29 Jan Sex Addiction Recovery at The Trauma Recovery Institute
Sex is one of the most powerful forces in the human condition. It can drive individuals to the pinnacle of emotional and physical ecstasy or, conversely, spiral other people into depths of despair and anguish. The power of sexual energy and expression exists because our sexuality is tied, or connected, to the core of who we are; it is our essence, our life force, our creativity, and our passion. A sense of self means an inner knowing, clarity of our true nature or authenticity. In healthy sexual expression, there is desire, connection, and a sense of well-being. The act of expressing one’s self sexually results in a positive, life-enhancing experience; it is an expression of love, an exchange of mutual pleasuring and respect that leads to an intimate connection.
The sexual compulsive person may think this is what he or she is experiencing. However, the opposite is true. Sex for the addict is about intensity, danger, power, and control. It is about emotional numbing, conquering, and getting high. Sex becomes a commodity to be manipulated, a means to a self-defeating end. Sex and love become a game to play, avoidance, a push/pull, or a hunger so powerful that the addict will risk everything to reach that sexual high. No risk or consequence has stopped the addict: disease, financial ruin, lost relationships, legal injunctions, career setbacks, or self-respect. The addict is caught in an intoxicating dance that has induced a delusional reality. This is the cycle of sex addiction, and it is deadly—not always in physical form, but most assuredly in emotional experience. This “soul” death is temporarily allayed when the addict is on the “hunt” for sex or, at the other extreme, is avoiding sex at all costs. At either end of the spectrum, the addict feels in control and powerful. This is the high, a chemical release that is as addicting as any drug. When these chemicals—or the high—are induced, euphoria washes over the addict, creating the illusion of complete immunity to the realities of his or her internal ache.
Sexual addiction is not a moral issue; it is a coping mechanism born out of the addict’s wounding. The types of wounding can be as diverse as the addicts themselves. Not all addicts are aware of their “wounding,” as abuse or trauma is often covert. When a person is wounded or traumatized, he or she must learn to cope, often without understanding or support. In order to cope or escape their painful realities, addicts may use drugs, alcohol, food, shopping, staying busy, controlling others, or work. Sex addicts escape through sex. Like a steamroller, they cover, protect, and seal the layers of their painful past. Unfortunately, the layers are never erased. The history is embedded like sediments layered in a canyon wall, linear markings of a sordid history, buried but never forgotten. All sex addicts are profoundly angry with the people they think they love or to whom they have the greatest attraction. Sexual lust or fantasy is the result of the addiction. However, anger is its driving force. Sexualized anger attempts to hide or bury the shame addicts feel at their core.
Dynamic Psychosocialsomatic Psychotherapy
At The Trauma Recovery Institute We Endeavour
- to co-create an interpersonally synchronized right brain-to-right brain emotional dialogue beneath the words with clients
- to empathically receive the client’s rapid implicit (unconscious) nonverbal communications in synchronized mutual regressions
- to sensitively monitor very slight changes in the other’s emotional expressions
- to intuitively track physiological variations in the patient’s emotional prosody, facial expressions, and gestures
- to interoceptively read one’s own physiological autonomic responses to the client’s emotional communications
- to transiently shift from the verbal left into the nonverbal right brain and the deeper core of the personality
- to co-create a relational context of implicit safety and trust with the client
- to be able to work with strong, traumatic affect and relational trauma, typically found in personality and psychiatric disorders
- to engage in stressful dyadic transference-countertransference and rupture and repair transactions
- to be intuitively aware of one’s own spontaneous bodily-based subjective and intersubjective experience
- to offer well-timed interventions and interpretations that can impact the client’s unconscious levels
- to interactively regulate the patient’s dysregulated affective states, across a spectrum of psychopathologies.