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Below are some tips I hope you will find helpful in finding a counselor who will offer you the validation and guidance you need and deserve. Read the book, Your Sexually Addicted Spouse, by Barbara Steffens and Marsha Means.This will educate you on the sex-addiction induced trauma model. Ask if they use the term co-addict to label partners of sex addicts, especially before they have even met them.
Since they are asking me I know that means they have been to my website or read one of my articles and are looking for someone who will recognize and validate their trauma while not labeling them a “co-sex addict.” Helping people find good therapists could become a full time job for me.
Unfortunately, in spite of studies showing that 70% of wives of sex addicts meet the criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), most sex addiction counselors are still working from the co-addict model.
The co-addict model says a person who is married to a sex addict is sick, out of control, addicted to their spouse, and implies she is partially to blame for his behavior, simply because she chose to marry a sex addict, even though the vast majority of the time she did not even know he was an addict.
After all, how can you heal when you don’t know exactly what you need to heal from?
Addicts will almost always continue to lie about past behaviors, even while in recovery, while promising you that you know everything, without a full clinical disclosure (therapist guided) with polygraph to motivate them to be completely honest.
Then call around to therapists and ask if they are familiar with the book and subscribe to what it teaches. (You can often find this on their website, which will help you rule out many therapists quickly.) If they do sometimes diagnose clients as co-sex addict, and hopefully they don’t, ask if they evaluate them first or if that is the name they give all partners of sex addicts.
Do they refer partners to COSA, S-Anon, or any other 12 step meetings? 12 step meetings are almost always for addicts and codependent family members of addicts.Many partners of addicts (such as drug addicts and alcoholics) do enable addictive behavior, turn a blind eye, allow their children to be put in harm’s way by not protecting them from the addict, etc. But most partners had no idea their spouse was a sex addict for many years.They may have sensed something was not right, but had no way to prove what it was.As counselors complete the training and the required supervision hours to become certified in treating partners, their names will be added to the website. The first training date is set for June 26-29, 2013 in Dallas, TX.This certification will not only give them the ability to offer partners of sex addicts better treatment, but it will make them highly marketable.APSATS is a non-profit organization dedicated to the professional training and certification, public education, research and advocacy for treatment of sex addiction- induced trauma. If your husband is in recovery and you both want to stay married, ask if they support simultaneous couple’s and individual counseling.