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Therapeutic Strategies with Adult 

Compulsive Pornography Users

Pornography Intervention - A Training Resource
By Jim Messina, Ph.D., CCMHC, NCC, DCMHS-T

Strategies When Working with Adults with Compulsive Pornography Use


In planning your Intervention with an Adult with Compulsive pornography/sex use you want to follow the steps recommend by Delboy (2015):

 

Step 1. Client Background and Case Conceptualization

A. You want to be sure you do the following with this client:

Complete an Initial Clinical Assessment and Treatment Plan http://coping.us/cliniciantreatmenttools/clinicalassessmentplan.html  which entails:

B. Use of Self-Assessment or Professional Assessment Instruments to determine if the client is a compulsive pornography/sex user (using the following assessment tools:

Self-Assessment for assessing Compulsive Pornography/Cybersex Use

Professional Assessments to Assess Compulsive Pornography/Cybersex Use


C. Delineate the Symptoms which are signs of the problem

 

D. Do a complete Psychosocial History and include assessment of ACE Factors (Adverse Childhood Experiences) explained at:


 

E. Provide a complete diagnosis for the client including Principal, Provisional and Other Conditions That May Be a Focus of Clinical Attention. Remembering that hypersexual, compulsive pornography/sex use are not diagnosable, so utilize a mental health disorder Co-Morbidities of Depression (F34.1 Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia) (DSM-5, 2013, p.168) or Anxiety (F41.1 Generalized Anxiety Disorder (DSM-5, 2013, p.222)

Step 2. Literature and Research Review

Read the following:


 

Step 3. Appraisal of Existing Literature

Read the following:: 


    Step 4. Treatment Plan Development

    Recognizing the treating of Compulsive pornography/sex use is similar to Addictions in the Alcohol and Substance Use Disorder Treatment Protocols so utilize the tools available for you in: 



    Step 5. Implementation Considerations

    Consider implementing an Alternative 12-Step Program which will not set up resistance due to the fear of stigmatization. A readily available program is



    Feel free to utilize any and all of the units in the Online Books on Coping.us.

    Addressing Adults' Specific Issues Related to Compulsive Pornography/Sex Use


    Years of data have shown that individuals who are engaged in compulsive pornography/sex use are typically: 1. victims of abuse (sexual, physical, emotional). 2. come from rigidly disengaged families. 3. to see themselves as shameful, bad, unworthy persons. 4. are codependent and believe no one will love them as they are. 5. see sexual activity as the most important way of taking care of their emotional needs. 6. engage in a variety of sexual behaviors (Levert. 2007). “Shame-based” is self-message most often experienced by adults with sexual related addiction. Efforts in treatment to reduce this shame is a goal (Wilson, 2000). Problematic Iinternet Use behaviors may lead to decreased offline social activities and increased depression and loneliness over the course of several years. (Brezing, Derevensky & Potenza, 2010).  A 2017 report demonstrated that both insecure attachment styles and shame based or punishment-based religious beliefs were related to college students’ addictive sexual behaviors (Giordano, Cashwell, Lankford, King & Henson, 2017). Given these needs, therapists can utilize the REBT and CBT modules from five books on coping.us (Laying the Foundation, Tools for Personal Growth, Tools for Anger Workout, Tools for Handling Control Issues and Growing Down: Tools for Healing the Inner Child) to help their clients address these needs:

     

    1. victims of abuse (sexual, physical, emotional) ACE Factors:


    4. are codependent and believe no one will love them as they are


    5. see sexual activity as the most important way of taking care of their emotional needs.


