Not many realize that compulsive sexual behavior can be an addiction, and that people struggling with such need help. But as high-profile celebrities and athletes admit to seeking treatment for this problem, interest in the facilities that provide the service has spiked.
There are a lot of options out there, but finding a program that suits your needs can be overwhelming. To get you started on the right track, here’s a quick guide to some of the prominent sex addiction treatment centers in the United States.
Sexual Recovery Institute
The Sexual Recovery Institute is one of the few outpatient therapy centers dedicated solely to sexual addiction. It was founded in 1995 by Robert Weiss, an acknowledged writer and professional in the field (he’s appeared in The Oprah Winfrey Show, Larry King Live and the Discovery Channel, to name just a few). Weiss trained under the wings of the renowned Dr. Patrick Carnes and was once a board member and committee chair of the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health. His pool of therapists holds either master’s or doctoral degrees in counseling, psychology and social work, among other disciplines.
The services at SRI are as varied as it gets. Ideal for those residing in California or nearby, the recovery program starts with individual treatment sessions for a minimum of six to eight weeks. With the evaluation and treatment plan finalized, patients progress to group therapies. The 2-hour group sessions are held weekly, with 6 to 7 other participants, and will span nine months at the least. Participant couples can advance to a special healing and recovery group for eight 2-hour sessions per week. Spouses and partners of patients may also attend a weekly education program followed by support group meetings.
SRI also administers intensive five- and 10-day programs packed with daily therapies for those visiting the center. The “quick fix” provided by the former suits those who struggle with relatively manageable addictions. Cases that are more serious and require family involvement are tackled in the 10-day program. For immediate concerns, there’s the option of having two to four sessions over the phone, where assistance is limited to directing the caller to local resources that can provide more extensive support.
A unique component to the SRI program lineup is its Non-Violent Offender Treatment. The program lasts nine months to 2 years depending on the patient’s needs. It is crafted to identify and eliminate triggers and patterns, institute changes, teach empathy and send patients on a path of recovery.
On top of all that, SRI conducts multimedia training seminars to guide agencies and organizations in their program development initiatives.
The Meadows Dakota
Backed by more than 35 years of experience, The Meadows is one of the most reputable addiction treatment centers in the United States, with support for sexual addiction and trauma provided by its in-patient facility in Dakota. This private, relaxing sanctuary can accommodate up to nine patients at a time.
The Meadows has built its credibility thanks in large part to referrals from alumni, therapists, medical practitioners and other facilities. And much of this praise points to the center’s intensive therapy approach. The program involves at least 15 treatment modalities, with trauma resolution, 12-step meetings and holistic healing at the core. Geared toward lifelong recovery, it goes beyond symptoms to address the fundamental problems patients are facing.
What makes The Meadows’ treatment plan even more compelling is that is based on input from world-famous experts (and authors). Maureen Canning, director of the Dakota facility, is a former board member of the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health and was once president of the Arizona Council on Sexual Addiction. She is also a lecturer, level II MDR-trained therapist and certified hypnotherapist. The center’s two consultants, Pia Mellody and Peter Levine, are leading authorities in the field. In fact, Levine developed the natural approach of somatic experiencing.
Pine Grove Behavioral Health and Addiction Services
Pine Grove was set up in 1984 as an in-patient treatment facility for adults. Since then, the Mississippi-based center has expanded to become one of the nation’s premiere campuses for psychiatric and addictive disorders. Reputed for the quality and breadth of its services, Pine Grove now offers in-patient, outpatient and residential care, and caters to adults, adolescents and even children.
Pine Grove’s sexual-addiction treatment program, Gentle Path, is carried out in a campus a few miles from the main facility. Dr. Patrick Carnes, an internationally recognized guru in the field, came up with the Gentle Path curriculum based on a 30-task model that emphasizes both individualized attention and group participation. The program starts off with a day or two of comprehensive evaluation followed by a six-week intensive treatment plan. It is gender-specific and includes individual and group therapies, and psycho-education. Patients diagnosed with other disorders are treated simultaneously. On top of all this, Pine Grove throws in a one-week Family Care Program and aftercare services. The entire process is facilitated by a multidisciplinary staff consisting of masters or doctoral-level trained clinicians and physicians certified by the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
Santé Center for Healing
The Santé Center for Healing first opened its doors in 1996, led by the brother-and-sister team of Deb and Rip Corley. Currently, it caters to individuals suffering from addictions, eating disorders and behavioral health issues.
