Just wanna echo both of Robert22205https's suggestions (timeline and books. The timeline is not only for the BS... I'm of the opinion that it's crucial for the WS to really see the levels to which they have sunk in their actions... and then learn to combat the guilt & shame in order to find empathy for the harm caused).
I think participating in her IC is tricky - it has been for me.
One one hand, cheaters LIE. A lot. It was hard for me (as it is for many BS) to truly "get" the level of deceit a cheater may have (and then, there's the issue of flushing out what may be temporary.... or not). So, having an opportunity to tell your side of things can be important - but then step away.
On the other hand, BS participating in WS' IC can come off as parenting / controlling, etc.
If I had to do it again with what I know today, I would read how to help your spouse and some Helping Couples Heal podcast (the 1st episode/overview, the Stan Tatkin episode, and maybe an Omar Minwalla -all depends on timing and capacity to really hear and absorb it all). IOW, I'd want to educate myself on infidelity, relational betrayal trauma, etc so I had a clue what I was talking about.
THEN attend the first session with any potential IC for WS (and probably allow reciprocation). Part of that "interview" with the IC will include their perspectives on
- infidelity generally (e.g., is it a marriage problem [run] or a cheater problem [listen]. If they feel infidelity has ANYTHING to do with any action/behavior/personality or whatever of the BS - run fast).
- disclosure (e.g., does IC support WS being 100% honest about ALL A-related details IF the BS wants them? yes [listen], no [run], parsing out what's hurtful or putting parameters on the INFO [run], putting parameters on the time/place/manner [listen]. If they believe there are EVER circumstances in which it's OK for a WS to never tell a BS - run (and yes, there are ICs out there who still hold this belief. Now, there are SOME -albeit VERY few & far between - BS who wish they'd never known. I'm not in that camp, and always believe giving a BS their AGENCY is a crucial component of marriage.
- does the IC know ANYTHING about relational betrayal trauma?
- how does IC feel about all the monitoring a BS may need -esp in the early weeks/months? If they say it's patronizing and a no-no, run.
- what steps do they recommend for rebuilding trust?
- book recommendations: anything by Esther Perel or Myra Kirschenbaum, run. You can check out the book club forum on SI to get a sense of other BS' opinions are on this front. E.g., I do NOT like Janis Spring's "after the affair", but many BS do. We are all different and have different opinions. Some books are, IMO, awful no matter what. Others, may be Ok later, as some healing has occurred on BOTH sides, but could be damaging if read early on.
If the IC hasn't heard about/read Not Just Friends or How to Help Your Spouse, I would question if they have any infidelity experience (and certainly ask what they are familiar with). Lack of infidelity experience is, IMO, OK for a BS's IC, where the focus is usually - not always- trauma, healing, rebuilding trust (my most effective ICs have been all trauma - I educate them on the specifics of infidelity, but it's really not needed much... if they "get" trauma, they will easily "get" betrayal/infidelity). But, I don't think the same is true for the WS's IC where, from YOUR perspective, accountability and honesty and empathy need to be established to maintain some kind of functioning (even if just barely) relationship while they begin to work on the deficits that allowed the A to happen to begin with (hint: it has NOTHING to do with you or the M. You were in the same M and did not choose to cheat. Personally, I get irked even hearing things like "what made the WS vulnerable to have an A" ).
A CSAT (certified Sex addiction therapist) will have solid infidelity training, and the issue(s) there tend to be personality (tho many CSATs do not believe a BS should be provided 100% honesty WRT A-related details. That would be fine for many BS. For me, it would be a dealbreaker if I was not allowed to know any detail I wanted, provided that I had hashed it out with my own IC).
IC is hard to come by - so you may not be able to even FIND a solid infidelity IC, let alone get an appt or be able to use any insurance. If that's the case, then you may have to wing it for a bit and see what comes (which is kind of the whole MO of the early weeks & months after dday - a BS is doing what they can to cope, and trying to collect data based on ACTIONS of the WS, and not their words).
[This message edited by gmc94 at 1:16 PM, November 17th, 2021 (Wednesday)]