This week The Meadows provided to industry experts an online screening of the new film "Thanks for Sharing" focusing on sex addiction. One hundred twenty-four people attended the screening. The following is a review of the film.
BY: Gene Klassen, LPC-Intern, CSAT (c)
I thought the movie was well done. It provided a very realistic view of life in the first several years of recovery from sexual addiction. All of the basic themes around recovery and 12-step meetings were presented: sobriety medallions, sponsorship, 3-second rule, relapse, partner's fears about their addict's relapse potential, dating, honesty, avoiding triggers, withdrawal, meetings, phone calls to program buddies, eliminating stash, higher power, etc.
There were a few scenes with sexual content that could potentially be problematic for sex addicts in early recovery to watch. With appropriate support and discussion about these scenes with other recovering addicts immediately following the movie, I think the movie could be appropriate for almost all addicts and partners in recovery.
For the general public, I think the movie provides a pretty good overview of sexual addiction. For individuals with this problem who are not in recovery, this movie may provide an impetus to seek help. Of course, those who see the movie and want to solve this problem on their own will find ways to dis-identify with the characters in the movie.
Other than an education in sexual addiction, there is not much else that makes the movie compelling. Because of a few well-known actors, the movie may bring in a crowd that would otherwise pass. My prediction is that it will not be a box office hit. I also doubt the movie will result in immediate change in general attitudes around sexual addiction, but my hope is that it will provide additional content and perspective to the ongoing conversation. The media buzz could generate curiosity and higher attendance that I might expect. We'll see.
Thank you so much for the invitation to the pre-screening,
Gene Klassen, LPC-Intern, CSAT (c)
Dallas, TX 75209
The Meadows will sponsor a preview of the new film about sex addiction, "Thanks for Sharing," at the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH) National Conference on September 18 - 21, 2013 at the Boston Marriott Cambridge Hotel. The theme of the convention is "Creating a Culture of Healthy Sexuality: Diversity of Thought" which will examine sex addition and how to move from addiction into healthy sexuality.
The Meadows Senior Fellow, Alexandra Katehakis, MFT, CSAT, CST-S, and the 2012 Carnes Award Recipient, will present the Carnes Lecture "From Behaviorism to Biology: A historical look at where we've been and where we're going" on Friday, September 20.
"We are pleased to preview the new film "Thanks for Sharing" at this year's SASH Conference," said Sean Walsh, Executive Director for The Meadows."Leading sex addiction experts, including The Meadows' Senior Fellow, Alexandra Katehakis, will be presenting training, along with strategies, treatment modalities, and research in the fields of sexual health."
Several goals and objectives of the conference include using effective techniques to identify persons for increased risk for problems with sexual health and developing educational approaches and preventive interventions that improve the sexual health of all persons.
SASH is a nonprofit multidisciplinary organization dedicated to scholarship, training, and resources for promoting sexual health and overcoming problematic sexual behaviors. For more information about SASH and the conference, visit. www.sash.net.
Dusty - 23year old -Strawberry Roan - Quarter horse - Gelding
Boundaries are one of the most requested issues that Participants want to work on at Equine.
So where can you find a safe and reliable place to practice noticing and responding to boundaries? A place where you can literally see and feel boundaries?
Dusty is that space. He is amazing in that he is consistent, honest and clear in his expression of personal boundaries. He is not what you would call cuddly. We affectionately refer to him as our "Grumpy Old Man." With Dusty you always know exactly what he wants. No question. He makes no excuses and never second guesses himself. If he wants to be close that day you know it. If he wants space that day, you know it too. Groups have begun only to have Dusty lay down and fall asleep or take a nap. The photo above is Dusty napping during a group.
Dusty created our Boundaries experiential all on his own. We would watch Participants approach him and see him begin setting boundaries. Often the more subtle cues were missed and so he would be more obvious with ears and making a face. If these cues were also missed he would move away or move his head up and down in the air. So the question posed is always the same "Do you ever find yourself in an out of control situation but have no idea how it got that way?"
By moving toward Dusty and then away Participants can see exactly when the Boundary is being set and also FEEL when the Boundary is there. Dusty sets and holds boundaries with an almost tangible energy. It's a very confident feeling. To Participants who chose to work with Dusty it becomes very clear; that in learning how to recognize the boundaries he sets, they were also better able to see other boundaries being set around them. Boundaries that, before would have been totally unrecognized, are now easily seen.
Even though he is a horse that clearly prefers the predictable black and white of life, Dusty willingly stands in the grey messiness of us trying to figure out human Boundaries. With Dusty the more you lean into the Boundary the clearer and more obvious it gets. He is a horse that brings things into focus and gives you a look at life through eyes that see things in a much simpler way.
Finding out that your committed partner has sexually betrayed you is like: getting your heart ripped out, stomped on, thrown through a glass window, spit on, and perhaps lastly, smothered with gasoline and set on fire. Then, your partner asks you to forgive him or her; and you don't think you could ever be more furious and disgusted.
