A common statement I hear when working with people recovering from sex addiction is, “I couldn’t have done it without my group. It’s been the most important part of my recovery.”
The idea of attending a therapy group for sex addiction or porn addiction can seem intimidating – if not downright terrifying. You may wonder how sharing your story with other people can help you or them, but by listening to others, you begin to understand that you are not alone. That can be healing in and of itself. It can give you a sense of hope when you are at your lowest. When most people start a group, they are fearful, but as they continue, they realize what a great benefit it is.
Duane Osterlind, LMFT, CSAT of Novus Mindful Life Institute, which specializes in treating sex addiction in Long Beach and Orange County, states, “What is most important when beginning group therapy is being open to the process. That includes a willingness to listen and share what is comfortable, but also take some risks by participating.”
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Groups Help Build A Culture of Support
A cornerstone of a robust recovery plan is creating a culture of support. When you hear from others with similar issues, you can see that you are not alone. You will learn from others who have been in the same place as you and have overcome their challenges or are struggling with similar issues as you are. Group therapy for sex addiction is a place where you can discuss your problems and concerns and get honest feedback in a caring and supportive environment.
Individuals in group therapy get support from others who understand their thoughts and feelings on a deep level. Sometimes it is the first place they can genuinely connect with others who will support them as they build a solid recovery. The group shares honestly what has and has not worked for them and helps you make the best decisions for your care.
“I have often found that group therapy can propel clients forward. It is often the group that pushes the client to take the next positive step in their recovery process. It is often easier to hear honest feedback about your blind spots from a group than it is from your therapist.” says Duane
Groups Promote Connection
It has been said that sex addiction is an intimacy disorder. Most sex and porn addicts feel quite lonely most of the time even if they have people around them, and if you are struggling with sex or porn addiction treatment, you may be feeling the same way.
Group therapy can be the place where you begin to change that pattern of isolation, and it helps you to begin to connect to others in an authentic way. It can ease that sense of loneliness common in the people who struggle with addiction. For most sex addicts, early relationships are where the trauma happened that created the addictive coping process. It makes sense that nurturing relationships of a healthy group can heal these wounds. It creates a place where you can have the corrective experiences needed to help move you to avoid repeating unhealthy relationship patterns.
Groups Offer Professional Guidance
“If you have decided that you need help for sex addiction or porn addiction, then group therapy needs to be part of your recovery plan,” states Duane
A professionally guided therapy group for sex addiction helps you get the support and knowledge you need. A trained therapist guides the group in a positive direction that promotes change for all who attend and will know how to guide the group members to support each other in the process of recovery.
Having the group led by a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT) is an added bonus, as they are trained in the area of sexual addiction and understand the nuances of treatment and recovery.
Getting The Most Out Of Group Therapy
If you are going to attend group therapy for sex addiction, you want to get the most out of it. Below are some suggestions:
Participate: Make the effort to be part of the group by sharing what is comfortable for you, but also allowing yourself to push your own limits. That does not mean you have to share every time, but the more you put into it the more you will get out of the process.
Willingness: Go into the group with a willingness to be open to the process. Make a commitment to take a stance of curiosity and ask others who have been in the group how it has been for them.
Share: You may not realize this but your story will be important to others, as their story of recovery will be important to you. Be willing to give to others and be willing to receive.
Give It Some Time: It takes a few session to get comfortable and understand the process of group therapy. If you feel uncomfortable or it seems at first that the group is not a good fit for you, make a commitment to yourself to attend for a few weeks at least before deciding what you want to do. Most likely by that time, you will understand the power of the group.
If your are struggling with sexual addiction or porn addiction, I encourage you to reach out for help. There are professionals who know how to help you change your life.
If you would like to know more about group therapy listen to this Addicted Mind Podcast episode.