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Sex Addiction Treatment – What to do and what to avoid

Holding hands across a brown wooden table

How can you find help for “sex addiction”?

First, it’s important to define what sex addiction is.

“Sex addiction” is described as where sexual misbehavior is, repetitively, creating consequences that the unafflicted could easily see would occur and therefore avoid creating. Those struggling with sexual misbehavior may find it impossible to have treatment covered by insurance as the insurance companies, for their financial benefit, are pretending these issues are not a clinical matter. Often those with sexual misbehavior / “Sex addiction” must either self pay for an actual professional in this, or use their insurance for someone not a specialist in this.

Persons who created negative consequences from sexual misbehavior may find “sex addiction” treatment really helps them not create future consequences that they must then both suffer and, essentially, clean up.

Patient sitting and talking with therapist during sex addiction counseling

“Sex addiction” is described as where sexual misbehavior is, repetitively, creating consequences that the unafflicted could easily see would occur and therefore avoid creating.

What types of treatments are available for sexual misbehavior?

Like any treatment for issue, sexual addiction treatment can take multiple forms.

“Coaches”: This writer strongly suggests anyone with sexual misbehavior / “Sex addiction” avoid any “coaches” in this who are not simultaneously licensed clinical professionals such as a psychiatrist or LCSW. If you have a criminal charge you would be a fool to hire a “legal coach” when you actually need an attorney. Hire a licensed clinical professional such as a psychiatrist or LCSW, who spends their entire practice on sexual misbehavior.

Software Programs: A licensed clinical professional such as a psychiatrist or LCSW who works online is fine, but a software “system” will never correct the thinking that creates these behaviors. Not even close to a solution.

Therapeutic Courses Online: I have never seen an online course in this issue with actual experts in these matters, never, and have seen these courses where the least experienced clinicians are set up to do a less than stellar job. These less experienced and non-specialist clinicians are set up to do this work by higher ups who just want the money coming in, and who themselves know little, to nothing, about these sexual misbehavior matters. These programs are not impressive.

My view is that these are clinical matters, and should be dealt with by clinicians such as LCSW’s or psychiatrists, and that religion should not be “driving the bus” on how to address these issues.

“Christian” or other religiously based programs: If you would like to try to be unsuccessfully converted to “straight” (at risk of suicide), have someone explain how a wife’s role is to follow her husband’s leadership, and that attractive women are the issue rather than a man’s distorted and sexualized thinking, then by all means enter a mental health based and religion influenced program on “sex addiction”. To be clear, my view is that these are clinical matters, and should be dealt with by clinicians such as LCSW’s or psychiatrists, and that religion should not be “driving the bus” on how to address these issues.

Inpatient Treatment: My view is, absent other issues such as simultaneous mood Disorders or advanced substance abuse, inpatient treatment/residential treatment is very rarely needed for this specific issue. It is major cash revenue for whomever owns these inpatient programs, as insurance does not pay for this. The upside is that the client does look to others like they are going above and beyond to deal with their issue, but, again, it seems very rarely necessary.

Therapist and patient during sex addiction treatment session

I believe a good percentage of those clinicians are not judging those clients when those clients describe their sexual misbehaviors.

I believe those generalist clinicians are at that very moment realizing they as clinicians are in over their head.

General/Non-specialist Psychotherapists: A “generalist” licensed clinician is trained to recognize conditions like mania or depression, as would a sexual misbehavior clinician, and getting, for example, a mood disorder addressed can be very helpful. Besides the obvious issue that a generalist will not have the experience in sexual misbehavior that a specialist would have, many of my clients describe feeling judged by the clinician when that client describes their history of sexual misbehaviors.

This may be an accurate perception in some cases. I believe a good percentage of those clinicians are not judging those clients when those clients describe their sexual misbehaviors, I believe those generalist clinicians are at that very moment realizing they as clinicians are in over their head. That look going across that clinician’s face that is picked up by the client, is not judgement of the client, but a realization by that clinician that they don’t have the knowledge or experience to provide the treatment needed.

Medication: This writer cannot prescribe medications, that said, this writer has seen medications help a clients mood and functioning and therefore improve their ability to avoid creating consequences through sexual misbehavior. At times, this writer has clients of his also seen by a psychiatrist for a “rule out” for mania or another mood issue, just to have a second clinician rule out the possibility that a mood disorder is helping this sexual misbehavior occur and that medication could improve outcomes. It is also true that, barring this behavior is entirely created by a manic episode, talk therapy by a clinician such a LCSW is needed to correct the distorted thinking that creates these behaviors.

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