The Meadows Blog

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.

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The Meadows Alumni Association is pleased to host an alumni workshop in Dallas, Texas, for alumni on Aug. 13, 2013, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. Dina Hijazi, PhD, will lead the discussion on "Resentment." It will be held at Preston Place at 12700 Preston Road, #140.

Dr. Hijazi graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Purdue University. She then earned her Master's Degree in Psychology from Notre Dame University and her Doctoral Degree in Psychology from The University of Texas - Austin. Beginning with her work at Notre Dame, Dr. Hijazi focused on Family and Child Psychology and continued this focus throughout her graduate work. After completing a Post-Doc at the Southwest Family Institute in Dallas, Dr. Hijazi started a private practice with an emphasis on child/adolescent and family psychology.

To register and learn more, visit http://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?EventID=1102470.  For more information, contact Morgan Day at 800.240.5522 or alumni@themeadows.com.

The Meadows Alumni Association is pleased to host monthly alumni meetings in Texas and Arizona. Meadows' trained professionals lead these inspirational meetings and focus on topics including renewing the language of The Meadows Model and reclaiming commitment to its principles. The Meadows Model is a therapeutic model that comprehensively addresses trauma resolution.

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.

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The Meadows announced the addition of Patrick Carnes’ Gentle Path Program. Through this definitive and exclusive license agreement with New Freedom Corporation, Gentle Path will be relocating from Pine Grove Behavioral Health and Addiction Services in Hattiesburg, Miss. to The Meadows’ newest property, Vista, located two miles from the main campus. Vista will open on October 15, 2013, offering a 26-bed facility and an exclusive and confidential setting for males 18 years and older.

The Gentle Path program is based on the ground breaking work of Dr. Carnes’ Thirty-Task model which has been empirically validated to be an effective form of treatment for sexually compulsive behavior.  Patients of the Gentle Path program undergo a comprehensive diagnostic assessment prior to participation in the residential treatment program. Patients focus on trauma therapy in addition to treatment for mood disturbance, anxiety, or addictions such as chemical dependency and process addictions.

"The Meadows is pleased that Gentle Path will join our organization and provide us the opportunity to expand our services to men who suffer from a sexual disorder," said Jim Dredge, CEO for The Meadows. "We are thrilled that Dr. Patrick Carnes has returned to The Meadows as a new Senior Fellow, as well as directing the Gentle Path program."

Gentle Path offers a comprehensive level of holistic treatment and services which includes 12-Step groups and an intensive one-week Family Care Program. Family week brings together patients'; loved ones to assist in dealing with difficult issues, identify the problems they face and set goals for recovery. In addition, The Meadows' signature Survivors Workshop will be added to the program, along with Equine Therapy and Somatic Experiencing®.

"Walking onto The Meadows campus was like returning home," said Dr. Patrick Carnes. "I look forward to a collaborative, exciting, and innovative new version of the Gentle Path Program."

Patrick Carnes, Ph.D., C.A.S., is a nationally known speaker on sex addiction and recovery issues.  He is the founder of the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP) and Gentle Path Press. From 1996 until 2004, Dr. Carnes was Clinical Director for Sexual Disorder Services at The Meadows. His achievements include the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH), where they present an annual "Carnes Award" to researchers and clinicians who have made exceptional contributions to the field of sexual health.

Dr. Carnes is the author of Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction (1992), Contrary to Love: Helping the Sexual Addict (1989), The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships (1997), Open Hearts (1999), Facing the Shadow (2001), In the Shadows of the Net (2001), and The Clinical Management of Sex Addiction (2002), Recovery Zone (2009), and A Gentle Path Through the Twelve Principles (2012). Dr. Carnes' article, "18.4 Sexual Addiction," appears in Kaplan & Sadock's Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry (2005).

The Meadows is an industry leader in treating trauma and addiction through its inpatient and workshop programs. To learn more about The Meadows Gentle Path Program, 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.

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Many clients ask professionals "Why have I been plagued with hyper-sexuality?" In other words, they were curious as to understand why  they had become addicted to hyper-sexual behavior?' This question is often asked by drug and alcohol addicts who also wonder why they were plagued with the addiction gene when their siblings did not appear to have similar issues.

