualifies for {3} Category I Continuing Education Units. The Office of Continuing Professional Education is also authorized by the Maryland Board of Psychologists and the Maryland Board of Professional Counselors to sponsor Category A continuing professional education.

Please refer to the tab "Live Interactive Webinar Policies & FAQs" for UMSSW Office of CPE policies regarding all live interactive webinar related matters.

Target Audience

Social Workers, LCPCs, and Psychologists

All those interested in Topic Welcomed

Late Fees and Refunds

The base price is $70 and includes CE credit. A non-refundable late fee of $20 is added on 05/1/24. 

Cancellations** must be received 24 hours in advance prior to the workshop to receive a refund or an account credit.

Late fees cannot be refunded or applied to  account credit. 

**ALL cancellations will be subjected to a $35.00 administration fee.**

Live Interactive Webinar Platforms




The Office of Continuing Professional Education hosts Live Interactive Webinars through two platforms: Zoom and WebEx.

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System Requirements:

  • Operating Systems: Windows XP or higher; MacOS 9 or higher; Android 4.0 or higher.
  • Internet Browser: Google Chrome; Firefox 10.0 or higher.

Our system is not compatible with the Safari web browser.

  • Broadband Internet Connection: Cable, High-speed DSL and any other medium that is internet accessible.

**Please have your device charging at all times to ensure that your device does not lose power during the webinar.


Course Interaction Requirements:

To participate in Live Interactive Webinars, you MUST have a device that allows you to view the presentation on screen and hear the instructor at all times. We do not allow participants to call-in from their phones or mobile devices and solely listen to the presentation. Participation in Live Interactive Webinars is mandatory.

Webinar Policies & FAQs

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ADA Accommodations

If you are requesting ADA accommodations, please contact our office via email at least two weeks prior to the workshop date. Requests after that date may not be fulfilled.  

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