Sex & Porn Addiction

At Men Therapy Toronto we specialize in the treatment of a sex and porn addiction for men.  Our treatment approach is informed by the significant research conducted by the International Institute for Trauma & Addiction Professionals (IITAP).  ITTAP was founded by Dr. Patrick Carnes who is considered a pioneer in the field of sexual addiction recovery.  ITTAP is also the institute which provides the highest level of certification, Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT), a therapist can receive for working with clients in this field.  At Men Therapy Toronto we will be employing evidence based approaches learned through our training with ITTAP when working with clients.

Is Sex Addiction a ‘Real Thing’?

Technically, it isn’t.  The medical community has yet to formally define sex addiction as a mental disorder.  There are many reasons for this ongoing debate mainly the difficulty establishing normative behaviours around sexuality.  However, we do see evidence with neuroscience which shows the brain of a sex addict reacting much the same way the brain of a substance dependent addict would.

Healthy – Life Affirming Sexuality

At Men Therapy Toronto we try not to get into the debate of whether sexual addiction does or does not exist.  What we see are many men experiencing severe consequences as a result of their out of control sexual behaviours (i.e. porn, paying for sex, infidelity, etc.).  Our goal is always to orient our clients towards a healthy-life affirming sexuality.  We do not define it for a client but we set up treatment so that they are positioned to achieve that ultimate goal; a sexuality that is healthy, life affirming and fun.

What does treatment look like?

Treatment can be summarized generally in the following process.

      • Disclosure:  Clients will be invited to disclose the extent & specific details of their sexual acting out behaviors (for many this is the first time they’ve shared it truthfully with another individual).

     

      • Defining Abstinence: Clients will next be invited to be clear about which parts of their sexual acting out behaviours they no longer want in their lives.

     

      • Goals & Motivation:  Clients will have the important task of defining why they are ultimately engaging in this work.  Simply stopping the behaviours will not provide the adequate motivation.

     

      • Participate in a Culture of Support:  The client will be invited to participate in a culture of support which could be a 12-step group or men’s group.

     

      • Trauma & Shame Reduction:  No man is born a sex addict.  Experiences happen in the history of the man which is most likely still shaping their current decision making.  This is the ultimate heart of the work.  Working with clients to reduce the experiences of shame & trauma.

     

      • Integration:  This is the final process whereby the man integrates his old self and new self.  This means the man moves from shame to compassion when thinking about how he used to be in the world.  He now feels open and free.  He now feels like he no longer has anything to hide.

How long does it take to Recover?

We consider recovery a life-long process but realistically it would take a man 1-2 years of committed work to move from a life of sexual acting out to one of being more integrated.

Resources

Below are resources we hope will be helpful as you navigate the recovery and treatment process.