Blog Entries

Work “Smarter” for Your Goals

How many times have you made a New Year’s Resolution and mid-year realized you made no progress and the resolution is now forgotten? (If you could see me, my hand is raised.)  Yes, I am a therapist and I’ve failed at New Year’s Resolution’s.  I can’t say how many times this has occurred, but I remember the feelings of guilt and shame for not succeeding at a New Year’s Resolution, which we might also call a goal.


Let’s talk about goals and why we either succeed or don’t succeed with them.

Many mental health professionals use a common format, SMART, when creating goals with clients.  Why?  It prevents clients from feelings of failure and becoming overwhelmed with expectations.  There are various definitions of a SMART goal, but here is a snap-shot of what to aim for. When creating a goal, ask yourself the following:


Is your goal Specific?


Is your goal Measureable?


Is your goal Attainable or Action oriented?


Is your goal Realistic?


Is your goal Time-sensitive?

If you answered “no” to one or more of these questions, you may then face greater difficulty meeting and following through with your goal. 

Many of us create goals around weight loss or improving a part of our lifestyle.  However, these goals are often too broad and not defined very well.  When this happens and we have not achieved the goal, we feel defeated and ultimately “give up” on or lose interest in the goal.  For some people, it might not be realistic to lose 20-30 pounds or “go to the gym” every day. Did you give yourself enough time to lose 20-30 pounds?  Is going to the gym all that is needed to lose those pounds?  I’m starting to feel defeated just writing about this goal! 

Besides the SMART format, here are a few other ways to aid you in achieving your goal:

  1. Motivation– Why are you creating this goal and what is the ultimate purpose? Typically, goals are created due to the current fad or trend or because someone suggested the change.  The question, is do YOU want the goal and outcome associated wit the goal?
  2. Knowledge– Let’s go back to our prior weight loss example. Sure you know you need to lose a few pounds (or at least that’s what your wife/husband/partner/doctor/best friend/current TV personalitysaid), but do you know HOW to lose that weight? Just because you saw a 20 minute segment about a current trend does not mean it will work for youwithout the knowledge of WHY or HOW it works. 
  3. Individuality-Unless you are a human clone, you are a UNIQUE INDIVIDUAL.  That means you are not the same as any other person on this earth. What works for your best friend might not work for you. Again, knowledge and resources will help you here too.


Don’t give up on those past New Year’s Resolutions, but make them work for YOU!


Blog Entries

A Therapist is a Person too…

It’s been one of those weeks where things aren’t going my way. Earlier in the week, I was at the point of throwing my hands up in the air and crawling back into bed or under my rock (whichever was closest was the best option).  Instead, I decided on my motto to get me through the week:  “patient people wait for good things to come…and kick ass while doing it.”  I realize this is not a completely original quote, but more of a spin off of an old time favorite.  However you look at it, it did the trick for me. I’m still waiting for my good things to come, but I’m not going to let the negative drag me down in the meantime.

Oddly, my pity party earlier in the week is not what inspired this blog.  In fact, I was watching the recent movie “Beautiful Creatures.”  At the end of the movie, one of the main characters recites a poem by Charles Bukowski called “no help for that.” This resulted in my searching the web for this particular poem and coming across various other quotes including a quote by Joyce Meyer, “I’m not where I need to be, but thank God I’m not where I used to be,” and a quote with an unknown author, “Sometimes you have to look back in order to see how far you’ve come.” 

These quotes triggered a lesson I learned in therapy school, and which I continue to use in my own life and share with clients: the roller coaster.

Life and therapy are like roller coaster rides. At times, you may move forward, whether it is a painstakingly, slow pace or a quick as lighting pace.  At some point, you will fall back, but eventually you reach the point to move forward again.  Although we all experience “falling back” throughout life, the goal is we gain the skills to keep our forward momentum longer than the fall back. At those times when we fall back, and we may begin to feel defeated, it is important to remember how far we have come from the past and use that to gain your momentum to move forward and keep moving forward. 

Blog Entries

What Defines Something As Traumatic?

Trauma is defined as an emotional wound/shock that creates substantial lasting damage to the psychological development of a person. Trauma can also be described as whatever the brain perceives as threatening. The brain and the body experience the situation the same whether the threat is perceived or real. 


As you can probably imagine from the definition, a person’s experience of trauma is highly relative. What might be traumatic to one person may not be traumatic to another due to a variety of factors we will discuss below.


