Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Sex Addiction Epidemic

Chris Lee of the Daily Beat author of Newsweek December 2011 cover story

Valerie realized that sex was wrecking her life right around the time her second marriage disintegrated. At 30, and employed as a human-resources administrator in Phoenix, she had serially cheated on both her husbands—often with their subordinates and co-workers—logging anonymous hookups in fast-food-restaurant bathrooms, affairs with married men, and one-night stands too numerous to count. But Valerie couldn’t stop. Not even after one man’s wife aimed a shotgun at her head while catching them in flagrante delicto. Valerie called phone-sex chat lines and pored over online pornography, masturbating so compulsively that it wasn’t uncommon for her to choose her vibrator over going to work. She craved public exhibitionism, too, particularly at strip clubs, and even accepted money in exchange for sex—not out of financial necessity but for the illicit rush such acts gave her.

For Valerie, sex was a form of self-medication: to obliterate the anxiety, despair, and crippling fear of emotional intimacy that had haunted her since being abandoned as a child. “In order to soothe the loneliness and the fear of being unwanted, I was looking for love in all the wrong places,” she recalls.

After a decade of carrying on this way, Valerie hit rock bottom. Facing her second divorce as well as the end of an affair, she grew despondent and attempted to take her life by overdosing on prescription medication. Awakening in the ICU, she at last understood what she had become: a sex addict. “Through sexually acting out, I lost two marriages and a job. I ended up homeless and on food stamps,” says Valerie, who, like most sex addicts interviewed for this story, declined to provide her real name. “I was totally out of control.”

“Sex addiction” remains a controversial designation—often dismissed as a myth or providing talk-show punchlines thanks to high-profile lotharios such as Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Tiger Woods. But compulsive sexual behavior, also called hypersexual disorder, can systematically destroy a person’s life much as addictions to alcohol or drugs can. And it’s affecting an increasing number of Americans, say psychiatrists and addiction experts. “It’s a national epidemic,” says Steven Luff, coauthor of Pure Eyes: A Man’s Guide to Sexual Integrity and leader of the X3LA sexual-addiction recovery groups in Hollywood.

In fact, some of the growth has been fueled by the digital revolution, which has revved up America’s carnal metab­olism. Where previous generations had to risk public embarrassment at dirty bookstores and X-rated movie theaters, the Web has made pornography accessible, free, and anonymous. An estimated 40 million people a day in the U.S. log on to some 4.2 million pornographic websites, according to the Internet Filter Software Review. And though watching porn isn’t the same as seeking out real live sex, experts say the former can be a kind of gateway drug to the latter.

“Not everyone who looks at a nude image is going to become a sex addict. But the constant exposure is going to trigger people who are susceptible,” says Dr. David Sack, chief executive of Los Angeles’s Promises Treatment Centers.

New high-tech tools are also making it easier to meet strangers for a quick romp. Smartphone apps like Grindr use GPS technology to facilitate instantaneous, no-strings gay hookups in 192 countries. The website AshleyMadison.com promises “affairs guaranteed” by connecting people looking for sex outside their marriages; the site says it has 12.2 million members.

This year the epidemic has spread to movies and TV. In November the Logo television network began airing Bad Sex, a reality series following a group of men and women with severe sexual issues, most notably addiction. And on Dec. 2, the acclaimed psychosexual drama Shame arrives in ­theaters. The movie follows Brandon (portrayed by Irish actor Michael Fassbender in a career-defining performance), a New Yorker with a libido the size of the Empire State Building. His life devolves into a blur of carnal encounters, imperiling both his job and his self-regard. In perhaps the least sexy sex scene in the history of moviedom, Brandon appears to lose all humanity during a frenzied ménage à trois with two prostitutes. “It’s a foursome with the audience,” says director and co-writer Steve McQueen. “What we were doing was actually dangerous. Not just in terms of people liking the movie, but psychologically.”

However powerful and queasy Shame’s odyssey into full-frontal debasement may be, the film only begins to tap into the dark realities connected with sex addiction. Take it from Tony, a 36-year-old from the affluent Westside of Los Angeles, who found his life thrown into turmoil by compulsive sexual behavior. “I was crippled by it,” he says. “I would go into trancelike states, lose track of what I was doing socially, professionally, spiritually. I couldn’t stop.”

He was ashamed of his tireless efforts to find women. “I was meeting girls on the basketball court, in the club, pulling my car over to meet them on the street,” Tony recalls. It took joining a Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous 12-step program for him to realize that he wasn’t alone.