    6. engage in a variety of sexual behaviors

    Addressing Couples’ Relationships Impacted by Compulsive Pornography/Sex Use


    Understanding and treating compulsive sexual activity in marital therapy is a stepwise process:1. careful history taking and diagnostics of both partners; 2. identification of the mutually reinforcing relationship dynamics keeping destructive behaviors in play; 3. processing of underlying psychological and developmental roots of such behaviors; 4. cultivation of empathy and trust, and 5. revitalizing of the couple’s sexual relationship (Cohn, 2014). In assessing status of the relationship, it is important to ask the couples to come clean about their use of social media since there could be covert relationships being built on these platforms (Cravens & Whiting, 2014). Internet pornography’s unique properties (limitless  novelty, potential for easy escalation to more extreme material, video format, etc.) may be potent enough to condition sexual arousal to aspects of Internet pornography use that do not readily transition to real-life partners, such that sex with desired partners may not register as meeting expectations and arousal declines which clearly points out the need to work along with partners of those experiencing this compulsive condition (Park, et al., 2016). Given these needs, therapists can utilize the REBT and CBT modules from two books on coping.us (Tools for Relationships and Marriage Work-Out) to help their Marital Couple clients address their needs:


    1. careful history taking and diagnostics of both partners

     

    2. identification of the mutually reinforcing relationship dynamics keeping destructive behaviors in play

    3. processing of underlying psychological and developmental roots of such behaviors

     

    4. cultivation of empathy and trust

     

     5. revitalizing of the couple’s sexual relationship

    Dealing with Relapse in Recovery from Compulsive Pornography/Sex Use


    Relapse is a common experience among sex addicts, and the disclosure of relapse has a range of consequences for addicts and their relationships, however, voluntary disclosure of relapse (rather than the partner discovering relapses independently) has been found to be associated with positive relational outcomes (Corley, Pollard, Hook & Schneider, 2013).


    Relapse is an everyday reality in recovery from any addiction and it is important for therapists to be armed with tools to share with their clients to help them get back on the way when relapse happens, figure out why it happened and do specific things to reducing the change of relapse in the future. Here is a Tool Box for clients to use as they deal with Relapse:

    12-Step Program for Adults with Compulsive Pornography/Sex Use


    Supportive communication received through 12-step processes may enable pornography/sex addicts to change their behavior or motivated pornography/sex addicts who change their behavior diligently attend to12-step processes, either way such programs appear to be highly productive (Wright, 2010).

     

    It is for this reason that we highly recommend that therapists initiate a 12 Step Program known as the Self-Esteem Anonymous-SEA’s Program

    Online Recovery Programs for Adult Compulsive Pornography Users
     

    For More:

    Websites, Monitoring Sites and Videos To Be Used in Compulsive Pornography Use Intervention Click Here

    TREATMENT BIBLIOTHERAPY


    Covenant Eyes E-Books (Free) for People Dealing with Compulsive Pornography at: http://www.covenanteyes.com/e-books/

     

    • Transformed by Beauty: Beauty’s Effect on the Human Heart by Sam Guzman & Amanda Zurface (2016). Owosso, MI: Covenant Eyes, Inc.

     

    • Your Brain on Porn-5 Proven Ways Pornography Warps Your Mind and 3 Biblical Ways to Renew it by Luke Gilkerson, (2016). Owosso, MI: Covenant Eyes, Inc.

     

    • The Porn Circuit-Understand Your Brain and Break Porn Habits in 90 Days By Sam Black. (2013). Owosso, MI: Covenant Eyes, Inc.

     

    • Pornography Statistics-250+ Facts, Quotes, and Statistics About Pornography Use. (2015). Owosso, MI: Covenant Eyes, Inc.

     

    • Coming Clean-Overcoming Lust Through Biblical Accountability by Luke Gilkerson. (2013). Owosso, MI: Covenant Eyes, Inc.

     

    • Stop the Demand-The Role of Porn in Sex Trafficking by Luke Gilkerson & Ron Dehaas. (2014). Owosso, MI: Covenant Eyes, Inc.

     

    • More Than Single-Finding Purpose Beyond Porn by Melissa Eldred. (2015). Owosso, MI: Covenant Eyes, Inc.

     

    Covenant Eyes E-Books (Free) for Couples Working on overcoming compulsive pornography use at: http://www.covenanteyes.com/e-books/

     

    • Porn and Your Husband – A Recovery Guide for Wives. (2015). Owosso, MI: Covenant Eyes, Inc.

    • Hope After Porn-4 Women Share Their Stories of Heartbreak…and How Their Marriages Were Saved. (2014). Owosso, MI: Covenant Eyes, Inc.