One of these factors is control. How much control a person had over the situation makes a big difference. If a person had no control over a situation that happened to them, then they are likely to feel more traumatized than if they were able to have at least some semblance of control during the event. This is why we often see victims of trauma expressing a deep need to be in control as it is an effort to repair this experience.


Secondly, age is also an important variable. As you can imagine, young children are more sensitive to external stimuli than are older children. Young children are also more acutely aware of their parents than are adolescents who are more sensitive to peers.


Along with age, the level of brain development at the time of the trauma is also an important consideration. The part of our brain that allows for rational thinking is not fully developed until a person is in their late twenties. So, if an individual experiences trauma early in their life, their lack of brain development will impact their perception and experience of the event.


The length of time the trauma occurs plays a big role as well. If the trauma occurs over the course of years versus a one-time life event, it is likely to be more impactful. This is not to say that a one-time event cannot be traumatic (it can), but perpetual trauma over long periods of time will have more of an impact than if the same thing were to happen just one time.


A person’s disposition/temperament are a big factor in determining whether or not something is traumatic. This is a variable that we have little control over as it is part of our genetic makeup. A child with an anxious temperament is likely to have MORE anxiety over an event than a child without an anxious temperament.  


This probably comes as no surprise, but the amount of support/resources a person has in the event of a traumatic experience is a major factor in how it impacts them. In fact, this is one of THE most crucial components. When we go through difficult experiences alone, we carry the load entirely. When we have support, we are able to share that load. Therefore, the experience tends to be less taxing. 


The level of betrayal that comes along with the experience impacts how traumatic it is. For example, abuse from a close relative or parent is likely to have more of an impact than abuse from a stranger. This is because there is a perceived level of trust that is violated when abuse comes from someone who is supposed to love and care for us.


All of these factors are why the answer to the question of what constitutes trauma is not so cut and dry. What defines something as traumatic is a person’s lived experience of it. That includes all of the factors mentioned above. When we understand and accept the fact that many factors play a role in the way we experience a situation – as traumatic or not – then we are much more prepared to begin healing from it. We must recognize and allow space for our personal experience without judgment. 


Blog Entries


Did you know that recovery exists even in the financial world?  No, that doesn’t mean your portfolio will suddenly triple in size or that your 401K will allow you to retire early!  Many people find when they are in recovery for an addiction, that addiction often makes a radical turn to a new and undiscovered area of life.  At Relationship Recovery Center it is our job to watch for co-occurring addictions.  One of those areas is money and work!  Those two subjects touch most of us reading this blog!  What are money and work issues, you ask, and how do I know if I have them?  Does money trigger various kinds of emotion in you?  Does the lack of it cause you to be anxious?  Does a big bonus check make you feel high? 

I once heard a wise man say that more divorces are caused by money issues than by infidelity!  We all have a relationship with money much like we have a relationship with people!  You may never have thought about it that way, but its true.  Your relationship with money started long ago in your early childhood years.  Your relationship with money may be just like your parents’ relationship with money.  Or, it may be the complete opposite of what you saw at home because of the adverse effects it had on you at an early age.  Whichever it is, it is impacting you today. 

It may be that you are very stingy with yourself when it comes to money.  Somehow you were left with a “spirit of deprivation” and you do not feel worthy to spend on yourself.  Or, you experience panic attacks every time you open the mailbox and see a stack of envelopes that can only be bills that need to be paid.  And if one of those envelopes has the return address of the IRS on it, watch out, because you will have a total melt down!


These are all questions that can be addressed by contacting the CMATS at Relationship Recovery Center.  CMAT means Certified Multiple Addictions Therapist.  We have diagnostic testing materials designed to get at the root of money and work addictions that can help you determine how it plays a part in your life.  It may be the very thing keeping you stuck in a place where you cannot experience joy and freedom in your financial world!


By Cindy Martin, LMFT, CSAT, CMAT, EMDR I&II

Blog Entries

Feelings 101

Have you ever watched a TV show depicting a therapist? Have you ever noticed that they always portray the therapist saying, “…and how does that make you feel?” Most people laugh at this. Although, people who have been to therapy know that feelings are often a major focus area in sessions. It seems silly, but there are several reasons why.


When asked how we are feeling, the typical response is Fine, Okay, Good, or Bad. None of these are actually feelings, and many times they are automatic responses. We’ve often learned that we are “supposed” to feel okay, and our answers are default in that way. Almost every time I review feelings with my clients, they say “Wow, we should have learned this in school”. Knowing how we feel is an important skill. It is part of being in touch with ourselves, and our bodies. It is critical to meaningful relationships with others. This awareness can help us in many ways throughout our lives.


