I found that being able to talk with another woman who has walked in your shoes has made a significant difference in healing from the betrayal.N.B., client
Why Peer Support?
Infidelity is one of the most life-altering events a woman can ever experience. Not only is her faith and trust shattered, but often she feels as though her entire life's foundation has been ripped out from beneath her. Women describe their reactions as ranging from unspeakable rage to total despair to thoughts of suicide.
Psychologists are coming to understand this as Post Infidelity Stress Disorder, a very real and traumatic condition.* Research shows that "the symptoms of many betrayed [women] are strikingly similar to the post-traumatic stress reactions of the victims of emotional, physical and sexual abuse." **
But women can survive this trauma, regardless of whether their relationship ends or mends. The ability to talk to another woman who's been through it is life-affirming. The realization that "I'm not alone -- I can do this!" can be very empowering for a woman in her journey toward healing and strength.
We Provide a Unique Service
We offer confidential, one-to-one, telephone peer support by trained volunteer peer counselors, all of whom are women who have survived infidelity regardless of whether their relationships/marriages ended or mended. Our peer counselors receive extensive training from licensed professionals in the fields of infidelity, counseling, and healing.
These incredible volunteers work with each client for weeks and months toward her personal recovery from infidelity, regardless of whether her relationship ends or mends. We use evidence-based counseling practices. why infidelity happens (it's not the fault of the betrayed partner, it's not the fault of the relationship/marriage). Our client testimonials prove our success.
We are the only nonprofit anywhere that does what we do. See our FAQs for more info. We serve women of all ages and backgrounds across the U.S. and Canada. A small, lean organization, we're based in California and run entirely by volunteers, providing 400-800+ peer counseling hours per year.
Our founder created a pilot project in November 2010, offering free telephone and in-person support in the San Francisco Bay Area to women coping with their husband’s affairs. We drew inspiration from the one-to-one volunteer peer counseling model of The Nursing Mothers Counsel, which has operated successfully in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1955. We incorporated in November 2011, and received our 501(c)3 tax-exempt nonprofit status in May 2013.
Our healing perspective is based on the research of Peggy Vaughan (The Monogamy Myth) and Anne Bercht (Beyond Affairs Network), both decades-long leaders in the field of infidelity and personal recovery. At the core of our work is the evidence-based understanding of three tenets: 1) We can understand why infidelity happens (it's not the fault of the betrayed partner, it's not the fault of the relationship/marriage); 2) We can recover personally, whether or not our relationship/marriage recovers; 3) Talking will help us heal from the trauma.
* Dennis Ortman, PhD., Transcending Post-Infidelity Stress Disorder, 2009.
** Glass, S.P. & Wright, T.L. (1997). Reconstructing marriages after the trauma of infidelity. In W. K. Halford & H.J. Markman (Eds.), Clinical handbook of marriage and couples interventions (pp. 471-507). Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, p. 473.
Peer counseling is not a substitute for guidance by a licensed mental health professional. Please seek this help if needed. If this is a true emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
Infidelity Counseling Network is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, federal tax exempt # 602135040.
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