The Meadows Blog

The Meadows, one of America's leading centers for the treatment of addiction and trauma, presents a series of videos featuring Maureen Canning discussing sexual addiction in women.

In the fifth video of her nine-part series, Ms. Canning, a specialist in the treatment of sexual addiction and trauma, talks about what partners of sex addicts need to know in order to break the cycle of abuse and codependency.

"With all addictions, it's important to look at family systems and how they affect the members of the family - particularly the partners of sex addicts," she says.

She adds that The Meadows has developed workshops specifically to help partners of sex addicts understand the addiction. They learn not to blame themselves for the addict's behaviors or to internalize shame for those behaviors. They also gain understanding of their own roles in the relationship.

"We want to empower the partners of sex addicts so they're out of that 'victim mode' and not blaming themselves, but understanding their own process and moving toward health."

Ms. Canning, MA, LMFT, is a clinical consultant and senior fellow at The Meadows of Wickenburg and a clinical consultant at Dakota, The Meadows' extended-care facility dedicated to treating sexual addiction and trauma. She is a leading expert in the treatment of sexual disorders, and her clinical experience includes individual, couples, and family counseling; workshops; lectures; educational trainings; and interventions. Her books include Lust, Anger, Love: Understanding Sexual Addiction and The Road to Healthy Intimacy.

In other videos in the series, she discusses the nature of healthy sexuality, the relationship between shame and sex addiction, and The Meadows' approach to sex addiction treatment.

View the entire series of The Meadows' videos, including interviews with John Bradshaw and Dr. Jerry Boriskin, at www.youtube.com/themeadowswickenburg.

For more about The Meadows' innovative treatment program for addictions and trauma, visit www.themeadows.org or call The Meadows at 800-244-4949.

Published in Blog

MAUREEN CANNING: SEX ADDICTION IS REAL...AND IT CAN KILL.

As part of its ongoing series, The Meadows, America's premier center for the treatment of addiction and trauma, presents a video of Maureen Canning discussing sexual addiction in women.

In the fourth video of her nine-part series, Ms. Canning, a leading expert in the field of sexual addiction, talks about common perceptions - and misconceptions - of sex addiction.

"A lot of people don't believe that sex addiction is real," she says. "In fact, it's very real, very dangerous - and it can kill."

Despite the prevalence of jokes downplaying the condition's seriousness (e.g., "If I had an addiction, it's the one I'd want to have."), Ms. Canning stresses that sexual addiction often is emotionally painful because of the intense shame an addict feels.
"Sex addicts believe they don't deserve love, don't deserve attention, don't deserve to be respected," she says. "And so they don't respect themselves, and they act out with behaviors that are outside their value systems." It's a vicious cycle, she explains, and it can lead to deep despair, even suicide.

Ms. Canning, MA, LMFT, is a clinical consultant and senior fellow at The Meadows of Wickenburg and a clinical consultant at Dakota, The Meadows' extended-care facility dedicated to treating sexual addiction and trauma. She is a foremost expert in the treatment of sexual disorders, and her clinical experience includes individual, couples, and family counseling; workshops; lectures; educational trainings; and interventions. She has written several books, including Lust, Anger, Love: Understanding Sexual Addiction and The Road to Healthy Intimacy.

In other videos in the series, she talks about the nature of healthy sexuality, shame and sex addiction, and what partners of sex addicts need to know.

View the entire series of The Meadows' videos, including interviews with John Bradshaw and Dr. Jerry Boriskin, at www.youtube.com/themeadowswickenburg.
For more about The Meadows' innovative treatment program for addictions and trauma, visit www.themeadows.org or call The Meadows at 800-244-4949.

Published in Blog

MAUREEN CANNING ON CONTEMPORARY SEX ADDICTION TREATMENT

As part of its series on addiction and trauma, The Meadows is pleased to present a video featuring Maureen Canning discussing sexual addiction in women.

In the third video in her nine-part series, Maureen Canning, MA, LMFT, talks about contemporary methods for treating sexual addiction.

"One of the things we do differently at The Meadows is that we really look at the family of origin," she says. "We address the addictive process - and we're very good at doing that - but we also look at the underlying issues."

Ms. Canning adds that most sex addicts have deep-seated feelings of shame and inherent worthlessness. They feel they don't deserve to be loved, heard, or emotionally safe.

"They're looking for someone to hear them, to see them, and to love them," Ms. Canning explains. "And when we help them to understand, it automatically reduces the shame. And reducing the shame starts the process of recovery."

Ms. Canning is a clinical consultant and senior fellow at The Meadows of Wickenburg and a clinical consultant at Dakota, The Meadows' extended-care facility dedicated to treating sexual addiction and trauma. She has taught extensively about sexual disorders, and her clinical experience includes individual, couples, and family counseling; workshops; lectures; educational training; and interventions. She has written several books, including Lust, Anger, Love: Understanding Sexual Addiction and The Road to Healthy Intimacy.

In other videos in the series, she discusses such topics as the nature of healthy sexuality, how sexual addiction can kill, and what partners of sex addicts need to know.

View the entire series of The Meadows' videos, including interviews with John Bradshaw and Dr. Jerry Boriskin, at www.youtube.com/themeadowswickenburg.

For more about The Meadows' innovative treatment program for addictions and trauma, visit www.themeadows.org or call The Meadows at 800-244-4949.

