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    a new sexual 

     evolution   

                                

    Thursday
    Feb162012

    Sex Addiction News Source by CSAT Colleague Bill Herring, LCSW

    An interesting new resource for news related to sexual addiction that includes comments from a licensed therapist and sexual addiction treatment specialist Bill Herring, CSAT, LCSW.  Some sexualized photos may be included - no pornography - as part of the news content. http://www.scoop.it/t/sex-addiction

    Sunday
    Nov202011

    Excellent blog on Sex Addiction

    I'm happy to recommend a new blog published by my colleague and fellow CSAT from Santa Barbara, CA that looks at sexual addiction issues, Linda Hatch, PhD.  Her blog description:

    "A more in depth look at specific topics relating to sex addiction.  From time to time The Blog will explore personal stories, sex addiction in the media, legal and public policy issues, book reviews and new tools for addicts who are rebuilding their personal and romantic lives."

    Check it out, at http://www.sexaddictionscounseling.com/blog/.

    Wednesday
    Oct122011

    Partner/Family Impact Statement*

    The Impact Statement is a series of two letters written by a partner or family member to empower your healing from the devastation of sexual addiction.  The letters are usually part of a larger process of Partner/Family Reconciliation, which involves multiple letters written by the addict, (i.e., the Disclosure Letter, the Clarification Letter, and the Empathy Letter).

     

    Part I asks you to describe the ways you were affected by the actions and inactions of the sex addict in your life, and your resulting requests and boundaries. 

     

    Part II takes a deeper look at these issues, inviting empathy, examination of your past and your part of any unhealthy dynamics or cycles, an inventory of changes that have occurred since discovery, forgiveness status, and a commitment to your desired visions for your best future.

     

    *CAUTION:  This process is meant to be undertaken in collaboration with your therapist!  It generally occurs after a formal disclosure has been shared and specific questions have been answered.  Intense feelings and past issues can emerge from these explorations, and proper timing and support is necessary to negotiate the challenges that can emerge from doing deep healing work.

     

    Part I: 

     

    a)                  Description of impact by category

    b)                  Resulting requests and bottom line dealbreakers for going forward

     

    In Part I, section a), you detail the ways you have been affected in the categories below.  Some people prefer to write a chronological narrative, but most list the heading and then a description, or bullet points, of how they felt impacted in each area.  Since the grief of being close to an untreated addict is usually profound, the act of writing and sharing the impact is usually an intense process that requires several drafts.  Your therapist and support network can help you through this task.  The final version is usually shared with your addict partner/family member in the presence of one or both therapists or safe witnesses, and it can take some time to refine the statement so that it adequately captures your experience but is not abusive in its expression of pain or anger.

     

    How has your partner/family member’s sexual addiction affected you in the following areas?

     

    ▪       Emotional

     

    ▪       Mental

     

    ▪       Spiritual/Religious

     

    ▪       Physical

     

    ▪       Sexual

     

    ▪       Financial/Business

     

    ▪       Self-Esteem

     

    ▪       Relationships--Friends, Family, Community

     

    ▪       Reputation

     

    ▪       Job/Career

     

    ▪       Future Goals/Visions

     

    In section b), you list your requests and bottom line dealbreakers. 

     

    Requests:

    Now that you have examined the many ways you have been affected by your partner/family member’s addictive behavior, what requests do you have about ways your partner/family member might begin to rebuild trust in your relationship?  Are you comfortable with their definition of sobriety, or would you like them to make changes or work on certain areas?  Other requests might include requesting couples therapy, starting weekly check-in’s for accountability and mutual support, and/or that your partner/family member attend therapy, a therapy group, 12 step recovery meetings, and work with a sponsor. 

     

    Bottom Line Dealbreakers:

    What are your bottom line dealbreakers?  These are things that if your partner/spouse does or does not do, you will take immediate action, for example sleep separately, ask them to move out/take a therapeutic separation, or file for a legal separation or divorce.  It is important to talk all these options through with an experienced therapist, so that you will feel fully comfortable with your boundaries.  This is not a time to minimize the risk of allowing harmful patterns to continue, nor is it appropriate to bluff or attempt to manipulate or scare a partner/family member.  Addiction thrives in secrecy, and recovery requires directness and honesty to be successful.  This is simply a statement about what you would do if certain things do or don't occur, in order to take care of yourself and honor your limits. Some couples create agreements on these issues in the form of contracts that both parties sign. Other couples complete a formal therapeutic separation protocol while working thorough uncertain, volatile parts of the healing process.

