PSA: Concerning Marriage Therapists



While I recommend finding a good therapist while going through the trauma of adultery (and/or divorce), not every marriage therapist is equal. I can tell you that just because it says LMFT after the therapist’s name (License Marriage and Family Therapist) does not mean they are trustworthy. Even after admittedly cheating for months, my ex-wife is still an LMFT! Reading infidelity forums will make it clear that it is not uncommon for LMFTs, pastors and other such helping professions to be themselves engaged in infidelity. An example of this is in another post.

A popular professional association for marriage therapists in the United States does not consider adultery a breach in ethics for one of their therapists. To quote from one of their lawyers, “The [Association’s] Code of Ethics does not prohibit adultery per se.” They only take action if the adultery partner is a client, former client, or family member associated with a client. The other possibility is if someone can demonstrate the adultery is effecting the quality of the counseling.

It makes me sad that I could make a case to assume each therapist association member is potentially engaged in adultery as the credentialing organization is not interested in vetting out such an egregious moral breach in its membership.* One would think an organization–even a secular one–interested in helping marriages would consider adultery problematic behavior in its practitioners. Ministers get defrocked over such breaches whether or not it is with a parishioner (more probably ought to be). I guess the moral bar is much lower in the marriage therapist professional field.**
Professionally, I would never want to refer a couple or faithful spouse needing marriage or other counseling to a therapist or pastor who was engaged in adulterous behavior period. This is why I am making a PSA on my blog today.

*Personally, I would recommend finding a therapist who ascribes to Dr. Clarke’s school of marriage counseling post-adultery (information and link under “Resources”).

**Sadly, I found it difficult to find a pastor willing to confront my adulterous partner even when presented with clear evidence of said sin. This is a serious problem not limited to the marriage and family therapist field, unfortunately.



9 thoughts on “PSA: Concerning Marriage Therapists”

  1. The problem is that a cheater won’t tell you he/she is the cheater. It’s always someone else’s fault. Remember, they had no choice but to cheat because that spark was gone.
    You are taking about marriage therapists and I personally know a lawyer who run election to be a judge last year. He is a cheater who married his affair partner. His campaign said that he is a family man and pictured him and kids with a new wife. Nee wife posted on a campaign page that he is a man of honor. He wasn’t elected but it was very close.
    I wish people would just tell the truth about themselves but they won’t. If they did it in a first place there wouldn’t be a reason to cheat. But no, they still want to pretend someone who they are not and omit the truth. Amazingly, they don’t see it this way.

    1. Agreed, Mommy of two. I wish more people were walking in the truth.

      The plus side of finding a counselor who agrees with Dr. Clarke’s perspective on adultery is that they will have to agree that adultery is the problem and the adulterer/adulteress is 100% responsible for this sin. That should weed out the cheaters, one would think.


  2. Mommy- You’re right. I so wish it wasn’t that way. It’s all about image control. The funny thing with image is that you get a good image by actually having character and not doing the stupid stuff to begin with. You don’t need “image control” when you’re actually living with good character. Your life is the image, there’s no need to “control” it because it already “is.” It’s quite the crappy, cheap imitation when everything has to be edited to make someone “honorable.” I made the mistake to cheat many years ago and it was the dumbest thing ever. I wasn’t married and it was still very dumb, immature, irresponsible (the list can go on), still damaging and I was a coward and didn’t own up to it at that time as I should have. If I could go back in time I’d punch myself in the face or something. It serves no purpose to even think about editing that out of my life. I don’t need to edit, it’s there, it’s staying there, I learned my lesson, grew up and moved on.

    DM had the unfortunate, but all too common I’m afraid, encounter with 2 marriage therapists not even addressing the seriousness of adultery. His ex had admitted to an emotional affair already about a year before they started counseling. She had taken her ring off in bars to test the waters at that time. The EA guy realized something was amiss, she was sharing too much that she shouldn’t have been sharing, told her to go back to her husband and contacted DM. The first counselor said “well what does he know?” in regards to the EA guys advice to go back to her husband.

    With the second (professional, christian) counselor, she again says she took her ring off on another occasion when she took a trip abroad without DM present. While abroad she met up with the guy she had had an EA with (apparently he was in the group of friends she was seeing there), took her “married” status off of Facebook (and claimed she was just messing with settings), there were pictures of her in bars without her ring on and she said she took her ring off b/c she wanted a break from their marriage. The counselor knew all of that and took zero action, not once calling her out and only encouraged focusing on DM’s supposed “anger” issues. EPIC fail on all fronts. Oh my word. Not all counselors are bad of course but there is sure a lot of funk out there.

  3. Good post DM. The OW in my case was a LMFT and as a result I felt doubly victimized. As a marriage and family therapist she had to know the extent of the pain and damage she was causing me and my family. Pure evil.

    1. firepainter,

      Sorry you experienced that. While it does not surprise me, I am still sadden that the AAMFT sees no problem with adultery per se in their membership. One would think if one is counseling a rape victim that not being a rapist is kind of important. Guess standards are lower when it comes to marriage counseling.

    2. Firepainter-geesh! What is it with these LMFTs that go around thinking they’re doing nothing wrong?! There is a growing list of LMFTs that I’d wish would have to face repercussions and lose their license or something. :/ They must be running along with Ester or something.

  4. Thank you for this post.
    I will never be able to prove it, but I firmly believe that my ex’s first therapist helped my divorce along. I firmly believe she supported his affair and gave him the notion that if he really loved me he would not be attracted to anyone else.

    I begged him for a close to 2 years to get a new therapist, cause I just had this feeling. By the time he saw the light and found a new therapist, the damage was done and he had no interest or was just so mentally screwed up.

    These people are affecting lives and families and are promoting personal beliefs and judgements in sensitive areas with persons who are looking to them for answers.

    1. Moxie- unfortunately it’s not uncommon for the therapist to take the stand that you suspect your ex’s took. I so wish it were otherwise 🙁 Therapists cheating themselves is also not uncommon either sadly, so it very well could be that they didn’t see anything wrong b/c they themselves were justifying their own. Another survivor of infidelity on another blog had an excellent point: Therapists are bound by ethics, one of which being not to sleep with their clients. Their comment directed at a particular cheater sympathizer was: “Do you feel bound by such a duty of fidelity to your patients? Do you feel excused from this ethical duty provided you feel strong enough “existential conflicts,” a “desire to reconnect with lost parts of yourself,” or “yearings and loss” (reasons you’ve given to justify marital affairs)? Do expect your licensing board would see it that way?

      If you don’t feel bound by a duty of fidelity to your patients, please let me know in writing so the appropriate professional and legal authorities can be alerted. If so, please explain how your duty of fidelity to a stranger is more sacred than my ex-wife’s duty of fidelity to me, her husband of 22 years by a Catholic marriage that produced two children and included a complete intertwining of our emotional, physical, familial, and financial lives over more than two decades.”

      Valid point. I think that sums it up well.

  5. Ugh. Our first marriage counselor called my husband out on all his BS. My husband ran away as fast as possible. We went to another Christian marriage counselor and when he heard about the emotional affair my husband was having, he said “what is this woman giving you that your wife is not?” I honestly wanted to punch him in the face. I think he meant well but he was ridiculous. My husband thought he was great. Red flag! I refused to go back to him. I wish these Christians would get a clue.


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