Sex addiction: therapist perspectives

Brewer, Gayle orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0690-4548 and Tidy, Paul (2019) Sex addiction: therapist perspectives. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 34 (1). pp. 40-53. ISSN 1468-1994

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Sexual addiction may be defined as sexual behaviour that is “compulsive and yet continues despite adverse consequences”. Knowledge and understanding of sexual addiction has been impaired by the use of multiple labels, definitions, and assessment procedures, hence the present study investigated therapist perspectives and experiences of assessing and treating the condition. Interviews were conducted with nine psychosexual therapists and subjected to interpretive phenomenological analysis. Three superordinate themes emerged from the analysis. These were distress, risk, and treatment. The distress theme included three sub-themes: stress and coping; suicidal ideation; and partner experience. Three sub-themes formed the risk theme: physical safety; disease, dysfunctions, and pregnancy; and co-addiction. The treatment theme contained three sub-themes: awareness; assessment and diagnosis; and successful therapy. Findings have important implications for the diagnosis and treatment of sexual addiction. Future research should investigate these themes further and introduce interventions to support the safety and well-being of sexual addiction clients

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