He also learned that his fixation on sex was a way of avoiding his insecurities and tackling the emotional issues that first led to his addictive behavior. “The addiction will take you to a place where you’re walking the streets at night, so keyed up, thinking, ‘Maybe I’ll just see if there’s anybody out there,’” he says. “Like looking for prey, kind of. You’re totally jacked up, adrenalized. One hundred percent focused on this one purpose. But my self-esteem was shot.”

Most treatment programs are modeled on Alcoholics Anonymous, but rather than pushing cold-turkey abstinence, they advocate something called “sexual sobriety.” This can take different forms, but typically involves eradicating “unwanted sexual behavior,” whether that’s obsessive masturbation or sex with hookers. “We treat it very much like sobriety for an eating disorder,” says Robert Weiss, founder of the Sexual Recovery Institute in Los Angeles. “They have to define for themselves based on their own goals and belief systems: ‘What is healthy eating for me? Can I go to a buffet? Can I eat by myself?’ We look at your goals and figure in your sexual behaviors and validate what’s going to lead you back to the behavior you don’t want to do.”

Although sex addicts sometimes describe behavior akin to obsessive-compulsive disorder, research hasn’t directly correlated the two. But a growing body of research shows how hypersexual disorder can fit into other forms of addiction. At the Promises treatment centers, clinicians have observed a number of sex addicts who have relapsed with drugs or alcohol in order to medicate the shame they felt. Severe depression can also follow after an addict starts to confront the condition. “I realized I was not comfortable in my own skin,” says Valerie, who checked herself into four months of treatment for sex addiction at Del Amo, a private behavioral-health hospital in Torrance, Calif. “My depression came from the fear I was going to be alone for the rest of my life. Fighting the obsession and rumination, the fear of loneliness and abandonment.”

(Page 3 of 3)

Sex addicts are compelled by the same heightened emotional arousal that can drive alcoholics or drug addicts to act so recklessly, say addiction experts. Research shows that substance abusers and sex addicts alike form a dependency on the brain’s pleasure-center neurotransmitter, dopamine. “It’s all about chasing that emotional high: losing yourself in image after image, prostitute after prostitute, affair after affair,” says the Sexual Recovery Institute’s Weiss. “They end up losing relationships, getting diseases, and losing jobs.”

Here’s what the experts will tell you that sex addiction is most decidedly not: a convenient excuse for sexual indiscretions and marital truancy. Chris Donaghue, a sex therapist who hosts the show Bad Sex, says Tiger Woods, for example, does not qualify as a sex addict, despite his well-documented sexcapades and treatment at a Mississippi rehabilitation center specializing in sex addiction. “Because he didn’t honor his integrity and marital boundary does not make him an addict,” Donaghue says, adding that people will say, “ ‘Because I get in trouble, because I cheat, I’ll just blame it on sex addiction. That’s my get-out-of-jail-free card.’ ”

Contrast Woods’s wild-oats sowing against the experiences of Harper, an Atlanta-born television executive who found himself caught in the grips of sex addiction for four years. After joining an online dating service, Harper fell into a pattern of juggling multiple relationships, sexting incessantly and focusing almost singlemindedly on hooking up. He discovered he could usually get his partners into bed on the first date—sometimes within the first hour of meeting. “And these weren’t desperate women,” he says.

But the fleeting ego gratification Harper derived from his conquests came at a steep price. He describes himself as living in a “stupor.” Friendships suffered, and he felt “pathetic” about his sexual urgency. The worst part, he says, was that his sex drive ultimately changed “what I think is normal,” as his tolerance grew for increasingly hard-core forms of pornography. “It really is like that monster you can’t ever fulfill,” says Harper, 30, who has avoided dating for the past eight months and attends a recovery group. “Both with the porn and the sex, something will be good for a while and then you have to move on to other stuff. The worst thing is, toward the end, I was looking at pretend incest porn. And I was like, ‘Why is something like that turning me on?!’ ”

The potential for abuse of online porn is well documented, with research showing that chronic masturbators who engage with online porn for up to 20 hours a day can suffer a “hangover” as a result of the dopamine drop-off. But there are other collateral costs. “What you look at online is going to take you offline,” says Craig Gross, a.k.a. the “Porn Pastor,” who heads XXXChurch.com, a Christian website that warns against the perils of online pornography. “You’re going to do so many things you never thought you’d do.”

