Gentle Path at The Meadows has developed a unique program that integrates effective clinical methodologies to help patients deal with sex addiction and trauma. An important component of our program is treating both sex addiction and trauma, given the intricate connections between these two. On the one hand, sex addiction treatment that addresses trauma has proven to be more effective and successful than clinical practices that do not take trauma into consideration. On the other hand, the rate of recidivism when sex addiction treatment that is not trauma-informed is significantly higher than other modalities of treatment that do not take trauma into consideration.
As unpleasant as it may be to accept it, pain is part of human existence. However, trauma per se is not expected as an aspect of normal experience. Trauma results from life events that are beyond the normal sense of control, are extremely stressful in nature, and are directly experienced, witnessed, or vicariously lived by an individual. Trauma can be overwhelmingly disruptive. A direct implication of traumatic situations is the person’s loss of the natural sense of safety, meaning, purpose, and understanding of the world and life experiences. Trauma usually shatters trust; which affects our sense of personal connection and support; other people can be perceived as unreliable, and the experience of loneliness may become invasive. When the system of rules that frame our normal experience has been violated, the world may no longer be protective for the person. Because the fight or flight response cannot be deactivated, the body experience and even the sense of self and identity may become unsafe. Hence, the person needs special care in order to have his/her personal structure restored and reintegrate the experience of self.
When trauma occurs, the organism tries to assimilate the experience and reduce the detrimental consequences without an extreme investment of psychological energy. Human beings have an innate biological response of protection to wounding that is immediately activated when this happens. Psychologically, a frequent reaction of the organism is re-experiencing the event and avoiding reminders of the situation as a defense mechanism. This reaction can be part of the normal adjustment process. However, it can also result in a disorder that causes alterations in the person’s cognition, arousal, reactivity, and behavior if the reaction lasts for a period of time that ranges from one month to lifetime if untreated. Sex addiction is quite often a response to unresolved relational trauma and wounded love.