What the Heck Is Sex and Relationship Rehab?

Part 3
by Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S

(The following post is the final of three taken from Robert Weiss’s article, What the Heck Is Sex and Relationship Rehab?)

What Defines a Good Sex Rehab?

For the last 25 years or so, there have been a relatively consistent number of U.S.-based residential and intensive outpatient treatment centers specializing in sexual addiction and related intimacy disorders. These facilities have routinely provided useful, accurate care. At the same time, the number of individual clinicians treating sexual and romantic addiction has increased significantly, mostly related to the escalating numbers of people self-reporting problems with Internet porn, webcam sex, and similar tech-driven sexual/romantic behaviors. Similarly, many generalized addiction and mental health treatment facilities now list “sexual addiction treatment” as a specialty — even though it really is not. Yes, it makes for good marketing, but very often these facilities are not set up to treat sex and relationship addictions. In reality, the number of facilities that are able to effectively treat sex and relationship addiction is limited.

So how can one distinguish a solid, useful residential sex and love addiction treatment center from all the rest? Here are a few clues:

1. The treatment center should have a dedicated, separate treatment program for clients who have sex and relationship addiction problems. This should not be a track in a larger behavioral or substance addiction treatment program, nor should it be a mixed group with other kinds of addicts. To be effective, a sex and relationship addiction facility needs a dedicated treatment group and program.

2. At least 75 percent of the staff providing treatment should be certified in the treatment of sexual addiction — not as sex therapists, but as sexual addiction specialists.

3. The program should have a proven track record of success, including former clients who are willing to anonymously speak about their experience receiving treatment there.

4. The treatment program should have both addiction and mental health specialists on staff.

5. The program should be gender separate.

6. There should be a strong treatment component in support of spouses, family members and caring others.

If a sex and relationship addiction/intimacy disorders treatment program meets all of the above criteria, it is likely you are on the right track as far as finding a good program for yourself or a loved one.

It is important to note that after completing inpatient treatment, most sex addicts need continued work with a sex addiction treatment specialist, including both individual and group sessions, if they plan to maintain sexual sobriety over the long haul. For these individuals, it is essential that a personalized aftercare plan be formulated and implemented before the addict leaves the treatment center and the temptations of home can take effect. After all, once the addict returns home, he or she will inevitably be confronted with the same temptations that led to treatment in the first place. So putting an external safety net in place before the person goes home is essential. This is a standard component of any good treatment center, regardless of the addiction being treated.

Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S is Senior Vice President of Clinical Development with Elements Behavioral Health.  He has developed clinical programs for The Ranch in Nunnelly, Tennessee, Promises Treatment Centers in Malibu, and is the founder of the Sexual Recovery Institute in Los Angeles. Mr. Weiss is an author of Cruise Control: Understanding Sex Addiction in Gay Men, and co-author with Dr. Jennifer Schneider of both Untangling the Web: Sex, Porn, and Fantasy Obsession in the Internet Age and the upcoming 2013 release, Closer Together, Further Apart: The Effect of Technology and the Internet on Sex, Intimacy and Relationships. He contributes regularly to PsychCentral.com, writing primarily about sex addiction, and The Huffington Post, writing primarily about the intersection of technology with sex and intimacy.You can contact Robert Weiss at: http://www.robertweissmsw.com/

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