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What Does Sex Addiction Treatment Look Like: Part 3: Outpatient Therapy


By Marie Woods LMF... - Posted on 01 August 2016

In this blog post, we are continuing our discussion of the different types of sex addiction treatment. So far, we have discussed Inpatient Rehabilitation and Intensive Outpatient (IOP) as different levels of care for sex addiction. (To read these posts check out Part 1 and Part 2). Now, in Part 3, we will cover outpatient therapy.

This is the least stringent level of care for sex addiction. This is a more typical format of therapy where an individual attends therapy sessions approximately once a week, and are also part of an ongoing therapy support group. For sex addiction, a structured, task centered approach is often used to guide the individual and/or group therapy process.

Additionally, individuals are encouraged to engage in several 12-step meetings per week that specifically pertain to sex addiction. Active participation in 12-step programming looks like regular attendance at meetings, having a sponsor, working on step assignments, and supporting other members of the 12-step community.

Appropriate candidates for outpatient therapy include a variety of individuals. It often includes individuals whose sexual behaviors are problematic and causing emotional distress, but are not significantly impairing their daily life functioning. Outpatient therapy is also appropriate for individuals who have completed either an inpatient or intensive outpatient level of care. Ideally, individuals engaged in outpatient therapy are able to maintain personal safety and some level of sobriety during their ongoing therapy process.

A person appropriate for outpatient therapy should be in a place where they are willing and able to take strong ownership over their recovery process. This means that they are intrinsically motivated to attend therapy and incorporate recovery into their every day life. Outside of these scheduled appointments and meetings, individuals pursuing outpatient therapy are often working on recovery assignments and reading recovery material on their own.

In early stages of outpatient therapy, a person may attend individual therapy weekly, and then less frequently (say biweekly or monthly) over time. Sometimes, they may transition into couples or family therapy after being engaged in their individual therapy process for awhile. It is ideal for individuals to stay engaged in an outpatient group therapy process throughout, as it is the most effective format for treating sex addiction. It also provides individuals with supportive relationships and accountability that is critical for sustained sobriety