Sex Addiction:A New Diagnosis for an Old Behavior: Is Sex Addiction Treatment a Way to Escape the Consequences of Sexual Misbehavior or to Heal?

11/18/2017 09:11 am ET

With all of the recent press around high profile celebrities, considerable attention is being drawn to the rather volatile subject of sex addiction and sex offending, but the distinction between the two remains somewhat blurry. Readers appear to feel alternately vindicated, horrified and enraged. Many understand sex addiction as a serious problem that plagues someone they know, some are in hiding/denial or questioning themselves and still others are lashing out at the whole moral (or amoral) mess and directing their anger towards what they perceive to be the use of the diagnosis of “sex addiction” as a hiding place, a way for identified predators to avoid getting their just desserts for seriously aberrant behavior.

 

We obviously need some clarification so the logical place to start is at the beginning, Dr. Patrick Carnes, author of The Betrayal Bond and several other books on the subject, might be called the father of the sexual addiction movement. His daughter Dr. Stephanie Carnes has taken up the family mantel and carries on the extremely important work that her father began; so I have asked Dr. Stephanie Carnes of The Meadows in Arizona, to shed some light.

 

TD: Can you clarify what the  difference is between sexual addiction and sex offending?

 

SC: First of all, it is critical to understand that sex addiction and sex offending are not the same thing.

  • Sex offenders purposefully engage in nonconsensual sexual activity. A sex offense occurs when there is a nonconsensual sexual behavior with a victim. Most of these behaviors are illegal (with laws that vary by jurisdiction).
  • Sex addicts are people who have lost control over their sexual lives (sexual fantasy as well as sexual behavior). Typically, sex addicts struggle with behaviors like pornography and masturbation, casual/anonymous sex, serial affairs, and general sexual promiscuity that does not involve offending. They tend to experience depression, anxiety, relationship trouble, problems at work or in school, financial trouble, physical health issues, etc. In most respects, sex addicts are exactly like alcoholics and drug addicts; the only real difference is in their “drug of choice.”

There can be overlap between sex addicts and sex offenders. However, most studies suggest that only around 10% of sex addicts engage in sexual offending behaviors of the type alleged with Harvey Weinstein, Roy Moore, Kevin Spacey, Louis CK, and other men currently in the news.

 

TD: I know that you treat sex addicts but do you treat sex offenders as well?

 

SC: Notably, very few people check into a treatment center asking for “sex offender rehabilitation,” even if that’s what they really need. Rather, they seek “sex addiction treatment” because that language sounds more palatable to them (and to their families, PR teams, etc.). As therapists, we’re not overly concerned with a patient’s self-diagnosis when he walks through the door. We’re far more concerned about the fact that the patient is in crisis. People don’t seek the type of help we provide until their situation is at the boiling pint, so when they do arrive, they immediately need the level of care that only a full-service residential mental health facility can provide. For instance, we have 1 to 1 suicide watches and immediate psychiatric evaluation and medication when needed. When those issues are dealt with, we will implement a highly individualized treatment regimen based on a full assessment of the patient, his behaviors, and his current situation.

 

When people understand the acuity of the crisis that is present with almost every person who checks into a residential sex rehab center, it becomes clear that this level of care is not a luxury, it’s a necessity on the continuum of mental health care.

One of the very first things we do when a patient arrives is to perform a full bio-psycho-social-sexual assessment. If an individual is assessed as sexually addicted, treatment will proceed accordingly. If an individual is assessed as a sexual offender (that does not present as addicted or compulsive with their behavior), it is likely that s/he will be referred to a facility that specializes in sexual offending. If an individual is assessed as both, then both issues will be treated and the appropriate referral to a sex offender specialist will be made at some point during the course of treatment.

We have a team of mental health experts capable of handling just about any sexual or psychiatric issue. Our team consists of sex offender specialists, sexologists, sex addiction therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, nursing and trauma therapists. These diagnoses are made very thoughtfully.

TD: Some are saying that people are just using the diagnosis of sex addiction as a kind of a way to “excuse” bad behavior, “I couldn’t help it, I’m an addict sort of thing.”

