By Floyd Godfrey, LPC CSAT candidate
There is an order of treatment that will always ensure better success when you’re in counseling for sexual addiction. Whether the acting-out behaviors involve pornography, adult bookstores, prostitutes, strip clubs, or simply masturbation, establishing an order of treatment is important. In my experience over the past fifteen years, the following steps will put most addicts onto an effective path of lasting recovery.
1. Stop the Behaviors: The addictive behaviors themselves are such a terrible distraction for addicts that it is difficult for them to think clearly. It will be more difficult to take in the information you need to learn when you are compulsively acting out. Clear thinking is absolutely critical in dealing with the underlying issues that must be addressed. Additionally, the acting out behaviors can be a constant trigger for trauma to many wives. This step in recovery often involves hard work and education. You must learn specific tools that can be utilizes at various times to end the behavior.
2. Develop a Support Network: You will have to force yourself to come out of hiding. You will have to leave the emotional isolation and tell a friend, a religious advisor, a therapist, or a family member about the addiction. You will need to consider joining a group therapy or 12-Step Support program. Since the addictive behaviors are often driven by internal shame, developing a support network becomes an essential part of recovery. Support groups will expose you to others who have been in the same place you are.
3. Build Self-Esteem: You will need to learn a new way of thinking about yourself and the world. You’ll need to diminish shame inside yourself and reach out to live more fully. This means developing an inner confidence; a confidence that begins to radiate out from you. Most counselors agree that low self-esteem is a common factor among people with addictions.
4. Emotional Processing: If you’ve tried unsuccessfully in the past to beat this problem, it may have been that you left out the emotional piece. Conversely, some therapists will unknowingly start their clients on emotional work and then feel perplexed that they aren’t making more progress. I believe that the most appropriate time to work on the root causes of the addiction is after good sobriety has been established, which usually makes emotional processing the final stage of therapy. When you first start working on the addiction it doesn’t matter what caused it. You can get to these details once you are sober and clear minded.
Stick to this order of treatment and you’ll find that your success is increased. We have a systemic approach in our program for sexual addiction counseling services in Mesa Arizona. If you’d like a free 15-minute consultation about our services, or to simply ask questions about the issue, please give us a call. One of our specialists can speak with you. (480) 668-8301.