In most ways, sex and porn addiction rehab mirrors the work done in substance abuse treatment, typically relying on the same behavior and accountability focused approach. The primary differences are: (1) the nature of the addictive behavior, and (2) how we define sobriety. 

With substance addictions, sobriety is generally defined by long-term abstinence. With sex and porn addiction, however, permanent abstinence is neither feasible nor desired. Instead, sex and porn addiction are treated more like an eating disorder, where the goal is learning to behave in healthy, non-compulsive, non-problematic, life-affirming ways. 

That said, sex and porn addicts are usually asked to stay abstinent (including abstinence from masturbation) during treatment, and sometimes for a period of time afterward. Usually, this period of complete sexual abstinence lasts anywhere from 30 to 90 days. This time away from all sexual behaviors creates space for addicts to see their sexual behaviors more clearly, to break through denial, and to develop some healthy coping skills they can turn to instead of their addiction. 

At Seeking Integrity Treatment Centers, we work toward the following goals with sex and porn addicted clients:

  • Separate the addict from the people, places, and things that trigger the addiction.
  • Identify and address the presenting crisis or crises (the immediate issues that drove the addict into treatment). 
  • Identify which of the client’s past and current sexual behaviors are part of the addiction, and which are not. 
  • Develop a plan for sexual sobriety (sometimes referred to as a ‘boundary plan’ or a ‘circle plan’). 
  • Address the addict’s denial—minimizing, rationalizing, blaming, etc.
  • Identify the addict’s triggers toward addictive sexual behaviors. 
  • Identify and start to implement healthy coping skills the addict can turn to when triggered. 
  • Identify any unresolved trauma that underlies addictive (emotionally escapist) sexual behaviors.
  • Create and start to implement an individualized plan for long-term recovery and healing. 

These goals are pursued through a highly structured combination of psychoeducation, social learning, individual and group therapy, experiential work, and various alternative methodologies (when clinically appropriate). Typically, the majority of treatment work is focused on the here and now, relying on highly directive methods like CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy). 

That said, treatment always proceeds with the past in mind, recognizing that sex and porn addiction are nearly always driven by unresolved early-life trauma and shame. These issues should always be acknowledged in rehab, even though they’re typically not addressed in-depth until the client is psychologically stable, solidly sober, and has a strong external support network in place. 

A common misperception about addiction rehab (for all types of addiction) is that addicts, after completing a treatment program, will be cured, that they will leave the treatment center and never again struggle with addiction. In reality, there is no cure for addiction. Addiction is treatable but not curable. So instead of trying to cure an issue for which there is no cure, addiction treatment focuses on identifying the client’s addictive behaviors and consequences, addressing the client’s presenting crisis or crises, developing tools and a plan for long-term sobriety, and preparing the addict for a lifelong process of post-rehab recovery and healing.  

For more information about sex and porn addiction rehab, you can email or phone (747.234.4325) a Seeking Integrity staff member, who will be happy to answer any questions you might have. You can also sit in one on my weekly online Q&A sessions. I’m available Monday evenings at 5 p.m. PST via this link at SexandRelationshipHealing.com (a free resource website for sex, porn, relationship, and chemsex issues), and Friday evenings at 6 p.m. PST via this link at InTheRooms.com (a free resource website for addicts). 

Author

Robert Weiss PhD, LCSW is Chief Clinical Officer of Seeking Integrity LLC, a unified group of online and real-world communities helping people to heal from intimacy disorders like compulsive sexual behavior and related drug abuse. As Chief Clinical Officer, Dr. Rob led the development and implementation of Seeking Integrity’s residential treatment programming and serves as an integral part of the treatment team. He is the author of ten books on sexuality, technology, and intimate relationships, including Sex Addiction 101, Out of the Doghouse, and Prodependence. His Sex, Love, and Addiction Podcast is currently in the Top 10 of US Addiction-Health Podcasts. Dr. Rob hosts a no-cost weekly Sex and Intimacy Q&A on Seeking Integrity’s self-help website, SexandRelationshipHealing.com (@SexandHealing). The Sex and Relationship Healing website provides free information for addicts, partners of addicts, and therapists dealing with sex addiction, porn addiction, and substance abuse issues. Dr. Rob can be contacted via Seeking Integrity.com and SexandRelationshipHealing.com. All his writing is available on Amazon, while he can also be found on Twitter (@RobWeissMSW), on LinkedIn (Robert Weiss LCSW), and on Facebook (Rob Weiss MSW).

3 Comments

  1. Coyote Springs Reply

    Its amazing how many we hurt in our addictions. It’s Xmas time and I was thinking back to this girl I was dating when I was in Flagstaff under “the illusion” of going to college.She was sweet, innocent and I acted like I loved her just to “get some”.When Xmas vacation came she had to stay in town, no money to go home for Holidays and I told her I could not take her with me(really I just wanted to party not be bothered with a clingy girlfriend) so I left her behind. When I got back she was burning the phone up to talk to me and I broke up with her on the phone like a jerk.Really I just wanted to drink,drug and sleep with every girl I see.All these years later I found out she was pregnant with my child. Sobering up the guilt is too much to bear.I thought about calling her, but the shame of why would she want me because since I last saw her I “have been” with more women than I can count and have drank,drug a career away, all my money and got a criminal record.Like the Book says the alcoholic(addict, sex addict) is an example of emotions and desires Run Wild! And the damage done well ??

  2. I am a porn addict and it has caused me a lifetime of trouble. I need help in learning to control myself.

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