     

     

    Part II:  Empathy, My Past/My Part, How Things Are Different Now, Forgiveness, Future Visions

     

    Part II usually begins after you have delivered your final version of Part I.  It is divided into five parts:

     

    a)      Empathy

    b)      My Past/My Part

    c)      Differences Now

    d)      Forgiveness

    e)      Future Visions

     

    Empathy:

    Here you examine the deeper context of your partner/family member’s sexual addiction.  What underlying problems may have contributed to them beginning and escalating their sexually addictive behaviors?  Your partner/family member’s painful developmental experiences of neglect and/or abuse play a role here.

     

    My Past/My Part:

    Here you look at your own past, and examine how your previous experiences may have contributed to choosing your current partner (this may not apply for an immediate family member).  Is there a personal/family history of addiction/codependence?  Working with a therapist on healing childhood trauma may be essential here.  Look for empathy for yourself and your role in any harmful patterns or cycles that may have developed in your relationship.  Have you had previous relationships with similar patterns?  Outline ways you may have behaved that you regret, or that may have contributed to the difficulties in your relationship. Though the addict is 100% responsible for their behavior, relationship dynamics can influence both addiction and recovery. Look for any destructive cycles and possible new ways to approach conflict, if relevant.

     

    Differences Now:

    This is a section to consider how your relationship has changed since discovery and recovery work started.  Positive and negative changes are outlined here, for both you and your partner/family member.

     

    Forgiveness:

    This is an opportunity to address where you are in forgiving your partner. It may be a yes or no answer, or it may be in process, but this is a time to write about your state of forgiveness for the wrongs your partner committed. If barriers to forgiveness remain, state what those are, and what you might need to experience in order to reach forgiveness.

     

    Future Visions:

    This is a place to create your visions of what you want in your future relationship with this person, if possible, and action steps you will take to contribute to achieving them.  This is a place to correct any harmful actions or inactions on your part, and use the wisdom you’ve learned to bring your best self to the relationship.

     

    Although completing the Impact Statement is an intense process, the rewards of clarity, healing, and solid decision-making are priceless!

    Wednesday
    Oct052011

    What 60-Year-Old Couples Can Teach Young Couples About Sexual Desire and Satisfaction

    When I was a psychology student at the University of Washington http://www.washington.edu/, I took a class called "Psych 210."  This was a class on human sexuality, and I recall being quite interested in showing up every week.  The instructor's frank manner was fascinating to me, as she stood in  Kane lecture hall in front of over a hundred students, teaching us the facts of life with a detail that my parents, who had sat me down for the birds and bees talk at age 18 (better late than never?), could only have dreamed about.

    I remember many things from that class, but what I remember most vividly were two videos that were shown of (straight) married couples having sex.  The first was of a young couple, and I remember how they looked--like models in magazines:  tanned, toned, and athletic.  Not unlike the narrow body-type standard evident in much of mainstream pornography today.  They had sex in many different positions, and they seemed to be having a good, lusty time of it.

    The second video was of a couple in their elder years; perhaps mid-70's.  They too were filmed being sexual, and my experience of watching was quite different.  I noticed their bodies, as I had before, and saw that they were shaped differently--wrinkles, folds of skin--signs of aging, of course.  But after my initial surprise, their appearance had almost no meaning compared to what really stood out to me in their sexual exchange.  At the time I didn't try to describe the difference between the couples.  I was about 19 years old; I just watched.  But now I can say that what I saw, and what seemed missing from the vigor of the first couple, was emotional:  affection, laughter, patience, and joy.  At one point, the man's erection went down.  His wife didn't protest, she simply giggled playfully and and stimulated him more directly.  Later when they moved toward intercourse he discovered she was vaginally dry; the husband made sure the lubrication was warm before gently applying it.  They went slowly.  They smiled.

    A simple way to say what I saw was that the first couple seemed to be having sex, and the second couple was making love.  While the first couple seemed to have sexual stamina, the second had sexual and relational endurance.

    This link to a short Psychology Today article talks about what elder couples (with happy sex lives) can teach younger ones.  In order to have a new sexual r.evolution (empowered by the Internet), we're going to need all the wisdom we can get!

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/whats-your-sexual-style/201108/what-60-year-old-couples-can-teach-young-couples-about-sexual-de

    Sunday
    Oct022011

    Curious about Anxiety? Helpful resources here!

    This link was submitted by an ex-anxiety sufferer (well, almost). It's very hard to find enough legitimate information about anxiety. So, to balance that he created an online guide that's reviewed by a professional psychologist, but is also accessible for the lay person. The guide covers all the essential information about anxiety disorders, components and explains the options people have.

    Great info and ideas for anyone who has ever experienced anxiety...probably all of us!

    LINK:  http://www.calmclinic.com/