This is a common experience for the Partners of Sexual Addicts that I work with on a weekly basis at The Meadows. The stories and behaviors may be different but the underlying foundation of the damage is always Betrayal. Emotional, Physical, Sexual, and Financial betrayal is devastating and gut-wrenchingly painful for a partner who had dreams and hopes of having a healthy and committed relationship. Those dreams are now shattered and the Partner is left with the questions of "Why wasn't I enough?", "How could they do this to me?"; and "Where do I go from here?"
Sexual Addiction stems from a deep rooted intimacy and attachment disorder that often starts within childhood, teenage, or young adult years. Many of the patients I work with at The Meadows have been engaging in some type of dysfunctional, sexual fantasies, thoughts, and/or behaviors since they could remember, far before ever meeting their current partner or spouse. Sexual Addiction thrives off of Shame. Often times the addict's shame, due to their behaviors and lies, will be deflected or projected onto the partner and they are the ones that have to carry it.
Because sexuality and being sexual is so important and integral in intimate coupleships, when that is destroyed or taken outside the primary relationship, the partner has no choice but to take it personally and look at it as an attack on themselves and who they are or are not. Many spouses that I speak with will say to me, "Why wasn't I attractive enough, sexual enough, loved enough to keep him/her with me?" My message to them is: "If there is one thing I want you to learn this week, it is that this had nothing to do with what you have or have not done".
So if the partner did not cause the addiction and is not an addict themselves then why be a part of the patient's treatment and come to Family Week? I often hear from partners: "He is the sick one! He gets to go and get help and leave me here at home with the chaos and damage that he created! And now he is asking me to drop everything and come to Arizona for a week to help him?" My reply is: "Come here for YOU."
Within the Family Week program, partners are given resources and tools to start to stand on solid ground. Family Week is NOT about reconciliation, fixing the problem or hearing an excuse about why the patient acted out. The week long program is designed around boundary setting and healthy communication that allow the partner to be heard and protected.
Being betrayed will undoubtedly, for most partners, contribute to feelings of shame and worthlessness that creates a deep, dark wound within them. The Meadows and Pia Mellody define Trauma as "Anything less than nurturing". Sexual betrayal would obviously fit into this category based on the definition and many partners experience symptoms of trauma such as hypervigilance, despair, flashbacks and nightmares, among other experiences. The shame and trauma need to be addressed for the partner to start to heal that wound. Even if the partner decides to move on from that relationship he or she will continue to be plagued in life and through other relationships if not addressed.
Through my work at The Meadows, I have seen amazing growth and strength in men and women who thought that they could have never dug themselves out of the dark hole that sexual addiction created. Recovery work, for both the addict and partner, instills hope, perseverance, and self-worth that they thought they had lost. The Meadows Workshops such as Partners of Sex Addicts, Survivors, and Women's Intimacy Issues are great resources to help partners to gain awareness, understanding, and tools to help themselves and their families.
Lauren Bierman is a Family Counselor at the Meadows working with the Sex Addiction population. She is a Licensed Associate Counselor and has been trained through Patrick Carnes and IITAP's Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT) program. Her passion is working with Partners of Sex Addicts in their own healing process and helping them find hope after sexual betrayal.
John Bradshaw, one of the most influential writers on emotional healing in the twentieth century and a Senior Fellow at The Meadows Wickenburg, will be featured on HoustonPBS on August 19 at 9:00 p.m. and August 25 at 5:00 p.m.
The title of the program is "Bradshaw on Bradshaw: An InnerVIEWS Special." Television host, Ernie Manouse, sits down with Bradshaw to discuss his life and work, from the dysfunctional family to the wounded inner child.
For more information regarding this program, visit http://www.houstonpbs.org/schedule/.
Bradshaw is a world-famous educator, counselor, motivational speaker, television personality, author and one of the leading figures in the fields of addiction, recovery, family systems and the concept of toxic shame. Bradshaw has had a long and productive association with The Meadows; giving insights to staff, patients, speaking at alumni retreats and lecturing to mental health professionals at our workshops and seminars. Mr. Bradshaw's work has influenced the treatment programs at The Meadows and Mellody House.
Selected by his peers as one of the 100 most influential writers on emotional health in the 20th Century, Bradshaw has literally changed the lives of millions of people around the globe through his best-selling books and sold-out workshops and seminars. Over the years, Bradshaw has written several New York Times bestselling books, including, Homecoming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child, Creating Love and Healing the Shame That Binds You. In 2009 Bradshaw was nominated for The Pulitzer Prize for Reclaiming Virtue.
The Meadows is an industry leader in treating trauma and addiction through its inpatient and workshop programs. To learn more about The Meadows' work with trauma and addiction contact an intake coordinator at (866) 856-1279 or visit www.themeadows.com.
For over 35 years, The Meadows has been a leading trauma and addiction treatment center. In that time, they have helped more than 20,000 patients in one of their three inpatient centers and 25,000 attendees in national workshops. The Meadows world-class team of Senior Fellows, Psychiatrists, Therapists and Counselors treat the symptoms of addiction and the underlying issues that cause lifelong patterns of self-destructive behavior. The Meadows, with 24 hour nursing and on-site physicians and psychiatrists, is a Level 1 Sub-Acute Agency that is accredited by the Joint Commission.