Unfaithful: Stories of Betrayal

A Major Cable Network is seeking couples and therapists for the new documentary series Unfaithful: Stories of Betrayal which explores the deep internal issues involved with marriage and infidelity. If you’re interested in participating, you can find out more by clicking this link.
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The Broken Language of Divorce

How does the language concerning divorce -- statements like an "intact marriage" or a "broken home" -- affect our thinking? Most writers or editors can discuss how a specific word or metaphor can bring a concept to life. In psychology, narrative theories posit that our perceived realities come from our own and cultural stories. Certainly the language describing married families as "normal" or "intact" and divorced families as "broken" creates only stereotypes -- it implies that marriage is good and divorce is bad, regardless of how both conclusions can fly in the face of reality. Vancouver psychologist Susan Gamache, PhD, in her recent article A New Metaphor for Separation, Divorce, and Remarriage in The World of Collaborative Practice, discusses the effects of the dysfunctional language used to describe divorce in our society and proposes a better alternative.

Certainly, a discussion about many shortcomings of our dominant narratives describing divorce, including its 1950s-era cultural biases and inaccuracies, is hardly new to the world of Collaborative Divorce. For example, as long as a decade ago, Pauline Tesler included these concepts in some of her talks, and described  their negative effects on our society. Where Gamache's article shines is in its crispness and approachability, particularly for those for whom these concepts might be new. With the precision of a laser scalpel, she quickly ablates the "metaphors" that describe divorce, noting the significant omissions and deviations in the dominant narrative from reality. She describes its shortcomings with a quick historical review of marriage and scientific studies.

After dispatching the dysfunctional dominant metaphors that describe divorce, Gamache proposes the "health and wellness metaphor," with which she intends to better describe the spectrum of realities of marriage and divorce relationships. If our language and stories shape our perceived reality, then we need a good substitute to replace our prior narrative to help change our thinking. Gamache's new metaphor for divorce wisely takes a positive step in that direction. Her article A New Metaphor for Separation, Divorce, and Remarriage is an important step towards forming a more complete story of divorce.
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