A special thank you to Brian Distelberg, PhD, and Katherine Hertlein, PhD, for their contributions to this manuscript, as well as the Loma Linda SERT clinical research team.
Toward Mutual Support: A Task Analysis of the Relational Justice Approach to Infidelity
Version of Record online: 1 AUG 2012
© 2012 American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
Journal of Marital and Family Therapy
Volume 39, Issue 3, pages 285–298, July 2013
How to Cite
Williams, K., Galick, A., Knudson-Martin, C. and Huenergardt, D. (2013), Toward Mutual Support: A Task Analysis of the Relational Justice Approach to Infidelity. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 39: 285–298. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-0606.2012.00324.x
- Issue online: 16 JUL 2013
- Version of Record online: 1 AUG 2012
Gender, culture, and power issues are intrinsic to the etiology of infidelity, but the clinical literature offers little guidance on how to work with these concerns. The Relational Justice Approach (RJA) to infidelity (Williams, Family Process, 2011, 50, 516) uniquely places gender and power issues at the heart of clinical change; however, this approach has not been systematically studied. Therefore a qualitative task analysis was utilized to understand how change occurs in RJA. The findings indicated four necessary tasks: (a) creating an equitable foundation for healing, (b) creating space for alternate gender discourse, (c) pursuing relational responsibility of powerful partner, and (d) new experience of mutual support. Therapists' attention to power dynamics that organize couple relationships, leadership in intervening in power processes, and socio-cultural attunement to gender discourses were foundational to this work. These findings help clarify the processes by which mutual healing from the trauma of infidelity may occur and offer empirically based actions that therapists can take to facilitate mutual support.