Betrayal Trauma: Can Hypnotherapy Help Stop Intrusive Thoughts After Infidelity?

Betrayal Trauma: Can Hypnotherapy Help Stop Intrusive Thoughts After Infidelity?

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I'm idit sharoni, lmft
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in Affair Recovery, Betrayal Trauma, and Surviving Infidelity. The owner of Relationship experts private practice and host of Relationships Uncomplicated Podcast
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We are thrilled and grateful to invite you to our interview with Douglas Flemons, Ph.D., LMFT, a psychotherapist and hypnotherapist. My colleague Yael and I have both benefited from his skill and knowledge in various ways. We truly valued Dr. Flemons’ generosity in meeting with us to share valuable insights for couples experiencing betrayal trauma and other relationship trials.

Idit Sharoni, LMFT & Dr. Yael Haklai LMFT discuss overcoming betrayal trauma & the role of hypnotherapy in halting intrusive thoughts post-infidelity. Trusted Relationship Experts available globally.



Recently retired from three decades of teaching Marriage and Family Therapy to graduate students at Nova Southeastern University, Dr. Flemons continues to develop a relational approach to hypnotherapy and therapy. He and his wife, Shelley Green, are co-editors of Quickies: The Handbook of Brief Sex Therapy. They are also co-directors of Context Consultants, their online private practice.

Douglas Flemons, Ph.D., LMFT, discusses the potential of hypnotherapy to stop intrusive thoughts after infidelity. Schedule a consultation with our Relationship Experts in the United States, Canada, South Carolina, California, Ohio, New York, Colorado, and globally.


Recently, Dr. Flemons recently published a new book, The Heart and Mind of Hypnotherapy: Inviting Connection, Inventing Change, aimed primarily at clinicians. His goal? To challenge some of the assumptions and traditional practices surrounding hypnotherapy within psychotherapy. Simultaneously, he offers guidance on how to work with clients hypnotically.

During our interview, Dr. Flemons also shared that his interactions with people vary. He has enjoyed long-term relationships with individuals as a professor but also finds teaching workshops to be incredibly satisfying. He describes writing as his most challenging and most rewarding activity. It encourages him to think differently and communicate his ideas more effectively. He believes engaging with individuals who trust him with their deepest struggles and the state of their inner resources is an honor.


Initially, Dr. Flemons and Dr. Yael discussed the misconceptions surrounding hypnotherapy and how popular culture’s portrayal can hinder its accurate presentation to clients. Clients often fear the unknown based on such fictional depictions. 

To help, Dr. Flemons emphasized that hypnotherapy is a collaborative process.Thus, therapists should

1. Invite clients to connect on a deeper level. He explains the distinction between traditional therapy and hypnotherapy is a matter of degree. 

2. Grasp, monitor, and match the client’s experience to create a connection that feels significant to each party. This way, therapists can provide a belief, opportunity, or illustration, to which clients can respond with less scrutiny, mistrust, or effort. The quality of the connection makes all the difference. 

Woman in therapy, eyes closed on bed, addressing betrayal trauma through hypnotherapy. Schedule a free consultation with our Relationship Experts for healing in the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, and globally.

Dr. Flemons also noted that the disparity between talk therapy and hypnotherapy is effectively and helpfully blurred. Even when it comes to infidelity or betrayal trauma, he believes the way we consider concerns, relate to each other and present our thoughts is already informed by the process of hypnosis.


Have you ever wondered what it feels like to be under hypnosis? According to Dr. Flemons, the experience varies from person to person. Some people report that it feels no different from regular therapy, while others identify or sense a difference.

The key difference for all participants? During hypnosis, they recognize that they are not using willpower or effort to make change occur. Instead, they are working with the therapist to create a new possibility for change. They aren’t willing things to happen. Nor is hypnosis a passive experience. Again, it is a collaborative one, between the client and therapist.

For those inexperienced with hypnotherapy, Dr. Flemons approximated the experience to the effortlessness of playing a sport or musical instrument. He referred to this as being “in the zone.” The therapist’s job is to make space for their client(s) to enter this relaxed, focused state. 