     

    Covenant Eyes E-Books (Free) for Churches Working on Eliminating Compulsive Pornography Use in their Congregations at: http://www.covenanteyes.com/e-books/

     

    • Fight Porn in your Church-What Works and Why It Matters by Luke Gilkerson. (2016). Owosso, MI: Covenant Eyes, Inc.

     

    • Porn-Free Church – Raising Up Gospel Communities to Destroy Secret Sin by Luke Gilkerson (Ed.) (2012). Owosso, MI: Covenant Eyes, Inc.

     

    • Internet Pornography-A Ministry Leader’s Handbook Sin by Luke Gilkerson (Ed.) (2010). Owosso, MI: Covenant Eyes, Inc.
    Suggested Books for Bibliotherapy

    Anthony, J. (2015). Pornography addiction: Destroying the habit & breaking the cycle. Sold by: Amazon Digital Services


    Bradshaw, J. (2005). Healing the shame that binds you. Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc.


    Brandenburg, B. (2013). Power over pornography: The breakthrough formula for overcoming pornography addiction. North Charleston, SC: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.


    Carnes, P. (1997). The betrayal bond: Breaking free of exploitive relationships. Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc.


    Carnes, P. (2012). A gentle path through the twelve steps: The classic guide for all people in the process of recovery. Center City, MN: Hazelden.


    Christo, E. (2013). Lust free in 31 days: Christian men overcoming lust, porn, sex addiction and masturbation. Sold by: Amazon Digital Services


    Dindinger, R.V. (2014). Pornography addiction: Breaking the chains-A workbook of essential tools for recovery.


    Elliot, C. (2014). Sex Addiction: The ultimate guide to sex addiction recovery. New York, NY: BMS Publishing


    Hatch, L. (2013). Living with a sex addict: The basics from crisis to recovery. Sold by: Amazon Digital Services


    Hall, P. (2013). Understanding and treating sex addiction: A comprehensive guide for people who struggle with sex addiction and those who want to help them. New York, NY: Routledge.


    Hall, P. (2016), Sex addiction: The partner’s perspective: A comprehensive guide to understanding and surviving sex addiction for partners and those who want to help them. New York, NY: Routledge.


    Impavido, J.A. (2012). Recovery from sexual and pornography addiction. Sold by: Amazon Digital Services


    Laaser, M.R. (2009). Healing the wounds of sexual addiction. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.


    Lee, Y. (2015). Sex addiction: Recovery for Life. Sold by: Amazon Digital Services


    Lofgreen, C.A. (2012). The storm of sex addiction: Rescue and recovery. Sold by: Amazon Digital Services


    Mastoff, K. (2016).  Handling the pornography addiction: What’s wrong with a few dirty movies anyway?


    McLeish, C.O. (2016). Overcoming pornography & masturbation addiction. Sold by: Amazon Digital Services


    Palmer, V.T. (2016). Moving beyond betrayal: The 5-step boundary solution for partners of sex addicts. Las Vegas, Nevada: Central Recovery Press.


    Parker, P. (2016) Kick porn in the butt. 11 real life success stories. Sold by: Amazon Digital Services


    Saunders, A.J. (2015). Change your brain: How your habits cause anxiety. Sold by: Amazon Digital Services


    Schwartz, J.P. (2016), Cut the FAP: Why your porn addiction is worse than you think: And how to solve it. Sold by: Amazon Digital Services


    Snipes, E. (2015). Tempted no more: Breaking free from pornography by walking in grace. Greenwood Village, CO: Exchanged Life Discipleship


    Spears, I. (2016). Porn addiction: Step-by-step simple guide to control addiction. Sold by: Amazon Digital Services


    Trotter, D.L. (2016).  A different kind of strong. Salt Lake City, UT: Intellectual Reserve


    Weiss, R. & Schneider. (2015). Always turned on: Sex addiction in the digital age. Carefree, Arizona: Gentle Path Press.


    Williams, R.E. & Kraft, J.S. The mindfulness workbook for addiction: A guide to coping with grief, stress and anger that trigger addictive behaviors. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.


    Wilson, G. (2014). Your brain on porn: Internet pornography and the emerging science of addiction. London: Commonwealth Publishing.