“Obsession, compulsion, and addiction” are just a few terms used to describe hyper-sexuality and comorbidity. Sex addictions can take on as many forms as the treatments themselves. The term “sexual compulsivity ” has been a descriptive term applied to a substantially broader range of both paraphiliac and non-paraphilic sexual behavior disorders according to the American Psychological Association.
First, let me say that I do not personally believe that sexual addictions exist because I think that the term “addiction” is misused to describe the context of these conditions. In my educated opinion, I believe that sexual addictions are merely classifications for psychosexual imbalances that stem from a number of issues. With that being said, I will use the commonly accepted term of sexual addiction throughout the remainder of this report for the sake of clinical identification purposes. The purpose of this proposal was to offer an effective sexual addiction and compulsivity treatment program model that can be adapted by professional counselors to aid those in need.
The B.L.U.S.H.™ (BRIDGING LOVE, UNDERSTANDING, AND SEXUALITY HOLISTICALLY) Sexual Addiction Program Model Proposal
The B.L.U.S.H. ™ Sexual Addiction Treatment (SAT) Program is a Multidimensional Treatment Model based on the theory that partners of sex addicts develop co-addicted traits and characteristics over time due to the fact that they are in relationships with an addict. The goal of this multidimensional partner trauma model was to provide a sound foundation for assisting clients and their partners in the healing process from sex addiction and compulsivity.
I first presented this program model as a senior Psychology and Human Services major while attending Tennessee State University. The goal of this program was to assist professionals in gaining a greater understanding of the unique ethical issues related to treatment of partners, including the issue of potential treatment-induced trauma.
The B.L.U.S.H.™ SAT Program is predicated on multiple operational models of Sex Addiction and Compulsivity Disorder (Segen’s Medical Dictionary 2011) currently being utilized throughout the United States. This comprehensive sexual addiction and compulsion model would be offered in treatment centers offer inpatient and outpatient therapy in conjunction with weekend classes.
One of the most basic forms of human interaction is through our sexuality. Humans use their sexuality to expose and explore aggression, temerity, submission, fears, phobias, anxieties, tranquility, acceptance, shame and so much more. The B.L.U.S.H.™ SAT Program will offer a multidimensional partner trauma model and educational workshops for sex addicts and their families. The mission of the program was to give the proper tools necessary to necessary to develop and rekindle the love, intimacy and romance of their relationships individuals suffering from sex addiction and their loved ones. This Program was designed to stress working on consolidating gains and personal integrity.
Sex and Internet Addiction is a process addiction characterized by loss of control and its impact on the person’s life (Holloway, J. 2003). The addiction generally affects many levels of client’s personal and professional lives including relationships with their families. Sex addiction and compulsivity is an issue being encountered within all clinical treatment settings. Over the past several years, there has been a shift towards utilizing a trauma perspective in treating the traumatic impact of sex addiction upon the partner or spouse.
The four forms of evaluation the B.L.U.S.H.™ SAT Program would include (Recovery Zone Services, 2012) an Internet version of the SAST (Sexual Addiction Screening Test), the Internet Sex Screening Test (ISST), the Sexual Addiction Risk Assessment (SARA), and the Sexual Dependency Inventory (SDI). The SAST (Sexual Addiction Screening Test) is an assessment instrument with high reliably indicating the presence of sexual addiction. This means that the SAST indicates whether a there is a problem or not. This instrument does not indicate whether the problem is mild, moderate, or severe. The B.L.U.S.H.™ SAT Program offers both a tiered psycho-educational and therapeutic context that can deliver in tandem or solo.
Similar treatment programs typically offer multidimensional partner trauma model and educational workshops for addicts and their families. Addiction treatment and recovery is conceptualized into Phases. Treatment phases may require several years to complete. Phase I will involve Abstinence and Stabilization. Phase II will focus on Recapture and Remembrance and Phase III shall consist of the Life-in-Bloom approach: Integration, Reversion Prevention and Positive Holistic Sexuality.
