March was a very busy month for me, including two speaking engagements where I had the opportunity to talk to groups about partners and trauma. While this is often taxing, it also has the effect of re-igniting my passion – advocating for the needs of this special group of hurting people.
In Atlanta, I presented a day-long seminar hosted by Cornerstone Profession Counseling. This seminar provided a powerful opportunity for therapists and partners to gather together for one cause: the traumatized and victimized partner. I had the pleasure of meeting with a group of therapists who are like-minded and actively helping partners outside of a model that automatically labels the partner as co-dependent. I also met a representative of the partner’s advocacy group Partners of Sex Addicts Resource Center (POSARC) that seeks to offer information, education and support to partners through their online resources. I also had the honor of meeting individual partners who were there seeking validation, support and a voice. These voices are crying out to be heard.
On March 23rd, I had the opportunity to be with a great group of church pastors and lay leaders at Cincinnati Christian University’s Journey to Wholeness conference, sponsored by the University’s Masters in Counseling Program. The guest speaker, Mark Laaser, spoke on the need for the church to be a safe place to talk about sexuality and sexual brokenness. In my workshop titled What about the Spouse? , I spoke of the invisibility of the spouse or partner’s wounds and encouraged those in the church to pay special attention to the issue of betrayal and trauma. I also warned against offering advice or information that is further wounding to these already hurting women. The Church needs to hear and respond to the voices of partners in respectful ways.
There is power in these joined voices.
Therapists, pastors/church leaders and partners need to come together to help fashion effective responses to those battered and bruised by sexual betrayal and addiction in their relationships.
A method of pulling together and training professionals to respond to partners is in the process of development. I encourage you to stay tuned for more information!