Home Book Reviews The Dynamics of Infidelity: Applying Relationship Science to Psychotherapy Practice

The Dynamics of Infidelity: Applying Relationship Science to Psychotherapy Practice


Reviewed by Lucero Smith

Infidelity can cause problems in any monogamous relationship, and couples often approach psychotherapists with these issues. With this book, Josephs aims to offer a practicable, evidence-based treatment plan that, in his view, is currently lacking in the field. Based on his experiences with patients, Josephs found that the available research was insufficient for the purposes of providing patients with holistic treatment that truly addressed the variable roots of infidelity. Geared towards psychotherapists and other mental health professionals, this book presents an thoroughly-researched, multifaceted treatment for infidelity.

The book is comprised of an introduction, ten chapters, and a conclusion. In the introduction, Josephs includes an overview of the book, explaining how he came to explore infidelity and briefly examining infidelity from multiple angles. Throughout the introduction, he maintains that treating patients who have experienced infidelity, one way or another, is challenging for a psychotherapist. Whether treating the couple or an individual who has been affected by infidelity, Josephs reiterates that therapists must walk a fine line during treatment.

Josephs’ book synthesizes the vast amount of research on infidelity in order to create the best possible treatment method. “To fully understand all sides of the conflict between fidelity and infidelity, it is important to develop an integrative perspective covering many areas of research so that no important variables are overlooked” (p. 14). Each chapter captures a specific “side” of Josephs’ approach. For example, Chapter 1 is a thorough examination of the role evolutionary psychology plays in infidelity while Chapter 2 links insecure attachment and infidelity. The Conclusion is refreshingly positive and discusses vital components of a healthy relationship.

Josephs’ treatment method is well supported and presented in a detailed and complex manner. Quite exhaustive, at times it is overwhelming to read through the dense contents of each chapter. Josephs increases the accessibility, by referring to stories of his own patients and weaving them into each chapter. These accounts are a welcome break from the research-heavy parts of the book. By showing how infidelity specifically impacts real people with certain backgrounds and predispositions, Josephs allows psychotherapists to have a deeper understanding of how he derived his method and how to employ it.

Intended for psychotherapists, this comprehensive book is not just useful for treating infidelity but also for understanding the dynamics of it. It is informative as well as instructive despite the complications the reader may face trying to keep up with the organization of the content. I also appreciate the fact that he ends on a positive note in his Conclusions, leaving the reader hopeful that monogamous, healthy, long-term relationships can be achieved. Though much of the book is upsetting, Josephs makes sure to provide readers with a light at the end of the tunnel.

Lawrence Josephs, PhD is a widely published writer and psychology professor at Adelphi University. He has written for various journals, newspapers, and magazines and was an editor for the International Journal of Psychoanalysis. He is a practicing psychotherapist in New York City, with a focus on individual and couples therapy.

Lucero Smith is a senior at the University of Pennsylvania, pursuing a B.A. in History with a minor in Urban Education. She has done extensive community engagement work in West Philadelphia schools. She also has experience conducting archival research at the Library Company of Philadelphia and research in problem solving learning. In addition to working for IJP, she also writes reviews for Somatic Psychotherapy Today.




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