Counselling Dilemma: Couple Issues
You have been providing relationship counselling to a married couple for 4 months. The couple (Jeremy and Lucinda) have identified a number of issues, including a lack of trust, intimacy and communication. Jeremy had been involved in a brief affair, which he had confessed to his wife. It is largely this issue on which Jeremy and Lucinda have been focussing for the last 4 months.
You have been pleased with the development of the couple’s communication over this period. They have made some small, yet significant steps towards redeveloping trust and renewing their friendship.
Recently, Jeremy has requested a session with you alone to discuss a private concern. In this session, he discloses to you that he has been in contact with his previous lover. Since their affair, she has informed him that she has tested positive for Hepatitis C. Jeremy intends to have himself tested for the virus, but is reluctant to tell Lucinda about the virus and the meeting with his previous lover. He reasons that he may not have the virus, and doesn’t wish to worry Lucinda unnecessarily.
You are concerned about the possibility of Jeremy passing this virus onto his wife. When you raise your concerns with Jeremy, he states that he will be avoiding sexual contact with his wife until he finds out the results. You are also concerned about Jeremy’s commitment to developing trust with his wife and explore this with him. You would prefer that he discloses this information to Lucinda and so you inform him of your views.
Jeremy’s reaction is of dismay as he thought that his information would be treated confidentially in this private session. You think that Jeremy’s personal intentions are at conflict with his goals for his relationship.
How might you proceed with this dilemma?