 

SC:  I think it is important to state that sex rehab, whether it’s for addiction, offending, or both, is not a spa. Every patient we treat is required to attend and participate in approximately 50 hours of incredibly intense individual and group therapeutic work every week, with no days off. Typically, this includes numerous treatment modalities; behavioral therapies, acceptance commitment therapy, motivational interviewing, mindfulness, the 30-task model, psychodrama and other experiential therapies, intensive family therapy, trauma treatment, and more. In short, patients are there to work on their very serious problems, not to vacation. Yes, there are elements of treatment that can be relaxing and even fun, but those elements are there to emotionally down-regulate patients and to help them re-charge for the deeply painful therapeutic work to come.

 

TD: What is the saddest thing you see as a theme running through sex addicts?

 

SC: When sex addicts enter treatment, they are deeply in denial. They don’t see how their behaviors have negatively impacted them, and more importantly they don’t see how their behaviors have negatively impacted their partners, their kids, their parents and siblings, their employer, their community, and pretty much everyone else they come in contact with. Sometimes they vehemently deny what they’ve done or blame others for calling them out, and this furthers the traumatic damage they’ve created. We see this behavior in addicts and offenders alike, and it’s horrible for families and victims. As such, much of the work we do early in the treatment process with both addicts and offenders is geared toward breaking through denial—helping the patient see what s/he has done, the consequences of his or her actions, and that s/he alone is responsible for their behaviors.

 

TD: What is the most hopeful thread that you see running through recovering sex addicts?

 

SC: People do recover from both sexual addiction and sexual offending. I see it every day. They don’t do it alone, and healing does not come easily, but it’s possible for any person who wants it and is willing to put in the work. Usually, once the problematic behaviors are under control, these individuals begin working on the underlying issues (most often various forms of unresolved early-life trauma) that drove them into addiction or offending. That process is incredibly healing, and a great boost to long-term sobriety and recovery.

 

TD: What happens to the marriage? What happens to the kids?

 

SC: There is no denying that relationships and families are deeply and negatively impacted by sex addiction (or any other addiction). That said, the impact is different for every relationship and every family. Partners can be completely traumatized by the addiction and they may wall themselves off to protect themselves, sometimes they engage in addictive behaviors of their own as a way of coping with or masking the emotional pain they’re feeling. Recognizing this, we try very hard to bring families into the treatment milieu and to integrate them as part of the recovery process.

I have also asked Sean Walsh CEO of Meadows Behavioral Healthcare who is duly concerned with the need to help people to understand what treatment for sex addiction is all about to weigh in as well. ”The main thing I want the public to know,” says Walsh, “ is that the majority of patients that we treat are usually victims themselves of some type of abuse whether it is sexual assault, child abuse, rape or incest. Only 10% of those we treat for sex addiction are also offenders…. those who are only sex offenders and we are not the appropriate facility, we refer to appropriate offender treatment facilities. The core of the Meadows Model and our treatment approach is to bring healing to the trauma experienced by victims who live out the pain of their own abuse through becoming obsessed with sexual acting out.”

Walsh continues, “The benefit from times like these, is the potential for increased awareness of the issues, conversations like these. The problem itself is nothing new, for far too long men in power have been victimizing women, it’s been going on since the beginning of time. I am hopeful that increased awareness about the empowerment that comes from movements like “#me too” will lead survivors of abuse to taking a stand and seeking the healing and hope they deserve, as well as to offenders being held accountable. And that a paradigm shift will occur, where these behaviors will no longer be tolerated or enabled.”

Advertisements

Looking Back at my Porn Addiction

This battle, this 25 year battle has played havoc with me in every single arena of my life. I have doubted my God, my parents, my wife and my very reason for existence. It has torn my insides apart; I hated myself for needing pornography and masturbation the same way a normal person would need food and water. I did not know why I needed it, just that I did. I could stop for a while – in the same way that you can stop eating for a while, but the desire and the need would grow so strong that I would surrender to the tempting promise of the “joy” and “fulfillment” to be found on a flickering screen each and every time. I begged God with tears in my eyes to help me, I confessed my struggle to Christian friends and even to my wife, I sincerely wanted to be free – but as it turned out, wanting to be free combined with clenching your jaw and your fists and promising your wife, your God and yourself to never do it again is simply not the path to freedom. The pain, frustration and hopelessness caused by running this; this binging and purging cycle on an endless loop  is difficult to put into words.