The B.L.U.S.H.™ SAT Program is geared towards completion of 7 interrelated tasks on the premise that the potential for relapse is minimized when clients complete all required tasks. Clients will be given a multi-media kit known as the Recapture Kit containing a program DVD, CDs and workbooks (to be used as homework exercises during their treatment) after completion of the assessment. They will be required to meet in group therapy on a weekly basis for approximately 6 months.
Group therapy will be used to address issues of denial, understanding the cycle of sexual addiction, personal limitations, minimizing collateral damage, instituting sobriety, and necessitating physical integrity. Clients will also be offered Individual therapy as a means to address relationship reform, fostering supportive networks, and grief comprehension. After completing the first set of tasks, clients will participate in open-ended group therapy for approximately 6 months to focus on the next set of tasks which will include acknowledging their abuse, diminishing personal shame, and completion of a stress index.
The B.L.U.S.H.™ SAT Program was founded upon the philosophy that partners of sex addicts develop co-addicted traits and characteristics over time due to the fact that they are in relationships with an addict. The goal of this multidimensional partner trauma model is to provide a sound foundation for assisting clients and their partners in their healing process from sex addiction and compulsivity. The addiction program would use couple’s therapy in attempt to repair relationships that have been damaged by the client’s sexual addictions with the goal of keeping communication open as recovery begins. This will involve a structured and formal disclosure process whereby the couple may have a period of sobriety in order to focus on intimacy growth in all other ways but sexual. The last phase of therapy will reintegrate sexuality and establish a task model for partners of sex addicts into the relationship.
The soundness of the B.L.U.S.H.™ SAT Program can be evaluated a multitude of psychosexual measures. A sampling of some such dimensions (Recovery Zone Services, 2012) will be subsequently illustrated. The first assessment is the Sexual Addiction Screening Test (SAST). This tool is designed to assist in the assessment of sexually compulsive behavior that may indicate the presence of sex addiction. SAST was developed in cooperation with hospitals, treatment programs, private therapists, and community groups. The SAST provides a profile of responses that help to discriminate between addictive and non-addictive behavior. This instrument does not indicate whether the problem is mild, moderate, or severe.
The Internet Sex Screening Test (ISST) would be the second assessment given for general screening purposes (used to assess Internet sex behavior). It is used to help individuals know whether further evaluation is needed but it is not a diagnostic instrument. The ISST (Delmonico, 1999) attempts to screen for problematic online sexual behavior. The Sexual Addiction Risk Assessment (SARA) assessment is an anonymous sex addiction self-diagnostic that compares an individual’s answers with thousands of other sex addicts. SARA is a confidential test that scores the various type of sexual addiction on a mild, moderate or severe continuum. It consists of 88 questions, which will take approximately 25 minutes to complete. SARA is used to look at the various types of sexual addiction.
As reported by Hook, the Sexual Dependency Inventory (SDI) is a comprehensive assessment used to clarify both the psychological and behavioral of Sexual Addiction and Sexual Anorexia (Hook, J. N., Hook, J. P., Davis, D. E., Worthington Jr, E. L., & Penberthy, J. K. 2010). It is available for use only by Certified Sex Addiction Therapists. The Sexual CompulsivityScale (SCS) is a validated 10-item inventory derived primarily from individuals who self-identified as having sexual addictions used to assess sexual compulsivity. Kafka (2013) cited that Kalichman’s SCS has been extensively employed to identify ‘‘sexual risk-takers.’’
Program Effectiveness Feasibility
The B.L.U.S.H.™ SAT Program could be evaluated for effectiveness of the sexual addiction and compulsivity treatment based upon the same criteria for measuring similar programs such as the Sexual Health and Recovery Experience (SHARE) Model Program operated by Dr. Mary-Linda Sara in Reston, Virginia (Vacouples.com, 2014). I have confidence that examiners will discover a feasible measure of success and reliability because it utilizes a variety of sound alternates that can offer a more comprehensive, holistic sexual addiction client profile upon carefully reviewing the B.L.U.S.H.™ SAT Program Pilot.