The history of not being able to identify or express our feelings often begins in, you guessed it, our family of origin. Many of us grew up in families where feelings were not really talked about. They were often unsafe as in the case of rage. They may have even been used to manipulate.  Indirectly, in those experiences, we learned a lot about feelings. What we didn’t learn, however, was how to label them and express them.


In addition to our family of origin, our culture also plays a role in how we perceive emotions. Culturally, men are not encouraged to feel their feelings – except anger. On the contrary, women are encouraged to express their feelings, and are then often labeled overly emotional. Quite the paradox, right?


Facts About Feelings


  • There are many feelings and emotions.None of them are right or wrong. They just are. Feelings can be described as physical symptoms (e.g. nausea, headache, etc…) or emotional symptoms (e.g. fear, anger, love, etc…)


  • Each feeling provides us with gifts.For example, the feeling of pain gives us growth. The feeling of fear provides the gift of wisdom. Thus, feelings can help us in many ways.


  • Feelings are healthy whenthey are directly proportional to the situation at hand.  They are not healthy when they are being expressed in a way that hurts someone.


  • If we aren’t aware of our feelings,then they are often stored within the nervous system, and manifest as bodily symptoms. Illnesses related to the nervous system are often a result of unexpressed emotions.


  • The 8 primary emotions are a good place to start, and many therapists use this concept to simplify things when educating others about feelings. These primary emotions are: anger, pain, fear, shame, guilt, joy, passion, and love. Most other emotions are called secondary emotions, and usually fall under one of these 8 primary emotions category.


  • There is a difference between a thought and a feeling. A feeling is something we have as a result of a thought. “I think it is cold in this room. What I feel about that is frustration.” See the difference? Tip: If you are using the word “that” after a feeling, then it’s probably a thought. Example: “I feel that it’s too cold in this room.” That’s not a feeling. That’s a thought. 


So, there you have it, a couple of pointers to get you starter in your journey of identifying emotions. This simple concept is so important in developing meaningful relationships. The ability to express how you feel, and understand that expression from others is huge. It’s the very foundation upon which intimacy is built. Closeness is developed through feelings. Knowing your own feelings and expressing them allows others to truly see you, and vice versa. With this tips, you are one step closer to understanding both yourself and others.



Blog Entries

In the face of tragedy, what do you tell your kids?

The recent shooting at a Florida high school has shaken many of us across the country.  Not only has it devastated those families directly involved, but it has ensued fear and concern for parents, school aged kids, teachers, law enforcement, and many others.

So many parents find themselves at a loss for how to talk about tragedies such as these with their kids. Whether it’s death of a friend or loved one, a school shooting, a life threatening illness, or a suicide, it can be tough for parents to find the words. What do you say in moments like this? How do you discuss the harsh realities of the world with them in a way that doesn’t elicit fear and anxiety?


Here are 10 things that may help parents talk to kids about tragedy:


-Explain that bad things happen in life, but that doesn’t make life bad. Reminding kids that both good and bad things happen in life, and that we choose how we respond to them.  Ask them on a regular basis what is good in their life, and what things are not so good. This gets them thinking about positive and negative things in their world – which is inevitable.


Let them know it’s okay to be scared. Kids get scared, too. No one wants their kid to be scared, so they often try to reassure them or tell them everything is okay. One of the best ways to respond when a kid is scared, is to acknowledge that it is okay for them to feel that. Let them know that adults feel scared, too. Let them know that you will take every effort to protect them.  Sit with them, hold them, when they are feeling this way. You want them to be able to trust that feeling of healthy fear within them. This kind of healthy fear helps them develop boundaries for themselves around what they should or should not do.


-Encourage them to talk about their feelings with a trustworthy adult. So many of the things that kids experience (e.g. anxiety, depression) can be decreased by them having the time and space to talk about their feelings. This sounds so simple, but kids tend to shy away from expressing their feelings unless coached that it is okay. Let them know that not expressing their feelings can have a negative impact on them, and make them more unhappy.


-Model healthy expression of feelings for them. If kids grow up in an environment where they don’t really see adults express emotions, then they will learn to do the same. When kids see adults express feelings such as anger, tears, sadness, and joy, then they intrinsically learn that it’s okay to do the same. It is key here that adults express these in a healthy way. Rage yields rage; shame yields shame; violence yields violence. Expressions of emotion in these forms can have a very negative impact on kids.  Appropriate expressions in adults, however, yield appropriate expression for kids (generally speaking).


