Advice for parents who have had an affair

Patricia O'Laughlin, Marriage & Family Therapist, shares advice for parents who have had an affair and the best steps to take to try to make amends with your family
Parenting Tips | What To Do If You've Had An Affair
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Advice for parents who have had an affair

If you've engaged in an affair and now your family knows what's happening ,the first thing is it's very important for you to not blame yourself. You need to take responsibility, but beating yourself up about it isn't going to help. The more shame that you produce for yourself, the harder it is for you to be there for your child. When talking to your child about the affair, it's important not to give too many details. You don't want to lie. And you want to validate that something is happening. But details are going to harm a child, especially a younger child who cognitively isn't able to understand complex ideas like betrayal. Simple statements like, "I hurt your mother or father. And this is not the way someone in a marriage deserves to be treated. And I'm working to understand how to treat them differently," is validating to a child. It lets them know that something is happening. And it also doesn't provide too many details.

Patricia O'Laughlin, Marriage & Family Therapist, shares advice for parents who have had an affair and the best steps to take to try to make amends with your family


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Patricia O'Laughlin, MFT

Psychotherapist & Art Therapist

Patricia O’Laughlin, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Registered Art Therapist, has a private practice in Los Angeles where she specializes in the “psychology of parenting”. Patricia believes that there are specific psychological issues surrounding parenting, and created the phrase “psychology of parenting” to capture these unique experiences. Patricia supports adults from the stages of deciding whether to become a parent through the empty nest. She believes that mindful parenting and conscious parenting are essential components to break intergenerational traumas and patterns. Combining traditional “talk” therapy with art therapy, Patricia facilitates a deeper exploration of the self, helping people uncover unconscious motivations and helping them be “who they are”, rather than whom they think they “should be”. Patricia received her master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and Art Therapy from Loyola Marymount University. She is trained to treat Perinatal Mood Disorders from Postpartum Support International and utilizes Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy for physical, sexual, neglectful, and relational traumas. Patricia provides individual and couples counseling to adults, teens, and children. She believes wholeheartedly that the world becomes a more peaceful place when individuals feel more balanced inside. As a therapist she wants to help both women and men find their inner balance, so they can be true to themselves and the people they love.Patricia has been interviewed for Baby Center, The Today Show, Parent City USA, She Knows,, and Pregnancy Magazine. She writes for numerous websites and parenting blogs, such as The Good Men Project and She was filmed as a “Teen Expert” for Patricia is a speaker at conferences, schools, and businesses. She is currently a part-time faculty member and teaches art therapy at Otis College of Art and Design.  

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