Although the field of sexual addiction is a relatively new one, we have research that shows that there are two pathways to sexual addiction. Often times children who have been traumatized as young kids, will in adolescence or adulthood reenact the trauma; in the form of compulsive sexuality. One of the exercises that I give my clients is to look back in their childhoods and identify the small or the big events that traumatized them. That might look like a divorce or a parents abandonment. That might be the result of a child walking in on his parents having sex. That may include a neighbor or family friend molesting him or her. These little "t" or big "T" traumas lay the ground work for the human psyche to continue to replay unconsciously, the scenario over and over again as an adult. It is if the brain becomes psychologically become stuck or locked in the brain as something familiar that creates compulsivity. The trauma results in the development of an arousal template that continues to light up as it is acted adult in adulthood. The good news is that psychologists believe that these behaviors that repetitiously manifest over and over again are opportunities to get the needed help as an adult that the child was unable to get as a child.

John was frequently punished as a child by his father. His father would beat him severely for even the slightest infractions. Despite the abuse and painful exchange of punishment, John became intrigued as an adult when he viewed sadistic and masochistic forms of internet pornography and began to unconsciously play out these fantasies in his sex life. Punishment and sexual excitement became fused together and became the only stimuli that effectively delivered arousal during times of sex. John shared his desires with his wife who was disgusted by the thought of using physical spankings in the bedroom therefore John became even more compulsive with his viewings on the internet. This behavior escalated further and eventually he was secretly going outside of the marriage to get his sexual needs met which added an extra element of secrecy and excitement to his sexual arousal template. In this scenario it is easy to see how John was reenacting the trauma of early childhood beatings into his sexual life. John said that the first time he ever viewed S & M pornography, he felt a familiarity that drew him back to the porn over and over again. It is likely that John experienced suppressed rage about his childhood abuse which he combined with erotica to produce the desire to reenact the trauma. Unfortunately a contributor to sexual addiction is eroticized rage.

A secondary contributor for arousal template development occurs when children's young minds get "brainlocked" after they have seen something that is curious, titillating or even disturbing. Young children who stumble on their parents soft porn magazines, videos or internet sites may develop the compulsion to go back over the material frequently. Their brain development becomes altered when the reward center learns to light up after viewing this material. This material creates the arousal template that maps out sexual excitement in adulthood. With sexual addiction this behavior becomes compulsive and like an addiction, the sex addict spends more and more time, money and energy finding new forms of this sexual material or experience.

If either of these scenarios sound like you it is important to seek help with a certified sexual addictions therapist (CSAT) who can assist you in calming down the brain, and managing the template while you undergo the process of retraining the brain towards healthy sexuality and break the chains of compulsivity and hyper-sexuality.

Neither trauma nor "brainlock" needs to lock you into compulsive behaviors that keep you from engaging in a normal or healthy life!

Carol Juergensen Sheets, LCSW, PCC, CSAT, is currently in private practice in Indianapolis, IN. She speaks nationally on mental health issues and is featured in several local magazines. She currently has an internet radio show on www.blogtalkradio.com/sexhelpwithcarolthecoach and does regular television segments focusing on life skills to improve one's potential. You can read her blogs at www.carolthecoach.com. To contact Carol about sexual addiction: www.sexhelpwithcarolthecoach.

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The Meadows' Senior Fellow, Alexandra Katehakis, MFT, CSAT-S, CST-S, along with Dr. Sonnee Weedn and Jill Vermiere, are the recipients of the 2013 Clark Vincent Award from the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) for their role in writing sections of the textbook, Making Advances: A Comprehensive Guide for Treating Female Sex and Love Addicts. The award was presented at CAMFT's 49th Annual Meeting in Sacramento, Calif. on May 16-19, 2013.

Katehakis is the Founder and Clinical Director of the Center for Healthy Sex in Los Angeles, Calif. She is an expert in the treatment of sexual addiction and other sexual disorders and has incorporated interpersonal neurobiology into her Psychobiological Approach to Sex Addiction Treatment (PASAT). Katehakis was the 2012 recipient of the Carnes Award, a distinguished acknowledgment for her significant contributions to the field of sex addiction. She is author of "Erotic Intelligence: Igniting Hot Healthy Sex after Recovery from Sex Addiction" and is currently writing a book for the W.W. Norton Interpersonal Neurobiology Series edited by Allan Schore and Daniel Siegel titled, Sex Addiction as Affect Dysregulation: A Holistic Healing Model (2014).

"The Meadows is thrilled that Alexandra Katehakis was presented with the prestigious Clark Vincent Award honoring a literary or research contribution to the profession of marriage and the family," said Jim Dredge, CEO for The Meadows. "We also applaud and congratulate Dr. Sonnee Weedn and Jill Vermiere."

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.

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