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Exploring Sex Addiction Therapy: Methods, Differences, and Effectiveness

Man wearing red shirt sitting on couch holding his hands together in a room

If you have a sex addiction, you may be less alone than you think. 

A study spanning 42 countries found that almost 5% of participants were at high risk for sex addiction. 

When compared with the more commonly discussed issues of depression and anxiety, which fall at almost 4% each and are widely discussed, it’s clear that sex addiction is a significant mental health issue that needs attention. 

For people with this addiction, sex becomes an uncontrollable compulsion that impacts their entire life, including having severe impacts on relationships

When it all gets to be too much, and they realize things are out of control, people who are looking for healing from this addiction might turn to therapy. But not just any approach will work. 

Sex addiction therapy is as unique as the challenges that people with the disorder face.

What is Sex Addiction Therapy?

Sex addiction therapy is a specialized form of psychological treatment focused on finding and healing the root cause of the addiction, understanding how that trauma caused the addiction, and stopping adverse behaviors. 

Goals of sex addiction therapy include:

  • Identifying and managing triggers for compulsive sexual behavior
  • Breaking the cycle of addiction
  • Repairing relationships damaged by the behavior
  • Ultimately achieving a healthy, balanced approach to sexuality

And this therapy isn’t just for people addicted to sex. Therapists can also offer strategies specifically designed to curb and manage other types of addictions, like pornography addiction or phone sex addiction

Qualified therapists for any kind of sex addiction must work with the client to uncover and heal from the root cause of the addiction before addressing the behavior. 

Understanding Therapy Modalities

In therapy, a “modality” refers to the specific method or approach used to treat a disorder. Each modality offers unique benefits and caters to different aspects of addiction.

Modalities used to treat sex addiction include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. CBT involves adjusting thoughts, emotions, and actions to identify and manage triggers for sexual behavior. This evidence-based approach teaches mood management, coping skills, and how to eliminate false beliefs and insecurities.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. EMDR is used to heal emotional distress from traumatic life experiences. It focuses on altering how the brain processes memories, aiding in identifying and resolving the underlying traumas causing addiction.
  • Group Therapy and Family Counseling. These therapies foster community and support, which is essential for recovery. Group sessions offer a platform for sharing experiences and coping strategies, while family counseling aims to repair relationships impacted by addiction, involving loved ones in the healing process.
  • Trauma-Informed Therapy: Personalized one-on-one sessions focus on the individual’s specific challenges and histories, including addressing any underlying trauma that may be fueling the addiction.
  • Mindfulness Therapy. Mindfulness teaches techniques to stay grounded in the current moment, reducing stress and anxiety caused by dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. This approach enhances emotional regulation and fosters a deeper sense of calm and focus.

How Sex Addiction Therapy Differs from Other Therapies

Sex addiction therapy, especially when centered on trauma, offers a unique approach compared to other forms of therapy. This specialized treatment focuses intensely on the traumatic experiences at the root of sex addiction. Recognizing that each client’s experience with trauma is unique, therapists tailor their methods to the specific needs of their clients.

As with other addictions, a client may go through different stages of sex addiction recovery, beginning with the acceptance that this is an issue that needs professional treatment. Then, during sex addiction therapy, professionals work closely with clients to unravel complex personal histories, identify specific traumatic events, and understand how these experiences have shaped current behaviors and coping mechanisms. 

Therapists use techniques like CBT to manage addiction-related thoughts and actions and heal the emotional wounds at the heart of the addiction. 

By focusing on trauma, sex addiction therapy offers a more effective and empathetic approach, providing clients with the tools and understanding they need to tackle their addiction and rebuild a healthier sense of self and well-being. 

This trauma-informed care is what sets this therapy apart and ensures that the healing process is as individualized as the experiences that led to the addiction. 

Intensive and Inpatient Treatments

Intensive and inpatient treatments provide comprehensive care for sex addiction. These terms refer to immersive, structured programs for deep and focused healing. 

When someone undergoes inpatient treatment, they live at a treatment center while undergoing therapy. These programs offer round-the-clock care in a controlled environment, free from everyday triggers and stressors. This immersion allows for a focused approach to recovery, making it a better option for people with severe addictions, more than one mental health condition, or who need a structured environment for recovery. 

Inpatient programs typically involve a combination of individual therapy, group sessions, and other therapeutic activities. They are designed for intensive healing, often providing immediate stabilization for those with acute addiction issues.

Begin Again Institute offers a 28-Day Men’s Residential Intimacy Disorders Treatment through our sister facility, Integrative Life Center in Nashville, Tennessee. The program is for men with primary sex addiction, pornography addiction, and other intimacy disorders who also are experiencing co-occurring mental health or substance use disorders.

Intensives provide a sanctuary for healing, away from life distractions, for people who want to jump-start their recovery from sex addiction. These more resort-like experiences can help people with intimacy disorders, including sex addiction, to better understand the addiction and its cause. Then, they can learn how to stop harmful behaviors.

Begin Again Institute offers two intensives for men with intimacy disorders, sex addiction, pornography addiction, or masturbation addiction. The traditional 14-Day Men’s Intensive allows men to steep themselves in recovery while staying on a beautiful private campus in Berthoud, Colorado, in a captivating historic home.  

The Boulder Recovery 14-Day Men’s Christian Intensive offers the same treatment as the traditional intensive but through the lens of faith. The Boulder Recovery Intensive is in a spacious cabin in the Rocky Mountains.  

Most other intensive programs are either weekend retreats or require a month or more commitment. But, the team at BAI believes that weeks are ideal because it’s enough time to gain real traction in your healing process while being short enough not to substantially disrupt your life.

“The goal of these programs is to accomplish a lot in a short period by engaging clients in focused work for most of the day,” said Matt Wenger, Clinical Director at Begin Again Institute. “These can be effective in rejuvenating recovery, starting off recovery well, and dealing with untreated trauma.”

Choosing the Right Therapy and Therapist

When seeking a treatment program or specific therapist, consider the organization’s experience and specialization in sex addiction. A team that is specifically trained and certified in this area will have a deeper understanding of the complexities of sex addiction and the most effective treatment methods.

For example, Begin Again Institute specializes in treating intimacy disorders and sexual addictions, so BAI employs Certified Sex Addiction Therapists (CSATs) who have special training to work with people living with sex addiction and their partners. 

It’s also essential to evaluate the therapeutic approach and modalities offered. Look for therapies that address not just the behavioral aspects of addiction but also the underlying emotional and psychological issues.

At Begin Again Institute, we use the Trauma-Induced Sexual Addiction model or TINSA® model for sex addiction treatment. It’s a neurobiological approach that helps clients understand the way their mind and body respond to trauma and process that trauma. We combine this approach with various treatment modalities, depending on the person’s unique needs.

“Effective addiction treatment encounters the brain, body, and emotions,” Matt said. “Mere education is not enough.”

Your Recovery Journey at Begin Again Institute

Sex addiction therapy is a powerful and effective tool in your journey toward recovery from sex addiction, offering you the chance to live the authentic life you deserve. Addressing the root cause of your addiction and learning to make better choices are critical steps toward lasting change.

If you’re ready to take control of your life and begin healing from sex addiction and intimacy issues, consider one of our treatment programs. We provide a blend of individual and group therapies designed to deepen your understanding of addiction and its underlying causes while meeting your unique treatment needs.

Don’t wait to reclaim your life. Contact Begin Again Institute today to start your journey toward recovery and a healthier, more fulfilling future. You deserve to live a life free from addiction, and we are here to help you every step of the way.

  • Category: Sex Addiction
  • By Begin Again Institute
  • January 26, 2024

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