In the beginning of 2016 as a kind of last gasp attempt to rescue my ailing marriage I walked into a Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA) support group and found a bunch of people who knew my struggle and what is more were walking in this elusive freedom I so craved. They suggested I see Theo who is a therapist specializing in sex addiction – I did, and in hindsight it was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. With his help my problem finally had a name – sex addiction – and with a name there was a program. A program that lead to honesty about my addiction and a road of self-discovery, in Theo I found a therapist who was loving and understanding but didn’t take any bullshit either.  For the first time in my life I understood what my compulsive acting out was all about and how it all worked – I received tools, encouragement, support and accountability from my therapist, my therapy group, my sponsor and my SAA group. Today almost two years later, I have been completely clean for more than a year and my relationship with my wife is better than it has ever been. More than anything else however my mind and body is experiencing freedom from the torture of obsession and compulsion, this is precious indeed.  I have now finished the first phase of the program and am filled with hope and excitement about the future, and can’t wait for the second portion of the program to begin.

Ek is ‘n volgeling van Jesus en ek is ‘n seks addict!

Facing my shadows

(Ek is ‘n volgeling van Jesus en ek is ‘n seks addict.)

Ek het nooit besef hoe baie seer ek in my lewe het en dat ek nooit met daardie seer gedeel het nie. Hoe my seer weer ander seergemaak het en nog steeds maak. Ek is uit ontkenning waaroor ek dankbaar is, want nou is daar persoonlike groei.

In my groep is vir my ‘n veilige plek geskep en vir die eerste keer voel ek nie alleen nie. Ek kon my seer en skaamte deel met my terapeut, groep en vrou. Ek is saam met vriende wat ook die keuse gemaak het om ‘n lewe van integriteit na te strewe.

Ek is geleer oor grense en om daarby te bly. Ek het ook geleer om na myself te kyk, hoe om myself te kalmeer en my emosies te reguleer. Hoe om die regte keuses te maak. Ek leer ook van ander se seer en hoe hulle dit hanteer.

In die jaar is daar baie wonde oopgemaak en hanteer. Dit is die moeilikste program wat ek in my lewe nog gedoen het en ek moes reflekteer op my lewe. Ek sou nooit kon dink om so groep by te woon nie en tog nou kan ek nie wag vir die volgende sessie om verder te leer nie. Dit is ook die program wat my lewe vir my terug gegee het.

Die program het my geleer alles gaan nie net om sober te wees nie, maar het my ‘n leefstyl geleer van herstel.

Ek is ‘n beter man, pa en besigheidsman en is besig om my self respek terug te kry. Daar is weer balaans in my lewe. Ek maak nog steeds baie foute en my leefstyl is nie perfek nie, maar ek is op die beste plek waar ek vandag kan wees.

Ek is in die program want ek het waarde.

 

Reflections of Me, an Addict

GJ: Reflections of Me, an Addict

I am a Man
I thought I was a strong Man:
– A brave Man
– a warrior;
I thought I would never need help;
I thought I never needed God
I thought I could manage all my pain
I thought I was stronger in secret of my hurt and in silence
I thought I was justified

These thoughts became my failure to trust,
A failure to empathise
A failure to listen
A failure to love
A failure to care

These thoughts crippled me to a point of numbness

I was a Man;
A Man that is a sceptic, a crippled Man who became an Addict
Now I am an addict who is finding his inner child:
– learning to be brave
– learning to be a warrior
Asking for help
Sharing my pain
Finding my voice
Restoring trust in myself
Learning to listen and care
Learning to become a real MAN
Brave enough to say I am an ADDICT
Asking God to fortify ME, this is who I’d rather be.

If you have a problem with porn and need help,

visit

https://houseofblessingministry.wordpress.com/contact-information/

Sexual Harassment Is a Form of Sexual Offending

Sexual Harassment Is a Form of Sexual Offending

10/11/2017 07:53 pm ET

Powerful Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein has been accused of sexual misbehavior spanning, quite literally, decades. I am not breaking fresh news with this statement. Even the New York Times “breaking story” published earlier this week was, in a way, old news, as there were whispered rumors about Weinstein’s boorish behavior for years, much as there were with Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, and countless others—likely with the same types of paying people off, ignoring it, and sweeping it under the rug. Again, this is not news. What is news to many is the fact that sexual harassment as practiced by these men, if the allegations are true, also qualifies, from a clinical perspective, as sexual offending.