So, what is the ideal result of hypnotherapy? A wonderful feeling of absorption and effortlessness in the process. Then, shifting problematic experiences can occur and positive changes can happen.


Have you ever considered the similarities between meditation and hypnosis? According to Dr. Flemons, there is a significant overlap between the two practices. This becomes apparent when meditators learn how to access their inner selves without the interference of conscious control or purpose.

One crucial connection between meditation and hypnosis is the emphasis on absorption rather than a blank mind. While many assume a clear mental state is necessary for effective meditation, Dr. Flemons believes this is a common misconception. In fact, trying to force an empty mind can be counterproductive and lead to feelings of frustration and failure when trying to stop intrusive thoughts. 

Instead, meditators should focus on effortless awareness and mindfully accept that thoughts and sensations may still arise. Similarly, hypnosis allows individuals to

  •  engage with disruptive problems in a resourceful way.
  •  avoid positioning yourself against distressing symptoms or giving in to chaos


Self-hypnosis can be challenging. It is important to find the right approach. Dr. Flemons recommends finding a way to let go of predetermined paths. Permit yourself to engage in the process organically.

Overall, Yael and Dr. Flemmons determined that the connections between meditation and hypnosis are fascinating and worth exploring. Embracing the mind-body connection while learning to be adaptive and responsive is crucial. Then, people can find new ways to access their inner selves. This is particularly helpful as couples try to address significant challenges like betrayal trauma in their lives.


As our interview progressed, we wondered if or how meditation or self-hypnosis helps individuals facing relationship challenges. After all, we often associate them with self-improvement efforts. Can these practices stop intrusive thoughts and meaningfully improve our relationships?

Flemons believes they can. He points out that couples find themselves in opposition to each other. Disrespect or doubt can harmfully plague communication. This creates a clear divide, leading to conflict rather than connection. Meditation and hypnosis encourage a change in the way individuals perceive their personal and relationship boundaries.

Smiling couple practicing meditation and self-hypnosis to stop intrusive thoughts and mend relationships. Trust Relationship Experts in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom for support after infidelity. Schedule a free consultation today!

Dr. Flemons notes that meditation allows partners to redefine their sense of safety. Recognizing the mind/body connection leads to understanding the self-other connection, also called compassion. Compassionately, couples can bridge gaps and establish meaningful connections. Meditation highlights the interconnectedness between oneself and the world. It’s a transformative experience that involves

  • adjusting the limit between mind and body.
  • redefining the divide between ourselves and those we struggle with.

Essentially, this approach offers a new path to emotional security. Meditation enables couples to respond thoughtfully rather than react impulsively. The therapist’s goal of creating a safe environment for both partners is met too. 

Flemons suggests that, through meditation, couples can transition into a unified, compassionate “we.” They no longer fear of being criticized for breaking down the emotional barriers that kept them divided and getting nowhere.


As it pertains to reconnecting, compassion clearly plays a vital part. But Yae and I also wondered how employing compassion works when arguments get heated. Is there a way to train for this?

Dr. Flemons affirmed that being compassionate during emotional arguments is like uphill skiing! Shifting from a defensive stance to a compassionate one isn’t easy. However, introducing meditation into typical conflicts can alter your responses. Eventually, this leads to a more constructive interaction and a positive change in the dynamic b between partners.


It’s hard to maintain anger when you’re genuinely curious, bridging the gap between you and your partner with interest rather than hostility. 

Dr. Flemons emphasizes that it helps to see anger differently. See it as a window to your partner’s vulnerability. This fosters a deeper curiosity about their feelings and thoughts. When you are “curious instead of furious,” preconceived notions give way to more understanding, better communication, and authenticity in your relationship. Your respective reactions are validated, defensiveness is limited, and honest sharing becomes easier.

This state is exactly what we aim for with couples in our practice. We, too, want to help you safely and constructively build bridges of understanding in your relationship. This is possible without feeling the need to separate from each other to do so.


