Sexually Addictive Behaviors and Compulsivity – Intimacy Disorders

Sexuality should be an integral and balanced part of our life experience. Healthy sexual behavior or sexual health creates intimacy and closeness. It is characterized by trust, respect, joy and safety.
However, sex becomes all consuming for some of us, or  we may deprive ourselves of healthy sexual expression. 
The preoccupation with sexuality is used to cope with difficulties in intimacy in committed relationships or to escape  painful and stressful feelings. Sexual behavior becomes compulsive and out-of-control. Our sexuality acts as a barrier filled with shame and self-contempt. It isolates us from intimacy with others.
A person is diagnosed as having a sex addiction when he/she is unable to stop  compulsive sexual behaviors even when faced with a high degree of risk
and even when he/she experiences  destructive consequences with regard to physical health, intimate relationships, children, work, finances, and legal problems. The sex addict typically cycles through an addictive cycle of preoccupation, ritualization, compulsive sexual behavior, and despair (shame). People with sex addiction typically use denial, rationalizing, minimizing , and lying to avoid telling the truth to themselves and to others.
In our higly-sexualized culture, problems of sex addiction are often minimized or disregarded.
Sexual behaviors such as viewing of pornography, use of chat-lines, anonymous hook-up sites, and affairs are viewed as normal. The potential for these behaviors to become compulsive and for people to spend more and more time in these activities is minimized. The risks are minimized.
Some sexually addictive behaviors are regarded as ‘weird’ or perverted’. 
Those who have difficulty with problems such as exhibitionism, voyeurism, etc. are dismissed as perverted rather than provided with help and guidance to gain control of their lives.
Without treatment and recovery, overcoming sexual addiction can be very difficult.
 Partners and spouses of sex addicts have specific consequences and require help as well.
Sexual health is an objective in sexual addiction treatment.
Sexual health can be achieved by sex addicts in recovery. Overcoming sexual addiction requires hard work and a commitment to settle for nothing less than full recovery. In doing so, sexual addiction recovery becomes a life shift that opens up hope and the possibility for change.

Services provided for individuals, couples, and families coping with problems of sexually addictive behaviors:
The process of treatment begins with an assessment to clarify if a person has an addiction, and if so, to clarify the issues and to develop a plan for recovery. The treatment program integrates psycho-educational groups with  individual and/or couple’s therapy.

Services for Men
Assessment for sex addiction
to discuss current difficulties and past history so as to  clarify the extent to which a person may have sexually addictive behavior, and, if so, the options for overcoming this problem.
Individual psychotherapy
– to develop and implement a program for recovery from sexually addictive behaviors.

Psycho-educational groups:

Facing the Shadow Seminar – for men getting started in the process of understanding their addiction as a basis for developing and implementing a plan for recovery

The Recovery Zone – an advanced group for men in recovery who are working to clarify the strengthen underlying causes of the addiction as a foundation for strengthening physical, emotional, and spiritual self-care and for developing healthy sexuality.

For Couples:

Assessment

Couple Psychotherapy

Couples’ Psycho-Educational Seminars and groups
Couples’ Facing the Shadow Seminar 
a getting-started seminar focused creating a safe and stable foundation for recovery – coping with the initial crisis, clarifying the boundaries,  limits, and accountability needed as a basis for stabilizing the relationship.
Foundations for a Healthy Relationship –
developing the capacities for communicating and listening, respectful expression of and responsiveness to emotions, boundary-setting, problem solving, and constructive resolution of conflicts.
Facing the Past
preparing for the process of disclosure and accountability of the addict’s past behaviors
Creating the Future
developing a vision for a healthy relationship that includes emotional, physical, and spiritual intimacy and committing to the next steps needed to make that vision a reality.

For Health & Mental Health Providers
Assessment –
utilizing interviews and online assessment questionnaires developed by Patrick Carnes  to clarify current difficulties and past history so as to  assess the extent to which a person may have sexually addictive behavior, and, if so, the options for overcoming this problem.
Consultation
regarding issues in treatment of individuals, couples and families
Collaborative treatment –
in situations in which a clinician is treating an individual and needs a referral for the spouse or the couple, or in situations in which a couple is being seen for therapy and an individual therapist is needed. To the extent that  clients are willing to give permission for communication, I prefer to work collaboratively on behalf of our shared clients.
Programs on assessment and treatment of sexually addictive behaviors and intimacy disorders

Triage for sexual addiction
six screening questions to ask patients as part of regular physical or mental health assessments to screen for possible sex addiction, a clinically validated tool known as PATHOS.
Diagnosis & treatment of sex addiction
based upon the clinical definition of sex addiction by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) and the proposed DSMV diagnosis of Sexual Hyper-Compulsivity; overview of the problem of sexual addiction, the increase in numbers of people affected, treatment, and prognosis; health problems that may be indicators of addiction, screening questions to ask patients as part of regular examination; referral sources for assessment and treatment.

As a trained Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT®), I have completed training developed by Dr. Patrick Carnes which required attendance at multiple training modules and supervision with a CSAT Supervisor. It also requires ongoing education. It is a rigorous process designed to help me best help you.

To learn more about treatment for sex addiction including a free, initial sexual addiction screening assessment, please visit www.sexhelp.com. If you are a partner, take the Partner Sexuality Survey.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact me
via email to joel@ziffgroup.com or via phone to 617-965-3932.