Published in Blog

The Meadows is pleased to present its ongoing series of videos on addiction and trauma; the series features some of the most influential figures in the mental health field, including Maureen Canning, John Bradshaw, and Dr. Jerry Boriskin, among others.
In the second video of her series, Maureen Canning, MA, LMFT, clinical consultant and senior fellow at The Meadows, discusses the nature of sexual addiction and trauma in women.

"Sexual addiction, unlike other addictions, is based in shame," she explains. "Sex addicts have a sense of self that is very diminished. They feel worthless at the core of who they are. The feel as if they don't deserve love."

She goes on to explain that most sexual addictions are rooted in childhood trauma - and that trauma causes disruptions in psychosexual development.

"When the child grows up, they want to undo that original trauma, and so they start to act out," Ms. Canning says. "And when they act out, they re-create the original behavior."

In addition to her role as senior fellow at The Meadows, Ms. Canning is a clinical consultant at Dakota, an extended-care facility dedicated exclusively to the treatment of sexual addiction and trauma. Her extensive clinical experience includes individual, couples, and family counseling; workshops; lectures; educational trainings; and interventions. She is the author of Lust, Anger, Love: Understanding Sexual Addiction and The Road to Healthy Intimacy.

In other videos in the series, Ms. Canning discusses such topics as the nature of healthy sexuality, how sexual addiction can kill, and what partners of sex addicts need to know. View the entire series of The Meadows' videos at www.youtube.com/themeadowswickenburg. For more information about The Meadows' innovative treatment program for addictions and trauma, see www.themeadows.org or call The Meadows at 888-888-8888.

Published in Blog
Saturday, 21 May 2011 20:00

Sexual Addiction

I have been working in the field of sexual compulsivity for almost twenty years and during that time I have seen a seen a shift in the attitudes and education of medical and clinical professions. For a long time sexual compulsivity was seen as an unsubstantiated disorder. It was not legitimized by clinical trials, research studies or even more profound, recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. However, in recent years the attitudes and treatment is shifting both professionally and culturally. These changes are positive, but still I pause. I believe we can do better. Diagnosing and assessing sexual disorders is challenging. Not for the client whose behaviors are overt, having been caught with evidence in hand. This disorder can be a pattern of complex interactive behaviors that often leave the professional perplexed.

Or even more profound leave them believing they have a complete assessment of the subjective world of the addict. At The Meadows extended care treatment specifically for sexual disorders, Dakota we have seen clients, (mixed gender population) who were not diagnosed with sexual disorders. Fortunately skilled clinicians saw signs or red flags and were astute enough to refer them to Dakota.

Consider this case. A female patient came into primary care with the following presenting issues: depression, alcohol abuse, self-reported "flirting" while drinking. A skillful clinician was able to see the indicators of a sexual disorder. By the time the client discharged from extended care the clients list of sexual behaviors included; compulsive masturbation, masturbation to the point of injury, erotic literature, sexual fantasy, seductive role sex, Internet pornography including sado masochism and rape sites.

Consider the case of a 31-year-old female. Her presenting issues upon admit included; depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and love addiction. After five weeks in extended care she had disclosed sexual behaviors including; working as a prostitute and stripper, seductive role sex, phone sex, affairs, anonymous sex (sex clubs and swinging), working as a dominatrix, use of urination and defecation for sexual arousal and sexually exploited by boss.
The same is true for men. This is especially true in cases where men have had same sex encounters but identify as heterosexual. The confusion and shame is so overwhelming they do not disclose, keeping it a secret. They may be willing to talk about a pornography stash or acting out with prostitutes but a complete sexual disclosure is something they are unwilling to risk.

As we all know in addiction, it is the secrets that kill. It is the shame associated with the secrets that compel the compulsive lying. It is vital that we as clinicians create a safe and healing environment for the client to unburden themselves with the truth.

I often say this work is not for the faint at heart. Sexual addiction can lead our clients into very dark, socially unacceptable behaviors that can be both shocking and disturbing. It is our responsibility as clinician to hold that safe place for our clients to heal.

This may seem like a rudimentary statement but consider the previous case; it is much easier and or comfortable to explore issues of love addiction then the dark and seedy reality of a client who views defecation as sexually gratifying.

I like the idea that it is my responsibility as a therapist to hold temporarily for the client the burden of this shame. I respectfully and skillfully urge the client to describe his or her shame and the behavior it has generated. The client hands it off to me for storage until that time in our therapy when I can hand it back to him or her for inspection. At that point, the client has grown able to appreciate that he or she is not endemically evil, but is the victim of abuse.
I am able to hold the shame, the anxious hope, whatever belief system, or whatever emotion the client is feeling, and say to this suffering and trusting person, "You know what? I believe you can work through this, and that you can and will become even more than you now believe is possible. And I will hold all the shame or other emotion for you while we are doing this work together."

What can make for successful interventions is becoming the solid ego state against which the wounded ego can collide, yet survive. I mirror for them the respect, understanding, and safety they have never known. The wounded part begins to heal. The therapist becomes the good parent. The client internalizes that identity. The healing takes place within the therapeutic relationship.

The goal of early treatment is to help clients trust that I respect them in their full humanity, even the darkest parts. I want them to understand that I can deal with their demons and find the healthy soul trapped within. This is the beginning of the healing.

Published in Blog
Page 1 of 5

Contact The Meadows

Intensive Family Program • Innovative Experiential Therapy • Neurobehavioral Therapy

(*)
Invalid Input

Invalid Input

(*)
Invalid Input

(*)
Invalid Input

(*)
Invalid Input

Invalid Input