Exhibit A: “We see a lot of heterosexual men who are addicted to sex and, because culturally and biologically women aren’t as readily available to have sex at all times of the day, these men will turn to gay men for gratifi­cation,” says sex therapist Donaghue. “Imagine what that does to their psychology. ‘Now am I gay? What do I tell my wife?’ ”

That wasn’t the issue for Max Dubinsky, an Ohio native and writer who went through a torturous 14-month period of online-pornography dependence. He says a big problem with his addiction was actually what it prevented him from doing. “I couldn’t hold down a healthy relationship. I couldn’t be aroused without pornography, and I was expecting way too much from the women in my life,” recalls Dubinsky, 25, who sought treatment at the X3LA recovery group and is now married.

If discussion of sex addiction can seem like an exclusive domain of men, that’s because, according to sex therapists, the overwhelming majority of self-identifying addicts—about 90 percent—are male. Women are more often categorized as “love addicts,” with a compulsive tendency to fall into dependent relationships and form unrealistic bonds with partners. That’s partly because women are more apt than men to be stigmatized by association with sex addiction, says Anna Valenti-Anderson, a sex-addiction therapist in Phoenix. “We live in a society where there’s still a lot more internalized shame for women and there’s a lot more for them to lose,” Valenti-Anderson says. “People will say, ‘She’s a bad mom’ for doing these sexual things. As opposed to, ‘She’s sick and has a disorder.’ But very slowly, women are starting to be more willing to come into treatment.”

Addicts and therapists alike say they hope a greater awareness of the disease will eventually help addicts of all genders and ages come forward and seek treatment. Many are likely to find that “sex addiction isn’t really about sex,” as Weiss puts it; it’s about “being wanted.”

X3LA’s Steven Luff says, “Sex is the perfect match for that. ‘I matter right now. In this moment, I am loved.’ In that sense, an entire culture, an entire nation is looking for meaning.”

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Ross Rosenberg's DVD and Webcast Seminars

I am now providing DVD and Webcast Seminars through PESI. My training Entangled by the Web: Romance, Fantasy, Social Networking and Cybersex Addiction, is now available. The Emotional Manipulators and Codependents: Understanding the Attraction will be available soon.
 DVD and Webcast Seminars:
  • Entangled by the Web: Romance, Fantasy, Social Networking and Cybersex Addiction
      Buy the DVD

      Sign up for the Webcast
  •  Emotional Manipulators and Codependents: Understanding the Attraction
       Buy the DVD  (purchasing information is forthcoming)
       Sign up for the webcasts  (registration information is forthcoming)


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Internet, Cybersex, Romance, Social Media Addiction Training

Internet, Cybersex, Romance, Fantasy
and Social Networking Addiction

 December 10, 2011 
 A joint AATP of Illinois and PESI training

Olson Auditorium,
Lutheran General Hospital,  
1775 Dempster, Park Ridge, IL.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I would like to personally invite you to my next professional training.  Of all my trainings, "Caught in the Web" is my favorite.  It is both topical and clinically relevant to our work.  As with my other trainings, I try to deliver a training experience that is informative, applicable to our jobs and entertaining.  This is a 6 hour CEU training. 

I hope you will consider contacting AATP of Illinois to attend this training or PESI to watch it via webcast or to purchase the DVD.    If you have any questions about this or any of my other trainings, don't hesitate to contact me by email or visit my website for more information.
Ross Rosenberg

Training Description:
"A new and rapidly growing population of Internet addicts has emerged. The Internet has become the global "drug" of choice. As a result of the constant technological advancements of our computers, phones and tablet devices, the Internet has never been more enticing, alluring and compelling. Due to the proliferation of online social sites for recreation, dating and other "hook-ups," it is all too easy to log-in, tune-out and engage, while never leaving the comfort of one's own home. Apart from the seemingly harmless social Internet dating options, one can schedule a sexual affair in the amount of time it takes to pour a glass of water. The Internet has become the "portal" to a new reality - virtual reality. This training is designed to address the true costs of Internet Addiction Disorder. The training will explore the impact of the seductive and addictive nature of cyber sexual, romantic, social (i.e., Facebook) and fantasy websites. The diagnostic criteria, signs, symptoms, demographics, cause/etiology and biological/neurological aspects of IAD will also be examined. Gain a fresh and comprehensive perspective on a critical phenomenon of the 21st century. "

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Online 12-Step Sexual Addiction Meetings

The following are links to online 12-step meetings for sex addicts.  These meetings are especially helpful to individuals who are fearful of being recognized (despite the anonymity of the groups), who have driving/transportation limitations, medical issues, family/parenting challenges, and/or social anxiety.   To be clear, I strongly recommend/prefer that my sexually addicted clients attend "live" meetings.  But, when barriers are present, these online meetings are especially helpful


Saturday, September 17, 2011

I've Been Diagnosed with Bipolar - What's Next?