Think of it this way. Our legal definitions of sexual offending vary from state to state and nation to nation. Behavior that is a crime in one place is often perfectly legal in another. For instance, the age of consent varies throughout the U.S. (and other countries). What is consistent from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, however, is that laws about sexual offending tend to be, at least in part, based on the clinical definition of sexual offending, which is sexual activity that occurs without the consent of all parties.

With sexual offending, consent is the defining factor. If someone climbed a tree outside your bedroom window to watch you undress before bed and you didn’t consent to this, that person would be guilty of sexually offending. If, however, that same person had your permission to do this because the two of you felt this would be a turn on for both of you, your peeper would not be guilty of sexually offending. It’s the same behavior, but the level of consent (or lack thereof) creates a very different outcome.

How Power Changes Consent

This brings us to the murky issue of power. It is difficult to give rational, informed consent when power enters the equation. A person’s ability to consent diminishes when another person holds some type of power over them. This is why we don’t allow doctors or lawyers, for example, to engage in sex with their clients. If you see a doctor as holding power over your life and health or an attorney holding power over your divorce settlement, you are incapable of openly and fully consenting. And lack of consent equates with offending. If someone is not old enough to consent, not sober enough to consent, not healthy enough to consent, or disempowered in a way that prevents them from withholding consent and the sexual behavior ensues anyway, that is offending.

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

A profoundly influential Hollywood executive holds power over an aspiring actress or writer in the same basic ways as a doctor or lawyer. Especially if the executive either overtly states or covertly implies, as part of his sexual overture, “If you don’t do this with me, not only will I not hire you, I’ll make sure no one else does.” So, regardless of the laws in a particular jurisdiction, the sexual harassment allegedly engaged in by Harvey Weinstein qualifies clinically as sexual offending.

Notably, in power-based relationships, it’s not just threats to physical safety that create a lack of consent, it’s threats to career, financial well-being, the ability to work in one’s chosen field, etc. Moreover, threats can be made via promises. When a person in power (like Harvey Weinstein) says, “If you do this for me, I’ll do that for you,” he might think that when he gets what he wants, it’s because you consented. However, the implicit message of his statement—that if you don’t do what he wants, your choice will be held against you in deeply damaging ways—diminishes your ability to consent. The imbalance of power changes the relationship to the point where you may no longer have the ability to withhold consent.

So Much to Lose

At this point, you might be asking why a guy like Harvey Weinstein would engage in this type of behavior. Did he not understand what he might lose if his actions came to light? Did he not think that his wife and the mother of his children might file for divorce, or that his own company might choose to fire him, or that his reputation would be so badly tarnished that his constant threats of “you’ll never work in this industry again” might boomerang on him? And if he wasn’t thinking about these possibilities, what was he thinking?

Well, after almost three decades as a therapist specializing in sexual infidelity, addiction, harassment, and offending, I can tell you that in the heat of the moment power-fueled men like Harvey Weinstein (and Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes, Anthony Weiner, Bill Cosby, Tiger Woods, Josh Duggar, Jared Fogle, Ted Haggard, Larry Craig, John Edwards, Eliot Spitzer, David Petraeus, Bill Clinton, and the list goes on and on) are absolutely not thinking about the possibility of their behavior being used against them. Even if their rational mind knows that what they’re doing is wrong and might come to light in ways that damage them, their narcissism (“I can do what I want, when I want, and nobody can stop me!”) takes over when opportunity knocks at the door of their hotel room. And this occurs even when the object of their ardor is decidedly not interested. Thus, they sexually offend by pushing the other person into doing what they want, and they do this without a second thought.

Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S is a digital-age intimacy and relationships expert specializing in infidelity and addictions. He is the author of several highly regarded books. Currently, he is Senior Vice President of National Clinical Development for Elements Behavioral Health, creating and overseeing addiction treatment programs for more than a dozen treatment facilities. For more information please visit his website, robertweissmsw.com, or follow him on Twitter, @RobWeissMSW.

Two Thirds Of Cheaters Would Stay Faithful If It Weren’t For Technology, Survey Suggests

Your smart phone may be driving more of a wedge between you and your partner than you realize.

A new survey by Victoria Milan, a dating site for married people looking to cheat, found that out of 6,000 of its users, 45 percent said they cheated because their partner spent too much time on their phones or tablets.

What’s more, a whopping two-thirds said they wouldn’t have hooked up with someone else if it weren’t for the help of the internet and other new technologies.