-Let them know it’s okay to be sad when bad things happen. We want to let kids know that it is okay to be sad just as much as it is okay to be scared. In fact, letting them know that it’s okay to have any feelings is a healthy life skill. Again, reinforcing that adults get sad, too. Then letting them know that if we allow ourselves to feel sad, then we will also feel happy again. Physical nurturance when kids are feeling difficult emotions like sadness, pain, and guilt is also very effective. Even when kids are feeling sad about choices they have made. Reassuring them that it is safe to make mistakes, and that they are still loved is critical.


-Let them know that it’s important to make good choices. Use events in life as an opportunity to teach them about making good choices. Present real or fictitious scenarios where they have the opportunity to choose.  This helps them develop critical thinking skills. Use positive reinforcement when they make good choices.


-Reinforce the concept of consequences. Just as much as you want to reinforce their good choices, you also want to teach them about consequences of poor choices. Allowing kids to experience natural consequences is a very effective method for helping them understand the results of their behavior. For example, if you stay up too late on a school night, then you are going to be tired the next day. If you don’t study for your test, then you will make a poor grade. Too many times we try to protect kids from the natural consequences of behavior. This can lead to the lack of responsibility and ownership for their choices. Let them experience consequences, and use these as teaching moments (rather than shaming moments).


-Remind them that it’s always okay to ask for help, and that everyone needs help sometimes. First and foremost, let them see you ask for help. Kids learn more from what they see than what they hear. Use accidents they may experience as moments to remind them that next time they could (not should) ask for help. Go over who are important people to ask for help from: parents, teachers, coaches, friends’ parents, anyone that you trust to point your kid in the right direction.


-Remind them the importance of making safe and healthy choices. In years past, “stranger danger” and not answering the door for strangers were generally what we learned about safety. Today, there are many other opportunities for kids to be get into unsafe situations, and not even realize it. Ignore the notion that talking about it will “give them ideas” to do it. The research shows that this is NOT true. Talk about internet dangers, talk about suicide (yes I know that sounds scary), talk about bullying. All of those things that make you uncomfortable, and that we want to think won’t affect “our kid”. Talk about them. One day, you may be glad you did.


-Teach them to treat others kindly and with love. In a world with so much divisiveness and hatred, raising a generation with care and compassion for others is even more important than it ever has been. Teach your kids the importance of these character traits. Again, the theme of modeling this is critical here. Teach them to get outside of themselves and serve. Provide them with experiences to be around people who are different from them so they can learn to respect those who aren’t the same. Use situations where they may innocently judge someone by reminding them that everyone has a story.


Parenting is tough on its own, and its even harder when addressing difficult situations. That being said, being a parent is one of the most rewarding jobs you could ever have. If you don’t remember anything else, just remember to keep showing up. Do the best that you can. Your kids will feel that, and that in and of itself develops a sense of safety in their world.

Blog Entries

13 Reasons Why

By now most of us have at least heard about the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why.”  And even if you haven’t heard about it, there is a real good chance the adolescents in your life have.  It is rated MA, and has rated it 16+.  However, many of the teens and preteens I work with are watching it.  So, I did my due diligence and watched the entire series in about five days.


The show is narrated by Hannah via audiotapes she left for the 13 people she blames for her killing herself.  The entire series takes place after her death, and the audiotapes are a type of revenge she enacts on these 13 people.  In the series, there are many tough subjects – bullying, voyeurism, sexual assault and rape, underage drinking, drug use, and, ultimately, (an excruciating to watch scene) of Hannah killing herself and her parents finding her.


I do believe the hope of the show was to raise awareness about suicide and its causes, but unfortunately, it goes against much of the research out there on how to raise awareness in a healthy way.  Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people age 10-24.  According to more than 50 worldwide research studies, the way that the media portrays suicide can lead to greater risks for suicide.  has created a list of recommendations for the media when reporting on suicide.


Some of them are:

Don’t sensationalize the suicide.

Don’t talk about the details, including the method of the suicide.

If there is a note, don’t talk about the contents.

Talk about it as a public health issue.

Refer to the suicide as “died by suicide,” “completed,” or “killed him/herself” not “committed suicide” or “successful.”


The series (and the book to my understanding) goes against all of these recommendations.  There is a 30 minute follow up to the show that is available AFTER the last episode.  However, many of these conversations need to happen during the series not after. 


