A sex addiction therapist helps people overcome compulsive sexual thoughts, feelings and behaviors. These thoughts and behaviors may lead to relationship problems, unplanned pregnancies and even sexually transmitted diseases. While no cure exists for sex addiction, therapy can help people identify triggers for these impulses and learn how to control them. Therapy can also help people develop alternative ways to meet their physical and emotional needs.
Many sex addiction therapists use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help clients confront the self-defeating and delusional thoughts that accompany sex addiction. CBT teaches patients to recognize the behavioral triggers that lead to their compulsions, then develop new coping skills to manage these situations and emotions more effectively. In addition, therapists who specialize in treating sex addiction sometimes incorporate group or individual therapy to provide an additional level of support and accountability.
Ethical issues are inevitable when counseling sex addicts. The therapist may be tempted to disclose information that violates a patient’s confidentiality or professional codes of conduct, or she might have to report the behavior if it poses a real risk to public safety. For example, if a client reveals that he regularly views child pornography online and downloads it, the therapist might be required to report his activity to the FBI.
Psychological sex addiction is usually treated by first helping the addict realize that he uses his sexual behavior to self-medicate past issues of abandonment, abuse or neglect. He must then address these issues at the source and find other ways to elevate his self-image and personal value.