“Like anything else that enhances our lives, technology is a double-edged sword,” Victoria Milan’s CEO Sigurd Vedal said in a press release. “It’s a predictable, albeit unfortunate, commentary that modern use of technology has led to a kind of social isolation — being alone in a room of many others — that leads to seeking out connections with others when we are left feeling unfulfilled in our day to day relationships. One way or the other we need to find that connection.”

The demographic most likely to stray because their partner was snubbing them with their phone use? Women ages 30-50, according to the site.

This isn’t the first time research has shown the detrimental effect cell phones and texting can have on a relationship. In October, researchers at Brigham Young University found heavy texting to be associated with relationship dissatisfaction among both women and men.

The Sex Addiction Battleground

The Sex Addiction Battleground

Sex addiction recently found itself, once again, in the headlines following reports that Anthony Weiner, the former Congressman from New York, had entered treatment for sex addiction.  On the heels of his latest and third scandal in which Mr. Weiner was discovered to be sexting with dozens of women and an underage female, not only his career, but his marriage and world as he knew it came tumbling down.  For the former Congressman, and others like him, the issue of engaging in sexual activity with an underage person when you are an adult should be parsed from any potential sex or porn addiction. Federal and state laws inevitably trump therapeutic practice.

To be clear, I am neither Anthony Weiner’s treating therapist nor the referent who suggested inpatient treatment for his sexually compulsive behaviors.  I’ve never diagnosed the Congressman, let alone from afar, and nor should I.  Healthy sexual interests and explorations evolve and change over time. Every individual has his or her right to make the determination of what is and is not healthy and/or acceptable for self.  Each person’s sexual interests and expression are personal and cannot be painted as either healthy or unhealthy or as a one size fits all.

Sex is fluid and exists along a continuum of healthy exploration, discovery and enjoyment.

Anthony Weiner’s decisions about his sexual behaviors are his alone to determine. From a distance these reasons may or may not be obvious. But, should  the diagnosis of sex addiction apply, the diagnosis of sex addiction does not have “the right” to exist as a proper condition or disease to be treated if we see it through the current lens of what is or is not currently acceptable as a treatable condition.

To be very clear and to exact a finer point; I am a certified sex addiction therapist and many of my clients are just like Anthony Weiner, Tiger Woods, Bill Clinton, and John and Jane Doe, to name a few. They have found their way to therapy with me for what is their acknowledged:

  •  inability to consistently abstain from a behavior or series of behaviors,
  • their impairment in behavioral control, craving or increased “hunger” for the rewarding experiences,
  • a diminished recognition of significant problems with their behaviors and serious consequences to their interpersonal relationships, and
  • their dysfunctional emotional response to their problems.

As a licensed practicing therapist, I, along with other certified sex addiction therapists must work within the scope of our practice when assessing for sex or porn addiction. We must practice with the full understanding that it is unacceptable to prematurely affix a condition or a diagnosis to a client before conducting a thorough screening and intake.  An intake to determine the presence of sex addiction will consist of (among other standard practices of care) administering an assessment to help determine the level and type of sexual activity into or out of consideration. The client’s presenting and other co-existing symptoms might be better accounted for as an alternative diagnosis. Finally, any licensed, certified sex addiction therapist would include a thorough client history that often involves collateral information from family members, when permission is granted by the client.

Not Recognized by the American Psychiatric Association

Can the practice of psychotherapy be followed if a treating professional must only and myopically adhere to what is the current American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) definition of addiction? To date the APA does not list sex addiction as a bona fide or recognizable and treatable illness. Standard current psychiatric care follows the APA’s guidelines and the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals in the United States. This manual contains a listing of diagnostic criteria for every psychiatric disorder recognized by the U.S. healthcare system.”1

According to the APA, an illness does not exist if it is not listed as such in the DSM. But, let’s examine this a tad closer. Since an illness that does not exist in the DSM, does not exist anywhere, then the transitive nature (the opposite) of their claim also applies. A diagnosis does exist if it is listed in the DSM, and therefore, is a veritable and treatable diagnosis to be cured. The DSM listed homosexuality as a mental illness and an illness needing to be treated, cured and rid from the hearts and minds of those who suffered with their affliction, up until 1974.* Clearly, the APA was on the wrong side of history.

Still another leading medical society, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) boasts their public policy statement and short definition of addiction as follows:

“Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.”