Caution should be used when watching “13 Reasons Why,” as it could possibly be harmful for some teens (and anyone else for that matter), especially those that have struggled with depression and self-harm or suicidal thoughts.   There is a heavy emphasis on revenge, it doesn’t address mental health and it doesn’t show any of the ways that someone who is struggling can successfully reach out for help.


So what do we do?


First, start a conversation about the show.  Find out if the adolescents in your life have watched it or if they are interested in watching it.  Talk about the difficult issues in the show because many of them are issues that they may have experienced already or will experience in the future.  And if they want to watch it, watch it with them and talk about these tough subjects as you go. Banning them from the show may work, but they may have access to it somewhere other than home.  The link below from the Jed Foundation has some excellent talking points, and it is a good place to start when starting tough conversations.  Talk to them and find out if they can relate to anything in the show.  Opening the lines of communication is key in helping adolescents know they can come talk to you about difficult subjects.  Make sure you and the adolescents in your life know how to reach out for help. Talk to an adult, a school counselor, a minister, a therapist, or call a help line.  And if you reach out to one of these and it isn’t helpful (like the one time Hannah reached out in the series and it wasn’t helpful), TRY again.


By:  Angela Hogan, LAMFT and CSAT-Candidate








Blog Entries

Certain Trauma Considerations In Uncertain Times

Some more specific considerations to keep in mind with regard to trauma are the fact that specific cultural, familial, and generational components can exacerbate trauma responses even more. For example, an individual with a Jewish background whose family has survived the Holocaust (even several generations out), can still carry much of the trauma that their ancestors experienced. Thus, they are more likely to feel a very strong fear response to changes that seem like they emulate these past traumas. For many, this is part of their genetic coding, and may have never been triggered before. Certain events may feel similar, though, and thus bring this to the surface. Where a person may not be directly impacted by the incident, they can still have a very strong emotional reaction. Without the proper support, this can often lead individuals to respond using maladaptive coping skills. Thus why we sometimes see an increase in substance abuse, violent behavior, being verbally derogatory, and a lack of tolerance in these types of situations. Keep in mind, when it feels like survival is at stake (even if it really may not be), we respond using survival instincts – not from our adaptive brains.

For individuals who may have grown up with certain dysfunctional family dynamics, certain situations and experiences can trigger these feelings from their past. For many adults, they feel as though they have moved well beyond (and even “gotten over”) the events of their past. The research shows us, however, that trauma lingers in the mind and body, and will manifest at some point if it has not been dealt with entirely. For example, a person who grew up amidst family dysfunction where the implied rules were not to think, feel, or trust may feel very triggered by experiences where they perceive oppression. They may respond by becoming very rigid, or even overtly defensive. This is often because these responses allowed them to feel as though they had a sense of control or safety in their environment growing up, so in similar feeling experiences they do the same.

In these examples, if a person can learn to understand their generational trauma and unresolved family of origin conflict, then they will likely be able to manage their reactions in present day situations better. This is not to say that people still will not have strong feelings and opinions on a matter, but having dealt with unresolved trauma will allow them to navigate through these feelings using their prefrontal cortex rather than their limbic brain. It’s also possible that they may have very different opinions and feelings towards the issues at hand once they have worked to understand the underlying issues. In many ways this is the essence of therapy.  Understanding the unconscious processes that influence us in our everyday lives is the key to long-term sustained change.

If you, or someone you know, finds yourself struggling with coping in an effective way with the environment around you, then you may considering seeking out a trained professional that specializes in family dynamics, systemic therapy, and/or trauma treatment. Therapists with these backgrounds have specialized training in working beyond the surface level context. This more systemic approach typically leads to longer lasting substantial change, deeper understanding of self, and a less-stressed existence.  With this approach, individuals are better equipped to navigate through similar types of issues with greater understanding when they arise in the future.



Blog Entries

Sign of the Times: Change, Uncertainty, and Trauma – Oh My!

If you are alive and breathing, there is no doubt you are aware of the many changes that have been abruptly taking place in the world around us. Anytime there is a seismic shift in our environment, whether it be a natural disaster or a shift in political leadership, it can have a significant impact on many people. If you aren’t sure what I’m talking about, then just take a brief scroll through your social media news feed. The evidence of major shifts in our world is unavoidable. As therapists, we know that change is always difficult. Even the most well adjusted individuals experience some challenges when major changes occur in their life. Consider that many individuals face other life challenges on top of dealing with an ever changing world, and you might run into a great deal of fear, anxiety, even panic and terror. 

