Archives for Sex Addiction Treatment

Sex & Technology

Recovery from Cybersex Addiction: Part Three – Tips on Using Cybersex Boundary Plans

As discussed in my previous posting to this site and in my recently published book, Always Turned On: Sex Addiction in the Digital Age, coauthored with Dr. Jennifer Schneider, the definition of cybersex sobriety and the content of cybersex boundary plans both vary according to the needs and life circumstances of the addict in question. That said, whatever the definition of sobriety and whatever the boundaries in a particular addict’s plan, the purpose is to hold the addict accountable to his or her commitments – particularly when faced with challenging life circumstances, emotional pain and other powerful triggers.

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Sex Addiction Treatment

Recovery from Cybersex Addiction: Part Two – Defining and Creating a Plan for Sobriety

Manny is a 43-year-old cybersex addicted construction worker. Fifteen months ago he started going to Sex Addicts Anonymous meetings. For the next year, his behaviors did not change and his life actually got worse rather than better. Finally, in desperation, he asked another member of the program for help, and he was assigned the task of creating a personalized definition of sexual sobriety and then a boundary plan for future sexual behaviors. Almost immediately, the program began to work for him. He says, “In my head, I knew what I needed to change and how I needed to change it. But somehow I always ended up fooling myself and relapsing. I would just find a way to rationalize that going back online for sex was OK, just this once, even though I knew it wasn’t. After I finally wrote down what my problems were, and clearly stated which online behaviors were not acceptable, I had some ‘official’ clarity and my life started to get a lot better.

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Sex Addiction Treatment

The Sex Addicted Client: General Advice for Clinicians

Do You Speak Sex?

Treating sexual addiction is not for the squeamish. Sex addicts, if and when they become honest in therapy, often relate harrowing tales of abuse and acting out. Many have engaged in sexual activities that even a seasoned prostir careers, their homes, their tute would blush to hear about, and they’ve often done so with more partners than they can count. They’ve put themselves, their spouses, their sexual hookup partners, theihealth, their children, and so much more at risk—all for a quick and ultimately meaningless sexual fix. Many were either covertly or overtly sexually abused in childhood and/or adolescence, sometimes repeatedly and horrifically. They may also have a concurrent addiction, usually some form of substance abuse but occasionally another behavioral addiction or even an eating disorder (especially among women), and this too can lead the client into episodes of traumatic experience and bad behavior.
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Sex Addiction Treatment

Narcissism, Porn Use, and Addiction

Proof that Porn Users are Narcissistic

Any clinician who treats sex and porn addicts on a regular basis can tell you that our clients, both male and female, tend to be highly narcissistic - a quality that often makes for a tempestuous therapist-client relationship. Simply put, evidence from the field strongly suggests that sex and porn addicts are nearly always self-centered and self-absorbed, often to an extreme degree, not only sexually but elsewhere in their lives. Of course, it’s nice to have scientific research that backs up what we typically see in our practices, and a recent study,
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Sex Addiction Treatment

Linking Sexual Shame and Addiction

Flawed, Defective, Unworthy of Love and Happiness

It’s no great secret that most alcoholics, drug addicts, and behavioral addicts live with deeply felt feelings of shame. In fact, shame is nearly always part of the underlying matrix of psychological conditions that can typically lead to addiction. In short, shame leads to extreme emotional discomfort and the gnawing belief that one is inherently flawed, defective, and unworthy of love. These feelings can in turn lead to depression, severe anxiety, and lifelong challenges with intimacy and relationships. And all of the above can create a powerful desire to escape and dissociate via the use of addictive substances and/or behaviors. Over time, a pattern of self-medicating life stressors and emotional discomfort in this fashion can easily escalate to full-fledged addiction, with all of the usual negative life consequences.
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Sex Addiction Treatment

Effective (and Ineffective) Treatments for Sexual Offenders

Are Sex Offenders Treatable?

Last week I wrote about clinician prejudice toward sexual offenders. As part of that writing I introduced the four main categories of sexual offenders:

Violent offenders
Fixated child offenders
Regressed child offenders
Sexually addicted offenders

I also mentioned the some of the most damaging misconceptions that most people, including many psychotherapy professionals, have about sex offenders.

All sex offenders are treatable.
No sex offenders are treatable.
All sex offenders are sociopaths

None of these beliefs is correct. The reality is that most but not all sex offenders can benefit from proper treatment. In fact, the recidivism rate is actually quite low, provided the offender is paired with the most effective form of treatment. It’s all about good assessment and knowing who needs what and when.
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Sex Addiction Treatment

Sex Addiction Treatment: Addressing Hypersexual Behavior in a Rehab Setting

Hardly a day goes by without the national media trotting out the problem sexual misbehavior of some politician, sports star, actor, or religious leader. Oftentimes, within a few days or weeks we hear that same person is “entering treatment” for sexual addiction. This begs the question: What is sexual addiction treatment?

Generally speaking, well-rounded sexual addiction treatment mirrors in many ways the structure and techniques that have proven highly effective in drug and alcohol addiction treatment—focusing on breaking through denial, managing the crisis or crises that drove the person to seek help, social learning, cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, relapse prevention, etc. Depending on the individual being treated, the work may center on the person’s immediate life circumstances in an attempt to determine (and find healthy ways to control) the various triggers to his or her sexual acting out. Other addicts, while still needing to learn how to contain their sexual behavior, may have a greater need and ability to work though various forms of past trauma and emotional reactivity—challenges that oftentimes have been lifelong concerns. For all individuals, once sexual sobriety has been established, all useful clinical methods are on the table: art therapy, traditional cognitive behavioral therapy and relapse prevention work, social learning models, equine and experiential work, EMDR, somatic therapies, the support of 12-step meetings, etc.
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The Narcissism of Sex Addicts and Some Strategies for Therapists

Guest post by: Linda Hatch PhD, CSAT,

Narcissism Equals Low Self-Esteem

A majority of sex addicts behave in ways that are seen by others as narcissistic. Narcissistic personality traits are often described in terms such as grandiosity, self-centeredness and over-entitlement. This suggests the narcissist has an inflated sense of self-worth. In fact the opposite is true.

Most narcissism is actually a defense system. The narcissist has acquired a façade of superiority and self-sufficiency as a defense against unconscious feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness. This defense is often bolstered by career success or being prominent in the community. This self-image is flimsy and superficial, but it is felt by the narcissist-addict to be his or her true self.

As such, this false self protects the addict from experiencing his or her vast reservoir of unhappiness and insecurity.
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