The Meadows Blog

Wednesday, 11 September 2013 20:00

Review of New Sex Addiction Film

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)

Primary Therapist

Bluffview Counseling

Dallas, TX 75209 

www.BluffviewCounseling.com

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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.

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Monday, 26 August 2013 20:00

The Meadows Horse of the Month - DUSTY

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.

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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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Sunday, 11 August 2013 20:00

What is EFT?

By: Joyce Willis, MC, LPC

This article will introduce the EFT therapy technique. In this article, you will learn what EFT is and how it is used at The Meadows to enhance therapy.

EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Technique. Emotional Freedom Technique is basically acupuncture without needles! EFT uses light tapping with your fingertips on designated points on your face and body. Tapping is combined with stating an identified problem/issue followed by an affirmation phrase. Tapping can balance energy meridians in our body that were disrupted through trauma. Trauma, as defined at The Meadows, is anything that was/is less than nurturing. Trauma can range from neglect and abandonment to emotional, physical or sexual abuse. Using EFT helps to balance the energy system and to relieve psychological stress and pain. Balancing energy allows the body and mind to heal. EFT is safe and easy to apply to a myriad of issues we may struggle with. The benefit of EFT is that it can create lasting changes in thinking and lead to a more balanced and positive life. EFT is easy to learn and can be done with a therapist or by yourself

Why do we offer EFT at The Meadows? EFT is an adjunct therapy that helps with the many reasons that people come to The Meadows. Past trauma, putting alcohol or drugs into your body, engaging in high intensity issues such as gambling or sexual addiction reverses the positive flow of energy in your body. When we experience these issues in our life, it is like we have put the battery into our body in the wrong way. Using EFT tapping re-sets the battery and puts the battery in the right way. Tapping can change the biochemistry of the body. The result of continued tapping on trauma and addiction issues is emotional freedom!

In dealing with trauma, addictions, and intensity issues, it is recommended that EFT is used with a therapist who has been trained in EFT. In fact, it is strongly recommended that EFT is first practiced with an EFT trained therapist before doing EFT by yourself. At The Meadows, we utilize therapist-assisted EFT to help patients with specific issues. Therapists trained in EFT will take patients through the "Tell the Story" technique in order to lead patients through issues they need to work on. The "Tell the Story" technique helps patients work through carried emotions that have caused a disruption in the body's energy system. The EFT trained therapist will work with patients on specific events and tap through intense events and issues.

By working on the specific events and tapping through intense events and issues, patients will be able to balance themselves in the Core Issues. Patients will begin to realize their inherent worth. Patients will develop more functional boundaries. Patients will begin to understand the reality of their humanity and realize they are human and perfectly imperfect. Patients will show a better understanding of their needs and wants and learn to be interdependent. Patients will learn how to balance themselves, so they can live in moderation in all areas of their life.

 

Emotional Freedom Technique

 

How does someone use EFT on themselves? If we have an issue that does not require therapy, we can tap on ourselves to bring about emotional freedom from that issue. I will take you through a sample EFT exercise. First, let's look at the tapping points of EFT in the diagram above.

Before we go through the sample exercise, let's look at the sequence of tapping. In order to balance our energy, there is a recommended sequence for tapping. Here is the recommended sequence:

  • Karate chop
  • Top of head
  • Eyebrow
  • Side of Eye
  • Under Eye
  • Under Nose
  • Chin
  • Collarbone
  • Under arm
  • Then repeat as you continue tapping the issue away...

Now, we are ready to go through a sample exercise. EFT requires going through a sequence of steps. These are:

  1. Choose the target issue you want to work on.

  2. Rate the intensity of the issues on a scale of 0 - 10, with 10 being the highest.

  3. Choose a reminder statement. The reminder statement is the statement that states what you have an intense emotion (anger, fear, pain...) about. At the end of the statement, add the affirmation: "I still deeply and completely accept myself."

  4. Say this statement 2 times while doing the karate chop (tapping on the side of the hand point).

  5. Tap on the other points 5-10 times lightly, starting at the top of your head, using the reminder phrase and checking for any discomfort.

  6. Rate your intensity level (the 0 - 10 scale) and note any change.

  7. Repeat steps 4 - 6 until the discomfort is down to a 0 - 1 rating.

  8. When you have successfully taken your discomfort to a 0 -1, you have successfully relieved your intense emotion (anger, fear, pain...) around this issue.

For instance, if your issue is your worry about money, your reminder statement might be: "Even though I feel anxious about money," with the added affirmation, "I still deeply and completely accept myself." When you are ready to begin the tapping, you would recite the entire phrase, "Even though I feel anxious about money, I still deeply and completely accept myself." Then, take yourself through the above steps. As you are tapping on each of the points, you can shorten the phrase, so you are not saying the entire phrase for each tapping point. For instance, when you tap on your eyebrow, you can simply say: "anxious," then moving to the side of your eye, you can say, "money." As you move through the remainder of the tapping points, you can incorporate the rest of the reminder statement; under eye, "deeply and completely," under nose; "accept myself." You can continue tapping this way, with shorter phrases that make up the complete reminder statement, until you move your discomfort down to 0 or 1. Then, you might want to go through one more round with the complete reminder statement and re-rate your discomfort to insure you truly are at 0 or 1 with your discomfort around the issue.

Tapping can be done on ourselves with any emotion, any block or belief that we no longer want to hold onto. We can tap when we are angry at a loved one; "Even though, I am angry that ____ yelled at me, I still deeply and completely accept myself." We can tap when we have had a bad day; "Even though, I have had a bad day, I still deeply and completely accept myself." We can tap for leaving our pet while we go on extended vacation; "Even though I feel guilt for leaving Fido while I go on vacation, I still deeply and completely accept myself." You have probably noticed that the affirmation stays the same no matter what the reminder statement is. This is important to disrupt the carried emotions and re-charge our body's energy into a positive direction and to restore the naturally recurring flow of the human body.

EFT is a great technique to use for self-care and to help balance yourself.  For people suffering with trauma and addictions, balancing with EFT can help; although the memory may stay, the emotional charge will be gone. For every day issues, we can resolve the issue and move on to be more balanced throughout the day. EFT leads to positive changes in thinking and a more balanced life.

Resources:

The EFT Manual by Gary Craig

www.eft-for-transformation.com  On this website, you might want to check out information about The Personal Peace Procedure and further information about Gary Craig, the founder of EFT.

www.emofree.com

Joyce Willis is a Licensed Professional Counselor and is currently a therapist at The Meadows. She earned her Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Akron. After teaching for several years, Joyce earned a Master's degree in counseling from the University of Phoenix. She has been in the counseling profession since 1996 and in that time has worked extensively in the addictions field. Her specialties include treatment for addictions, bereavement, trauma, depression and anxiety. Joyce has a special interest in mindfulness and helping people connect their emotional, spiritual, mindful and physiological selves with compassion and respect.

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