You and your partner aren’t alone if the idea of embracing discomfort (rather than avoiding it) feels difficult. Yael asked about a key excerpt from Dr. Flemon’s text that addresses that struggle. In it, he mentions the importance of shifting your internal stances when facing challenges. In other words, Dr. Flemons emphasizes changing the relationship with the problem instead of trying to eliminate it. 

However, he also cautions therapists to be mindful of how their guidance could be interpreted. He wants professionals to be aware that

  • Anytime therapists suggest accepting the issue, individuals or couples may feel like they are being victimized by an external force.
  • Encouraging individuals or couples to be resourceful might, unintentionally, come across as blaming them for their sensitivity or the problem as a whole.


Acknowledging the endurance and determination of hurting people is critical, especially when they feel so vulnerable. It’s essential to acknowledge their strength in persevering through such challenges.

Dr. Flemons recommends therapists encourage a change in the client’s perspective. Rather than becoming stronger, clients would do well to focus on using their strengths differently. The objective is to exercise less effort.


It’s easy to feel trapped between two options when dealing with your individual and relationship problems. You likely want to either 1) eliminate the problem or 2) give up and let the problem control your life.

Yet, Flemons shares that it’s crucial to consider a third alternative. This option doesn’t consider solving the problem. Instead, he says that therapists should explore how their clients experience the problem. By guiding you to engage with your emotions and bodily sensations,  your therapist can help you manage distress effectively in the following ways:

  • Assist you in responding differently to your body’s natural reactions to distress.
  • Encourage you to approach the problem from a new perspective.
  • Help you understand and allow your anxiety responses to diminish naturally without resistance or feeling drained.


Does hypnosis play a significant role in betrayal trauma recovery? We asked Dr. Flemons whether post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms resulting from betrayal trauma (like intrusive thoughts or hypervigilance), could be soothed or resolved by hypnotherapy.

Smiling woman hugs partner, symbolizing the role of hypnosis in betrayal trauma recovery. Explore relationship healing in the United States and globally. Call Relationship Experts for a free consultation today.

He confirmed that hypnotherapy’s attention to a person’s need for safety can address betrayal trauma. After trust is broken, preventing further betrayal becomes crucial. Helping individuals feel secure and simultaneously alert is critical.


To underscore this point, Dr. Flemons shared the significance of transforming internal/body communication and interpersonal communication. The goal? To enhance relational problem-solving abilities and trust-building rationally and productively.

Yael and I are totally on board with this idea. Healing from infidelity is a joint effort, involving a two-person commitment.  We believe healing requires relational therapy to navigate the crisis effectively. Dr. Flemons likewise highlighted the importance of partners determining their values and boundaries for optimal growth and trust. He views the process as a discovery journey rather than “work” and conscious intent, emphasizing the transformative possibilities of hypnotherapy.

Finally, we are extremely grateful for our exchange with Dr. Douglas Flemon. We hope his insights encourage and inspire you too. For more information on his practice, visit Context Consultants, and explore his book, “The Heart and Mind of Hypnotherapy: Inviting Connection, Inventing Change,” available on their site and Amazon.


Please look to our Infidelity Recovery Program as a tool for learning how to reconnect and heal as a team. Consider the following options for surviving infidelity and recovering well.

  1. Find out about Betrayal Trauma and how we can help.
  2. Examine the reviews and testimonials of couples who complete our program.
  3. Plan for a free 45-minute consultation to obtain more information and begin moving forward.

Our team is here for you. Thank you for trusting us with your time and learning more about restoring mutually beneficial relationships.



I’m Idit, your blog writer & podcast host.

practice owner relationship expert PODCASTER
blog writer

I am the owner of the highly respected Relationship Experts private practice based in Miami, Florida and focused on affair recovery. In over a decade and together with my team, we help couples with surviving infidelity and healing from betrayal trauma

A Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in Affair-Recovery and Infidelity Counseling in The United States and worldwide.

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