A common misconception about residential rehab facilities is that the addicts who complete these programs will have their problems resolved when they leave the treatment. However, this is not the case. We don’t expect any addict entering rehab to be cured when the individual leaves treatment; rather, we hope for the addict to be better prepared — with a greater emotional strength, social support, and shame resilience — for longer-term, ongoing process of addiction recovery.
The primary goals of sex rehab are:
- To temporarily separate the addicts from people, places and things that often triggers addictive sexual behaviors
- To clearly describe in writing, which sexual behaviors are problematic
- To confront and address the denial about the dangers/harm/losses related to the addict’s problematic sexual as well as romantic behavior patterns (the past, current, and future)
- To help the addict gain an insight into the consequences of his or her sexual behavior, thereby gaining empathy for those he or she has harmed (self and others)
- To provide them clear, workable, relapse-prevention tools
- To encourage them to participate in lifelong, ongoing recovery from sexual addiction, which often includes a long-term individual therapy, group therapy, and even 12-step involvement
Essentially, residential treatment is the first step on the pathway of lasting sexual sobriety– a satisfying life of personal integrity. Treatment helps to interrupt long-established compulsive sexual and relationship behavior patterns while providing a safe and structured opportunity for building both the awareness and the coping mechanisms needed for healing.
What Happens in Residential Sexual Addiction Treatment?
Many individual enter sex rehab with the expectation that the identification and resolution of childhood trauma will be their prime focus. However, this traditionally useful therapeutic method is often counterproductive at an early stage of addiction treatment. Helping the addicts to gain insight into their childhood trauma, while serving to reduce shame, does not provide the concrete tools needed to cope with life on life’s terms without returning to sexual acting out as a way — to self-soothe and self-medicate.
The rehab process starts with a thorough psychological assessment. Careful evaluation and evaluates almost every aspect of the addict’s life. After that, treatment typically focuses on three main issues:
- Separate the addict from his/her harmful sexual behavior
- Breaking through the denial used to make that behavior acceptable
- Raise awareness when the addict is most likely to act out, and offer concrete coping mechanisms to use instead
Recovering sex addicts nearly always require external reinforcement also the support if they want to eliminate deeply ingrained behavior patterns. Group therapy, begun in residential rehab.It is in these settings which addicts are able to clearly see, often for the first time, that their problem is not a unique and they are not alone. This helps them to reduce the guilt, shame, and remorse that sex addict experience in relation to their behaviors.
What Defines a Good Sex Rehab?
For the last 25 years or so, there have been a relatively consistent number of U.S.-based residential and intensive outpatient treatment centers specializing in sexual addiction and related intimacy disorders. These facilities have routinely provided useful, accurate care. At the same time, the number of individual clinicians treating sexual and romantic addiction has increased significantly, mostly related to the escalating numbers of people self-reporting problems with Internet porn, webcam sex, and similar tech-driven sexual/romantic behaviors. Similarly, much-generalized addictions and mental health treatment facilities now list “sexual addiction treatment” as a specialty — even though it really is not.
So how can one distinguish a solid, useful residential sex and love addiction treatment center from all the rest? Here are a few clues:
- The treatment center should have a dedicated, separate treatment program for clients who have sex and relationship addiction problems. This should not be a track in a larger behavioral or substance addiction treatment program, nor should it be a mixed group with other kinds of addicts. To be effective, a sex and relationship addiction facility need a dedicated treatment group and program.
- At least 75 percent of the staff providing treatment should be certified in the treatment of sexual addiction — not as sex therapists, but as sexual addiction specialists.
- The program should have a proven track record of success, including former clients who are willing to anonymously speak about their experience receiving treatment there.
- The treatment program should have both addiction and mental health specialists on staff.
- The program should be gender separate.
- There should be a strong treatment component in support of spouses, family members and caring others.
If a sex and relationship addiction/intimacy disorders treatment program meet all of the above criteria, it is likely you are on the right track as far as finding a good program for yourself or a loved one.
It is important to note that after completing inpatient treatment, most sex addicts need continued work with a sex addiction treatment specialist, including both individual and group sessions if they plan to maintain sexual sobriety over the long haul. For these individuals, it is essential that a personalized aftercare plan is formulated and implemented before the addict leaves the treatment center and the temptations of home can take effect.