    Maybe you have observed a friend or family member verbalizing their outrage or real fear of some of the things going on around us. Perhaps you could not quite understand the extent of their concern. In fact, you may have chalked it up to them being dramatic, or really over-reacting, even lacking an understanding of the facts of the issue. Although these elements can be true, as therapists, and experts in trauma care, we know that elevated emotion is almost always a sign of some unresolved issue. We often refer to this using the term "unresolved trauma" as well. These unresolved issues are often held in a person’s unconscious, and may manifest through more surface level issues.

    As an important side note to understand for the context of this blog post, is that we all have unresolved trauma of varying degrees. For the purpose of this blog post, we are operating under the trauma definition as anything a person experiences that is less than nurturing (originally coined by Pia Mellody). Trauma is defined by a person’s internal subjective experience and not by some societal scale, so some people could experience the same event and perceive it as traumatic while others may not. In these cases, both individuals would be correct as it relates to their perceptions in light and relative to their life experiences. 

    Today more than ever, clients are often presenting in our offices with extreme distress due to the shifting social, political, and economic climate. Through further questioning, however, we are often able to help clients connect this distress to previous traumatic experiences that may still be “sore spots”. This is not to say that the current situation mirrors their previous trauma, but perhaps triggers similar feelings that may leave a person feeling high emotional, and perhaps struggling to use their typical coping resources to work through this distress. This is an important component to keep in mind as we are interacting and responding to others distress around us. This blog post addresses some current considerations to keep in mind in understanding both ourselves and others around us during changing and uncertain times. 

    One of the first things to keep in mind is that people struggle to think and respond logically when they are in highly emotionally charged situations. This is pure brain science. When we are in a reactionary state, our pre-frontal cortex (the decision making part of our brain) is overridden by the limbic (feelings, attachments, and drives) part of the brain. When we are responding from the feelings part of our brain this is because our brain has signaled that there is either real threat or perceived threat. As humans, we tend to respond in one of three ways – fight, flight, or freeze. In these moments, despite our ability to cognitively reason or think clearly, we are unable to respond in any other way. In fact, it’s not until the feeling of threat (or even perceived threat) has passed that we are able to respond rationally. So, what do you do in these situations? 

    Whether it is you, or a friend or family member, you must attend to the feeling first. If it is fear, then acknowledging that (e.g. “It seems that you are really frightened. None of us like to feel that scared.). Secondly, remember that this is likely a relationship that is important to you, so extend support. Simply, asking how you can be supportive, and if there is anything you can do to help can go a long way. In a state of fear and panic, this can help us feel like we are not alone which can have a major impact in diffusing anxiety.



Blog Entries

What Does Sex Addiction Treatment Look Like Part 4: Treatment Planning Is Not One Size Fits All

In parts one through three of this series, we have covered the different levels of care for addressing sex addiction. While these are the most common methods of treatment for sex addiction, it is certainly not an exhaustive list of all the components of treatment. Also, careful consideration should be made that the course of treatment is appropriate for each individual client.


In fact, an individual’s path to recovery is rarely this cut and dry. A Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT) can provide a thorough assessment to help determine the best and most appropriate recommendations for an individual. Considerations and discussion are necessary on what is realistic in terms of time constraints and financial considerations such as insurance. Although often a good option, there is no magic to “inpatient care”.  In many cases, it is not a consideration for clients due to time or financial constraints. In this case, clinicians may help build a level of support in an outpatient setting.  Other times, a client may not be ready to face the level of care really necessary to help them achieve sustained sobriety, and their outpatient therapist will continue to work with them to be able to do so. All in all, recovery is available at all levels of care. One course may be more difficult than others, but recovery is a personal choice, and can be obtained through any of these routes.

In general, it takes 3-5 years to develop solid recovery in sex addiction. This means 3-5 years of really prioritizing recovery and working a program that includes therapy and support groups (like 12 step programs). This does not mean that in five years all problems will be solved, but it generally means that if someone can get to that point then some significant changes have likely happened. That being said, relapse is often a part of this process, and each relapse stalls the process. Depending on the nature of the relapse, it may be significantly stalled, or may just be a bump in the road.

The bottom line is that real change is a process that takes significant time, and will be somewhat unique to each person. If you are struggling to maintain sobriety at your current level of care, then you may consider the other options discussed in this series? It is always recommended that you speak to your current provider, and discuss what options would be best for you. If you do not have a current provider, and are interested in a formal assessment for sex addiction, please contact our office to schedule an assessment with one of our Certified Sex Addiction Therapists (CSAT).