Do you or someone you love need help with pornography addiction?
Our therapists specialize in treating compulsive sexual behaviors. Often called sexual addiction, or pornography addiction, these types of behaviors can create havoc in people’s lives and relationships. We can help.
Alliant counseling has been known in our community for over a decade as one of the premier providers of pornography addiction treatment in St. George, Utah and surrounding areas.
Whether you or your loved one are dealing with issues with pornography, extramarital affairs, intrusive sexual fantasies, sexual behaviors with strangers online, or other related issues, some people find they cannot stop on their own.
We are passionate about helping. We have spent over a decade refining our approach to pornography and sexual addiction. In fact, we have our own treatment model called ARM-5 (Adaptive Recovery Model with 5 phases).
What is ARM-5
ARM-5 (Adaptive Recovery Model) is different than so many other treatment models for pornography addiction. Many other models assume everyone is the same and have the same needs.
ARM-5 was created to be a flexible model that works with people in all different stages of investment in change with all different types of beliefs or ideologies.
Instead of expecting that everyone will complete all of the same therapy tasks, ARM-5 allows therapists to customize treatment to your specific needs.
All of our therapists are trained in the ARM-5 model and can create a treatment plan that is just right for your particular situation.
What are the goals of ARM-5?
Our therapists use our treatment model to help you in several areas:
- Truly understand how your behaviors are affecting others
- Become deeply self-aware and see the unhealthy patterns in your life
- Develop effective coping strategies to stop old patterns
- Respond in significantly healthier ways to family, spouse, or partner
- Find the deep, underlying issues and past traumas that are driving your sexual behaviors
- Heal past wounds and address issues that keep you stuck
- Rethink your own value systems and redefine the meaning of personal success
- Create fulfilling relationships
Too many people who struggle with sexual addictions waste years trying to solve the problem alone. They hide, avoid telling others, and often keep secrets from loved ones.
Starting counseling helps break old patterns and cycles and creates space for new, healthier processes.
If you have used sexual behaviors to cope with pain for a long time…
Stopping the behaviors is only a small part of the full healing process. Healing has other parts that we outline for you here:
1. Full honesty and accountability
People rarely get better in isolation. If you’ve asked yourself why, despite your best efforts to improve, you keep coming back to the same patterns and problems, you’re probably not being truly accountable. Accountabilty starts with a willingness to share every thought, feeling, trigger, or slip, without holding back or editing your story. It’s a challenging step, but it’s crucial for real change.
2. Combatting Denial
Denial is the story you tell yourself that gives you permission to keep doing something that violates your own boundaries or values. It’s the story that keeps you from really becoming self-aware and confronting your own issues. Healing involves challenging your own stories and learning to tell yourself the hard truth about the impact of your behaviors on self and others.
3. Emotional awareness and expression
At the core of compulsive sexual behaviors is emotional pain or discomfort. Sexuality becomes the bandaid you use to cover sadness, loneliness, disappointment, anger, resentment, and a host of uncomfortable emotions. Coming to accept this reality and learning to use your emotions as early warning signs that relapse is imminent are game changers in your recovery process.
4. Empathy for self and others
Behaviors can be managed, but true healing begins with empathy. Empathy for others involves recognizing that your actions have profoundly affected others who love you. Empathy for self involves recognizing your own imperfect humanity without self-judgment or shame. Neither is an easy task and both often require outside help.
5. Truly knowing yourself
Your initial goal may be to avoid pornography or not turn to sex to self-sooth. But in a long-term healing process, you learn so much about who you really are, what your values are, and what you want from life. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to even consider those types of questions when you’re busy trying to simply avoid compulsive sex. But that’s why we focus, clinically, on the long-term healing processes and goals that shift over time.
Compulsive sexual behaviors rarely happen in true isolation. We focus much of our treatment on partners or spouses who have experienced hurt or trauma because of their partner’s actions.
Finding out that your loved one has been involved in secret or hidden sexual behaviors can be painful. Often, the more painful part is discovering that you’ve been lied to or deceived about it.
This discovery can really turn people’s world upside down. It creates feelings of helplessness, fear, anxiety, and distress. People wonder, “Do I even know this person anymore?”
The experience of being lied to, misled, or manipulated by someone you love has often been called relational trauma, intimate partner trauma, or betrayal trauma.
A partner of someone who is sexually addicted will also need their own healing process. This will include the following:
1. Setting boundaries
You may try to control your partner’s behaviors to keep them “safe” from relapse, experience feelings of uncontrollable anger, or simply spend a lot of your time emotionally numbing out. All of these may be signs that your partner’s sexual behaviors are taking control of your life. Learning to set healthy boundaries with yourself, your partner, and with family and friends can be life changing in your own healing and recovery from betrayal trauma.
2. Renegotiating trust
Trust is earned. If your partner has hidden their sexual behaviors from you, trust has likely been lost or damaged in your relationship. Therefore, your partner is responsible for rebuilding trust by behaving in trustworthy ways. This includes being accountable, sharing thoughts and feelings, and opening up about struggles or slips in their own recovery. You can start to trust to the degree that your partner is working hard to earn trust again. In therapy, we help structure the trust building process.
3. Learning to self-soothe
If you experience PTSD or other trauma due to your partner’s behaviors or dishonesty, your body may be constantly in fight-or-flight. You’re never sure when the next painful surprise will hit you. You worry what secret will come to light next. You will need help learning how to self-soothe and manage your own emotions, especially when your partner is in the early recovery process and isn’t doing a very good job of helping you feel safe or secure in your relationship.
4. Healing from past wounds
After many thousands of hours of treating couples where one partner has a sex or pornography addiction, we have learned that distress over a partner’s sexual behaviors is often only one layer of the pain partner’s experience. Many partners of sex addicts also have childhood histories of abandonment, abuse, or neglect. They may also experience a drive toward perfectionism, self-loathing, or a general sense of unworthiness or unlovability. Even when your partner becomes sexually healthy, you may still have underlying wounds to work through as part of your counseling process.
5. Building a new relationship
As your partner develops a healthier approach to sexuality and as you find stability in your own life, your marriage will need to be rebuilt, often from the ground up. Trust is created from scratch. A new intimacy is developed, finally based on true honesty and openness. You create new expectations, new closeness, a new bond–often much stronger than what you previously had or thought you had. Two people, healthier than before, create a much stronger relationship.
If you personally struggle with pornography addiction or compulsive sexual behaviors, call us to get started on your personal healing.