The short definition of addiction goes on to say:

“Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.”2

Out of Control Drinking for a First Lady

Consider Ulysses Grant, our 18th President of the United States, and former First Lady Betty Ford, the wife of Gerald Ford, our 38th President. The two shared one great thing in common.  While Grant suffered professional consequences in his military career he also suffered personally due to his out of control drinking. Although by most historical accounts his drinking was confined to quiet moments on the warring front, historian James McPherson described Grant’s problem with alcohol as his “predisposition to alcoholism.” It is important to mention here that there was no diagnosis for alcoholism back then. It is likely that many experts then would agree that Grant drank no more than other men.

First Lady Betty Ford endured public humiliation when she acknowledged a problem with alcohol and drugs.  She was the victim of stereotyping and outcry for a moral failing to honor the title and position bestowed upon her as First Lady, and that of the Oval Office and President who occupied it.

By today’s definition, most would agree that both individuals were alcoholics. Grant died a decorated military leader known for his military prowess and predilection to the bottle. Betty Ford died in spite of it. But help for the First Lady’s drinking couldn’t and didn’t wait for a diagnosis to first treat it. Instead, help came by way of an intervention by the family. There was no “valid” diagnosis of alcoholism at this time because it wasn’t seen as a bona fide illness.

In the 1980s, the APA clawed back their prior description about “problem drinking” as being a sub-set of a personality disorder in the then revised third edition of the DSM.  Medical organizations such as the American Medical Association later endorsed the proposition that drug dependencies such as alcoholism were deemed diseases and its treatment became a valid part of accepted medical practice some time later.

If diagnosis prior to medical treatment was the standard of care then the First Lady would have been deprived of medical attention and therapeutic assistance had it not been for her family and loved ones. The late President led his intervention without needing medical validation because of an obvious decline in medical and psychological wellbeing and a clear need to act.  It is safe to say that the First Lady likely would have died from her “nonexistent” but out-of-control drinking and substance dependence if left untreated.

Research Studies Validate the Sex Addiction Diagnosis

Which brings us back to where we are today—Sex addiction is still being declared as a controversial and  nonexistent problem by those who wish to close their books and minds to the problem and the people who seek help for sex and porn addiction. But to the deniers, note the growing body of evidence in the research from neuroscience. For example, researchers at the University of Cambridge performed brain scans on 19 men watching pornographic videos. They showed that the same reward centers of the brain were activated when addicts see their drug of choice. Ongoing research at other honored institutions and universities has yielded similar results in brain scans and reward circuitry vis-à-vis sex and porn addiction. Those studies are being published as we speak.

Until such time that the diagnosis of sex addiction finds its way into the mainstream as an accepted and veritable illness along the order of alcoholism and drug addiction, certified sex addiction therapists will continue to work within their scope of practice to ethically treat the hundreds who arrive to therapy for help with their sex and porn addiction.  Time will tell, so might the science.

 

Debra L. Kaplan, MA, MBA, LPC, CSAT-S is a licensed therapist, author and speaker specializing in issues of attachment, sexual addiction/compulsivity, money, work, and relational currency; issues often rooted in unresolved childhood experiences and/or trauma. Debra is a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT), a CSAT supervisor, and CSAT facilitator for the certification of professionals in the treatment of sex addiction. Debra is a Certified EMDR therapist and integrates advanced practices in EMDR as well as body centered modalities into practice to help clients heal from the neurobiological wounds of trauma.

After a successful career on Wall Street as a Commodity option-trader, where issues regarding sex, money and power are legendary, Ms. Kaplan brought her financial acumen into the clinical realm and merged her fascination with narcissism, sex, power and control with her studies in psychology. Debra works with individuals, couples, as well as intensives to help clients understand their problematic behaviors and to connect the therapeutic dots for successful and productive outcomes in relationships. Her book, For Love and Money: Exploring Sexual & Financial Betrayal in Relationships, is the inspiration for the groundbreaking clinical training, For Love and Money©, geared to clinicians who wish to understand the often hidden dynamics of sex, money and power in relationships.

She lectures nationally on trauma and addiction and is an invited guest on local podcasts and radio programing. To learn more visit http://www.debrakaplancounseling.com.

1 APA, (11/5/16), Retrieved from http://www.dsm5.org/about/Pages/Default.aspx

2 ASAM, (11/5/16), Retrieved from http://www.asam.org/about-us/about-asam

* The APA released the newest version of their manual, DSM-5, on May 2013 at APA’s Annual Meeting.