Learn what to look for, what questions to ask, and what to do when you keep hitting road blocks. I get e-mails daily from women all over the world asking if I can refer them to a good sex addiction counselor in their area.
The co-addict model says a person who is married to a sex addict is sick, out of control, addicted to their spouse, and implies she is partially to blame for his behavior, simply because she chose to marry a sex addict, even though the vast majority of the time she did not even know he was an addict. Symptoms of PTSD have been shown to mimic symptoms of co-addiction, but still most therapists are sticking to this outdated model which is doing great harm to partners.
But it may prove to be more challenging than it should be. Below are some tips I hope you will find helpful in finding a counselor who will offer you the validation and guidance you need and deserve.
This will educate you on the sex-addiction induced trauma model. Then call around to therapists and ask if they are familiar with the book and subscribe to what it teaches. If they say yes, and many will, probe further.
Ask if they use the term co-addict to label partners of sex addicts, especially before they have even met them. You can often find this on their website, which will help you rule out many therapists quickly. If so, how often and why? Some partners of sex addicts fit these criteria. But most partners had no idea their spouse was a sex addict for many years. They may have sensed something was not right, but had no way to prove what it was.
Sex addiction is arguably the easiest addiction to hide, and addicts are very good liars and manipulators. Check out the website PartnerTraumaSpecialists.
At this time there are only a small number of counselors listed here. However, we have our first training coming up in June , which will provide in depth training to therapists and coaches on treating partners from the sex addiction-induced trauma model.
Trainings will be offered all over the country at least twice a year. As counselors complete the training and the required supervision hours to become certified in treating partners, their names will be added to the website. Ask them to read the aforementioned book. They can read all about it on the website mentioned above and register there as well.
The first training date is set for June , in Dallas, TX. This certification will not only give them the ability to offer partners of sex addicts better treatment, but it will make them highly marketable. Since the release of the book Your Sexually Addicted Spouse, partners have been desperate to find professionals who work from this model. Once a therapist or life coach receives the certification their name and information will be listed on the APSATS website.
Please help spread the word about this training. All are welcome to attend, even if they are not a clinician. Pastors and others in the ministry, as well as other helping professionals, will benefit as well.
APSATS is a non-profit organization dedicated to the professional training and certification, public education, research and advocacy for treatment of sex addiction- induced trauma.
Many will say that you should both focus only on yourselves for the first several months or more and then deal with the marriage.
In some cases, such as when the addict is very resistant to treatment or when he is abusive, this might be the best course of action. But most of the time, when an addict is highly motivated for recovery, you both will greatly benefit from marriage counseling which focuses on the effects of the sex addiction on the marriage. Addicts should be taught how to empathize and support his traumatized wife. Couples need guidance in how to interact with each other, set boundaries, and handle triggers early in recovery.
Ask the counselor what their opinion is on clinical disclosure. Sometimes referred to as therapeutic disclosure, full disclosure, or healthy disclosure, this is a crucial component in recovery for both the partner and the addict and for the marriage.
Ask the therapist when they think clinical disclosure should be done, how much detail their disclosure includes, if you will be allowed to ask whatever questions you want, and if a polygraph test will be included. Ideally, for the couple who is working to save their marriage, clinical disclosure should be done very early in recovery within one to three months.
Secrets fuel the addiction and prevent healing for the partner. Addicts will almost always continue to lie about past behaviors, even while in recovery, while promising you that you know everything, without a full clinical disclosure therapist guided with polygraph to motivate them to be completely honest. With some guidance from your therapist, you should be allowed to ask whatever questions you like during the disclosure. Your primary therapist does not have to be the one to do your disclosure.
Read on to learn about other options for disclosure. If you find yourself hitting a lot of road blocks, consider phone or Skype counseling or coaching sessions. No therapist is perfect, but I hope this information will help you find the perfect therapist for you. Couples travel from all over the country to participate in our intensive.
We can help you find a counselor to follow up with in your area after the intensive or communicate with the counselor you already have before, during, and after the intensive so everyone is on the same page.
Ella and her husband, Jeff, work together helping couples whose marriages have been invaded by sexual addiction. Learn the answers to common questions, tips to productive conversations, steps to setting boundaries, and how to determine the next steps for your marriage.