PARTNERS OF SEX ADDICTS
YOU CAN FIND HEALING FROM THE TRAUMA OF BEING IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH SOMEONE WHO IS SEXUALLY ADDICTED.
You may have discovered that treatment for the partner of an addict is hard to find and most therapists are unfamiliar with sex addiction. Even those who specialize in sex addiction may label you a co-addict and tell you attend 12 step meetings - just because you are or have been in a relationship with a sex addict. Although Ella has received extensive training and supervision under experts in the field to become a Certified Clinical Sexual Addiction Specialist, it is her personal experience that gives her the ability to offer her clients unique empathy and understanding.
My partner is the one with the problem. Why should I get therapy?
It is common to feel resentment toward your sexually addicted spouse and resistance to the idea that you need help when you aren't the one with the problem. But if you are the spouse of a sex addict, support and guidance from a professional is a critical component for your healing. This does not mean something is wrong with you.
Ella bases her approach to treating partners of sex addicts on the clinical research done by Dr. Barbara Steffens, co-author of the book, Your Sexually Addicted Spouse, and president of the Association of Partners of Sex Addicts Trauma Specialists. Steffens' research found that most wives suffer from trauma after the discovery of their husband's addiction. Partners' reactions to this discovery are not the result of codependency, but from trauma.
Until recently, it has been assumed that the spouse of a sex addict is co-dependent, and is therefore automatically labeled a co- sex addict. Many therapists still work from this viewpoint. While some spouses of sex addicts are codependent (as are many people who are not married to addicts), new research shows us that we suffer from trauma after discovering our partner's addiction. This trauma is rarely recognized or addressed by professionals. Sixty-nine percent of women studied met criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. This is a disorder that needs treatment and will not go away on its own.
Is the sex addict's addiction the fault of the spouse or partner?
No. The addiction is NOT the fault of the spouse or partner. The addict's addiction began at a much earlier stage of development-long before marriageable age. The addiction, left untreated, would have grown regardless of who the addict married and would have wounded anyone who got close enough. Once again, there IS help for the spouse or partner of a sex addict in the form of support groups and professional counseling.