For sex addicts, the Santé Center offers residential care and outpatient support. The program begins with an in-depth assessment to pinpoint needs and issues that will be addressed in the personalized treatment plan. Any co-occurring disorders that turn up will be treated simultaneously. Various requirements are laid down for recovery, including formulation of abstinence contract, psycho-education sessions, gender-specific therapy groups, and skill-building and relapse prevention courses. Another plus factor: all the in-house staff is trained in trauma resolution techniques, and motivational enhancement and dialectical behavior therapies.
KeyStone Center Extended Care Unit
The KeyStone Center is an expansive dually licensed facility for multiple types of addiction. At its Extended Care Unit, the focus is on sexual compulsivity and trauma. Founded in 1994 by Patrick Carnes, one of the most recognized experts in the field. The 16-bed ECU is housed in a Victorian mansion in suburban Philadelphia. This huge stone manor with stained glass windows and mahogany wainscoting was once a family home. The management has not added any amenities since.
The ECU environment is austere, the recovery program intense. Residents have daily household chores. For the actual treatment, there are activities lined up for each day of the week. Much of the time is spent on group therapies, which Carnes found effective in helping patients cope with inner struggles. Other requirements include individual counseling sessions and 12-step meetings. The minimum length of stay is four weeks.
To facilitate the healing process, the ECU also organizes an alumni weekend around fall each year. Through this gathering, graduates of the program get to celebrate their sobriety, share their experiences and participate in free workshops.
While it specializes in in-patient treatment, the ECU also offers an outpatient service via the Professional Assessment Center. The PAC is designed mainly for those facing sanctions due to a sexual offense determine if their behaviors fall in the realm of addiction.
Life Healing Center
The Life Healing Center provides in-depth, individualized treatment for sex, love and relationship addiction. Founded in 1993, it operates a residential facility in the hills of Santa Fe, Mexico.
Recovery at the Life Healing Center occurs in two phases. The first stage gets rid of outward manifestations via a structured program, controlled environment and external support. The second examines underlying causes, paving the way for long-term sobriety. The actual treatment plan is carried out in a gender-specific manner. The men’s program is patterned from Dr. Patrick Carnes’ Recovery Start Kit, with emphasis on the healing cycle. The women’s program follows the same basic principles but is tweaked to address the emotional and cultural challenges that affect specifically the female population. The set-up is quite refreshing considering that traditional sex addiction therapies were crafted for and conducted by men. Plus, an all-female environment (from the patients to the staff) better fosters interaction and consequently healing.
With the patient’s consent, the Life Healing Center can administer a family program as well. At the beginning, the program facilitates communication via phone. For the culmination, spouses, partners or relatives are invited to join patients for a multi-day experience on site.
Founded in 1983, Sierra Tucson is licensed as a psychiatric hospital and as a behavioral health residential treatment center. Surrounded by a desert landscape and panoramic mountain, this 160-acre campus has an amenity-filled complex with recreational and fitness resources and walking trails. In its 139-bed living quarters, you’ll find rustic yet elegant lodges with a cozy lounge area, high ceilings, balconies and patios.
While the facility itself is inviting, the main draw to Sierra Tucson is its Program for Sexual and Trauma Recovery. PSTR reinforces a sense of community among patients with weekly group sessions that instill compassion, support and acceptance. Amid this, the staff remains attentive to the development of each participant, preparing individualized assignments and readings and even personalized nutrition and exercise plans. Plus, Sierra Tucson has a Family Program and Couple’s Workshop in place. These educational and therapeutic opportunities allow both parties to sort out their issues and establish an effective support system.
Candeo Can is an online service designed for individuals looking for a flexible and affordable treatment program. At just $47 per month, you get everything you need to cope with sexual addition struggles on a private website. The program revolves around multimedia video training and accompanying interactive exercises. The first part of the training educates patients about their situation and how they can manage it via Candeo’s work on the Human Decision System, which enables participants to better control their urges. The second half delves more into the why’s and how’s. Plus, there’s a personal dashboard that contains crisis and setback tools, a calendar and some journal space to facilitate recovery.
Each participant is assigned a coach to guide them through the treatment and track their progress. Candeo has also developed a complementary support and training program for loved ones who want to share in on the experience. An online discussion forum is accessible to those wanting to share stories and help others out.
On the whole, the Candeo platform lets participants manage their own pace of recovery from the comforts of their own home. And more importantly, the site promises to maintain the subscriber’s anonymity (no requirement to submit one’s name).
The services offered by sex addiction treatment centers vary in more ways than one. So finding a program that matches your needs is key. It is important to consider the types of therapies available, the set up in place, and the philosophy being followed. But remember the facility and its staff can only set you on path – effectively completing the road to recovery is all up to you.
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Filed under: Reviews and Summaries of Recovery Programs
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