Sexual Health and Recovery Experience (SHARE)

The Issue

Sex and Internet Addiction is a process addiction. That is the very process itself is responsible for the release of dopamine in the brain. It is characterized by loss of control i.e. broken promises to stop or by unmanageability ,e.g. the amount of time that is spent in the activity and its impact on the person’s life. The addiction typically affects work, relationships and the quality of social interactions for addicts and their families. It is estimated that 6% of all Internet users, are compulsive in their use of the net. Other behaviors that nay be used compulsively include massage parlors, escort services, multiple affairs or one night stands.

Assessment

Since the concept of Sexual Addiction /Compulsivity is a relatively new one, there may be questions about the appropriateness of the diagnosis. We employ four forms of assessment.

The first is our on-line version of the SAST (Sexual Addiction Screening Test) The SAST is an assessment instrument that reliably indicates the presence of sexual addiction 96.5% of the time. This means that the SAST indicates whether a there is a problem or not. This instrument does not indicate whether the problem is mild, moderate, or severe.

The second is the ISST (Internet Sex Screening Test). The ISST was created in 1999, by Dr. David Delmonico as an attempt to screen for problematic online sexual behavior. The ISST is intended for general screening purposes and is not a diagnostic instrument. It is used to help individuals know whether further evaluation is needed.

The SARA (no relationship) is The Sexual Addiction Risk Assessment. It is available at minimal cost at www.recoveryzone.com. This is the first instrument that begins to look at the various types of sexual addiction. The scores which are given in color (hence need to be printed in color) let’s a person compare themselves to other people with sexual addiction. A confidential test, it scores the various type of sexual addiction on a mild, moderate or severe continuum. If taking the test, you should bring the results to the initial session.

The SDI or the Sexual Dependency Inventory is a comprehensive evaluation covering all aspects of Sexual Addiction/Sexual Anorexia. This test is available for use only by a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT). This test is used to clarify both the psychological and behavioral aspects of Sexual Addiction /Compulsivity. This test is reviewed for accuracy and the final results may be shared with a partner as part of the diagnostic workup. For an additional fee, a report can be generated and sent to a therapist.

Program Details

The SHARE program is a holistic, integrated approach to the treatment of sexual addiction, compulsivity or anorexia.

Orientation:
Based on the work of Patrick Carnes, PhD., the program offers both a tiered psycho-educational process as well as a therapeutic context within clients can work.
Dr. Patrick Carnes ‘research concluded that people who were sexually sober completed certain tasks to recover from their sexual acting out. He broke these activities into 30 tasks. When addicts complete all thirsty tasks the potential for relapse is minimized. Our program is geared towards the completion of the tasks.

Where we start: the Recovery Start Kit
After assessment (see assessment), we begin with The Recovery Start Kit. This multi-media kit contains a DVD, CDs and workbooks to help the addict begin a journey of introspection. Each day there is the opportunity to respond to a short reading. In addition, there is the chance for the individual to be thoughtful about the origin of their addiction and how it impacts their life. Later there are specific exercises and planning sheets to use as recovery continues. This material is used simultaneously with a Level 1 group, or before starting a Level 1 Group.

SHARE 1: For the Addict
Group therapy provides the context for completing the initial tasks which include breaking through denial, understanding the addictive cycle, understanding the sexual addiction component, acceptance of addiction and personal limitations, limiting damage, establishing sobriety, ensuring physical integrity, participating in a culture of support and understanding multiple addictions and sobriety.
This group runs for 6 months and meets weekly.

SHARE 2: For the Addict
After completing the first 8 tasks, Share 2 focuses on the next set of tasks: acknowledging abuse, reducing shame, preparing to do family of origin work and completing a stress index. Once again, the
Other tasks are completed in individual therapy such as restructuring the relationship to self, understanding the process of grieving and grieving losses, building a supportive network. The individual also works on consolidating gains and personal integrity. Group continues to focus on sobriety and self-awareness.
This group for 6 months and then is open ended

SHARE: Couples Therapy
Couple’s therapy is necessary to repair the trust and feelings of betrayal that have been damaged by the addiction. The initial goal of therapy is to keep the couple communicating as they begin recovery. The next phase may involve a structured and formal disclosure process. This helps the couple reestablish an honest relationship. During the focus on establishing an intimate relationship, the couple may have a period of sobriety in order to focus on intimacy growth in all other ways but sexual. The last phase of therapy is to reintegrate sexuality into the relationship.

For Partners of Sex Addicts
Hearing about the addict’s acting out (or discovering it) for the first time, may lead to post-traumatic stress symptoms. These symptoms may include shock as well as both numbing and flooding. Dealing with this reaction is important. In addition, most partners feel isolated with no one to talk to about the details of the acting out. Both individual therapy and group therapy help to deal with the symptoms of shock, numbing and flooding. Group therapy in particular is helpful as a partner can meet others in a similar situation.

Partner’s Level 1
A Task Model has also been established for Partners of Sex Addicts. Using materials written by Stephanie Carnes as well as her edited book Mending a Shattered Heart, partners begin a recovery process that includes understanding disclosure.

Take your first step: Contact Dr. Sara

Please fill out this form and we will get in touch with you shortly. If you need immediate help, give us a call at 703.437.6890.
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