Sex Addiction – English

Sex Addiction In-house Training Program Sex Addiction with Paula Hall

Register for the training here…

Day 1:   What is Sex Addiction? 

After introductions and an overview of the course and current treatment approaches, day 1 will start by focusing on understanding a range of theories as they apply to addiction and specifically, sex addiction.

Session 2 will explain the broad underpinnings of sex addiction, namely affect regulation, attachment, trauma and opportunity.  An assessment tool will be presented to establish the extent of sex addiction and the role of history taking will be discussed to identify priorities for therapy and treatment.  After lunch we’ll explore the brain structure and neuroscience associated with addiction and sex addiction, including the impact of trauma on the brain and early attachment difficulties. The final session will begin with an explanation of the neuroscience that underpins attachment and how this may pre-dispose an individual to addiction. Common presentations of attachment style will be offered and how these relate to specific behavioural patterns in sex and love addiction.  The day will close with an invitation for delegates to consider questions for the morning.

Learning objectives

  • To establish delegates’ needs for the course
  • To establish current social and delegate attitudes towards sex addiction
  • To describe the principle models for addiction and sex addiction
  • To define and describe sexual addiction and know the principal criteria that distinguish sexual addiction from other types of addition
  • To understand the key pre-disposing factors and their role in the aetiology of addiction
  • To be able to conduct an initial assessment to determine sex addiction
  • To undertake history taking to highlight key areas for therapy and addiction recovery
  • To understand the role of dopamine in addiction
  • To understand how supernormal stimuli affects dopamine and escalation
  • To understand hyperfrontality
  • To understand the principles of ‘brain lock’
  • To recognise and understand how childhood attachment issues and subsequent adult attachment styles cause and maintain addiction.
  • To understand why sex addiction may be chosen as the ‘drug of choice’ by addicts with attachment issues.
  • To be confident to discuss the role of attachment with people with sex addiction

 Day 2:   Understanding Sex Addiction

Day 2 will start with a question and answer session for anything raised the evening before.  The impact of trauma on brain development and how it leads to hyper/hypo arousal will be explored and how this may lead to sexual addiction. There will also be an experiential exercise on recognising trauma that may be used with clients.  This session draws together the learning about attachment and trauma issues and focuses on how these difficulties can be addressed in therapy, both individual and within a group environment. Starting with how assessment and therapy can provide information about trauma and attachment the session will then move on through psychological approaches and practical techniques. This session will pick up on the neuroscience teaching so far and provide further understanding of the impact of neural pathways in determining behaviour. There will be a range of practical examples of how behaviour can be changed through cognitive techniques. This session will discuss the importance of identifying cross addictions and how they interact with each other.  There will also be an opportunity for delegates to reflect on their own addictive processes. Co-morbidity will also be discussed to enable clinicians to identify additional issues that may need be addressed and/or referral options. The session will close with an invitation for delegates to consider questions for the morning.

Learning objectives

  • To recognise and understand how childhood and adult trauma impacts the brain and can result in addiction.
  • To understand why sex addiction may be chosen as the ‘drug of choice’ by addicts with trauma related issues
  • To become familiar with using the Trauma Egg
  • To identify treatment approaches to address attachment
  • To understand the role of group work in working with attachment
  • To safely work with trauma issues
  • To know when to refer for trauma work
  • To understand the principles of neurogenesis
  • To become confident in speaking to clients about the need for neural pathway change
  • To develop strategies for helping clients to change neural pathways
  • Understand how addictive processes interconnect and how this is relevant to the individual.
  • Know when to refer or co-work when there is chemical dependency.
  • To have an understanding of the mental health disorders that sometimes accompany and drive sexual addiction.
  • To know when and how to work with co-morbid presentations.

Day 3:  Understanding Sex Addiction

Day 3 will start with a question and answer session for anything raised the evening before.  An experiential exercise will allow delegates the opportunity to increase their comfort and familiarity with sexual language and we will then explore the range of social influences, including the media, culture, race and religion and how these influence the formation and maintenance of sex addiction. Acting out behaviours will also be explored through the evolutionary psychology concept of supernormal stimuli. There will also be an outline of the most common fetish and paraphilic behaviours and an exploration of some theories of how they developed and may be worked with. After lunch this module focuses on how to work with shame to reduce denial and common cognitive distortions used.  The day will end with an experiential exercise to demonstrate the power of shame.

Learning objectives

  • To identify and understand the social constructs and social influences that impact a clients comprehension and treatment of their addiction.
  • To understand the concepts of supernormal stimuli and their application to sex addiction.
  • To become comfortable talking about sex and using explicit sexual language
  • To be knowledgeable about the variety of the paraphilias and understand the connection with sex addiction
  • To become comfortable talking about paraphilia’s and fetish behaviours
  • To e knowledgeable about the variety of the paraphilias and understand theories about their origin and function.
  • To now how to work with paraphilias.
  • To understand how to establish a working therapeutic relationship with a sexually-addicted client, including working with erotic transference.
  • To demonstrate an awareness and knowledge of how to work with shame and the role of group work in shame reduction.
  • To describe some of the typical cognitive distortions found in sex addiction.
  • To be confident in techniques to work with denial

Day 4:   Principles of Recovery

Day 4 focuses on practical strategies for helping clients and patients overcome sexual addiction.  Starting with an exploration of what positive sexuality might mean and the importance of establishing positive sexuality and setting sobriety boundaries.  A variety of common cycles of addiction will then be presented including Carnes, Opponent Process, Oscillating Control Cycles, Hall 6 Stage along with guidance on how to help clients personalize their own cycle of addiction.  The day will close with a discussion on how best to help clients develop a life of sobriety and the necessary components for resisting relapse.  There will also be an opportunity to experience of a number of well used relapse prevention strategies before a final question and answer session.

Learning objectives

  • To describe how to educate a client about the nature of sex addiction and use the addiction cycles.
  • To demonstrate familiarity with issues of abstinence and the establishment of sobriety boundaries.
  • To recognise common blocks to establishing positive sexuality, such as fantasy, libido and dysfunctions, and provide strategies to overcome them
  • To define ‘positive’ sexuality within a range of socio-cultural contexts.
  • To help clients define positive sexuality for themselves and create a positive sex plan.
  • To help clients recognise and respond to emotional, environmental and relational triggers
  • To help clients identify the difference between a ‘slip up’ and a ‘relapse’.
  • To be comfortable with a range of relapse prevention strategies
  • To feel confident establishing long term techniques for establishing lifetime sobriety.