Elizabeth Lacy, LCSW
De-Escalating Traumatized Couples: Interventions for Sex Addicts and their Betrayed Partners
Elizabeth Lacy, LCSW
Date & Time
Thursday, February 15, 2024 from 11am -1 pm EST
Virtual (Zoom Video)
When a person discovers that their partner has been engaging in compulsive and secretive sexual behaviors, it creates a profound impact on the couple’s emotional, psychological, and relational life. The experience of being a betrayed partner to a sex-addicted spouse can be devastating, shattering the foundation of trust, intimacy, and all security in a relationship. It’s almost as if their partner has disappeared and been replaced with an abuser.
On the other hand, the sex-addicted partner experiences tremendous shame, guilt, and fear of losing their life. This can include their partner, children, and standing with family and friends. Often the person has been suffering in this state of addictive behaviors since an adolescent or young adult. They don’t yet know how to form healthy attachments, heal their own trauma and pain, or heal the pain they have caused their betrayed partner.
The rollercoaster of intense emotions experienced by the betrayed partner can make it difficult for the couple to navigate the healing process. They will both likely vacillate between "fight or flight" responses, oscillating between feelings of intense anger and wanting to leave, and desperately craving safety, connection, and the restoration of the relationship.
Recovery for the couple is a complex and challenging journey. The initial months of treatment following discovery are critical for a couple looking to repair the relationship.
How do we help them navigate this?
This workshop aims to provide psychotherapists with specialized training to effectively work with traumatized couples dealing with sex addiction and betrayal trauma. The treatment of these couples requires a unique set of skills and interventions to address the complex dynamics and intense emotions involved. By equipping therapists with the necessary knowledge and techniques, we can better support these couples in their healing journey and facilitate healthier relationships.
BY THE END OF THIS WORKSHOP, PARTICIPANTS WILL BE ABLE TO:
1. Enhance therapists' understanding of sex addiction and betrayal trauma: Case conceptualization of sex addiction and the impact it has on them and their betrayed partner. We will explore the underlying causes, common behaviors, and associated consequences to help the couple move forward
2. Understand the mode cycles of both the sex-addicted person and the betrayed partner.
3. Develop skills in creating a safe and neutral therapeutic environment in the first months of couples work: Therapists need to establish a sense of safety and trust for traumatized couples.
3. Develop a plan of intervention for “coaching” the couple into creating boundaries and safety on a day-to-day basis.
4. Outline a Disclosure Process to help the couple move past gas-lighting, fantasy, and lies into a more realistic trusting relationship.
5. Promote self-care, healing our own activations, and ethical considerations for therapists: Working with traumatized couples can be emotionally demanding for us. Ethical considerations, such as boundary setting, maintaining confidentiality, and addressing our own schema/mode activations, will also be addressed to ensure therapists & professionalism and well-being.
Elizabeth Lacy is an LCSW and certified schema therapist in New York City, NY. She has over 23 years of post-graduate experience in mental health as a clinical director, supervisor, trainer and therapist. Ms. Lacy
specializes in treating behavioral addictions, anxiety disorders, attachment-based psychotherapy, and couples counseling.
Ms. Lacy completed her master’s in social work and went on to earn advanced certifications in schema therapy, transformational chair work, Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT), and clinical supervision.
She has also trained extensively in third-wave CBT protocols for anxiety and OCD.
Currently, Ms. Lacy serves as Clinical Director at a newly developed international addiction treatment program in Manhattan. She also maintains a private practice specializing in schema therapy and EFT for individuals and couples. Ms. Lacy provides clinical training and supervision internationally in schema therapy and attachment-based addiction treatment.
Ms. Lacy is a member of the Sexuality, Attachment and Trauma (SAT) Network and International Society for Schema Therapy, regularly presenting at conferences worldwide.
In her free time, Ms. Lacy enjoys cycling, playing with her dogs, dancing, and traveling. She values spending time with family, friends, and her two dogs.