Link to Article

I've Been Diagnosed with Bipolar - What's Next?
Catherine Ness, MA, LCPC
Clinical Care Consultants
Arlington Heights, IL

A diagnosis of bipolar can seem overwhelming. You probably have many questions ranging from the prognosis to the disorder, to the medication your psychiatrist prescribed to how you ended up getting this diagnosis.

Bipolar disorder, like many disorders, is heavily based on genetics. It is likely that someone in your family has this diagnosis or demonstrates behaviors that are indicative of this diagnosis. There is nothing you did to give yourself this disorder; however, there is much you can do to manage this disorder.

Knowing about this disorder increases successful treatment outcomes. There are also various types of bipolar disorder with varying degrees of severity.

Types of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar I Disorder
Many people who are diagnosed with Bipolar I Disorder describe feelings of depression most of the time. Symptoms of clinical depression include feelings of hopelessness, lack of motivation, over or under sleeping and eating, crying spells, fatigue, irritability, inability to concentrate and negative thoughts about oneself which can include a desire to harm oneself.

What differentiates depression from bipolar is that persons diagnosed with bipolar have periods of time, lasting from days to months, where there is an observable change in behavior and thoughts. These unexpected changes in mood and energy level are referred to as a manic episode. For some people this change in behavior feels like complete euphoria; you feel like you can accomplish anything and you have endless energy. For others this manic state is less pleasurable and simply includes racing thoughts, inability to sit still, severe irritability, impulsive behaviors and in more severe cases psychotic episodes.

To be diagnosed with Bipolar I Disorder only requires the experience of a single manic episode. Depression is not a prerequisite for this diagnosis, but is more often than not prevalent.

Bipolar II Disorder
Bipolar II Disorder involves shifts in mood from depression to hypomania. Hypomania is a term to describe manic episodes that last for four or less days. If symptoms persist longer than this it is considered a full manic episode and meets criteria for bipolar I.
Hypomania is characterized by a distinct period of persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood, lasting throughout at least 4 days, that is clearly different from the person's usual mood. Mania, on the other hand, includes symptoms of psychotic or impaired thinking, grandiosity, poor judgment and impaired day to day functioning

Rapid Cycling Bipolar
A term used to describe the rate at which mood swings occur is rapid cycling, which involves more frequent ups and downs; a significant change in mood occurring over a month, week or even in a day. It is not uncommon for people to have mood swings based on something good or bad happening throughout the day. Persons diagnosed with bipolar disorder, however, have extreme mood changes that meet clinical criteria for depression and mania. These individuals also have trouble finding a “moderate mood,” in other words, feeling neither depressed nor overly excited/happy for an extended period of time.

Cyclothymic Disorder
Cyclothymic disorder describes more moderate mood swings from hypomania to a more mild form of depression. Persons diagnosed with cyclothymic disorder usually notice more frequent mood swings than those diagnosed with bipolar I and II. With this disorder, there is a higher level of functioning (less impairment).

Treatment Options
The reason it is important to identify if someone has had even one single manic episode is most significant in finding an effective medication. An anti-depressant may be appropriate for a diagnosis of depression, but if someone has had a manic episode in the past, an anti-depressant may actually trigger a manic episode. In these cases, a mood-stabilizer tends to be a more effective option.

There are many different types of mood stabilizers available and, unfortunately, there is no way to know which medication will work most effectively for an individual. Therefore, it is important that you see a psychiatrist who will work with you to determine the effectiveness of the medication. Also, it is important to have a dialogue with a counselor about progress or possible need to change medication.
Psychotherapy or counseling for Bipolar Disorder is very similar to the treatment of depression. When I work with individuals who are experiencing depression, I try to understand how this profound sadness is affecting their lives. I connect with each client so that I can better understand their specific concerns. In addition, I help clients identify triggers for their depression or manic episodes so that they can feel more in control of their lives and no longer a victim of their emotions. I utilize cognitive behavioral techniques (CBT) to help manage the negative, anxious, and fearful thoughts that are common with Bipolar Disorder. CBT is an ideal therapy approach to help with negative thinking, feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness. I instill a hope that, even with this disorder, life can be manageable and happiness and success can be obtained.

Catherine Ness, MA, LCPC
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor
(847) 749-0514 ext.15

Going National!

I am happy to announce that PESI has hired me to give my training Emotional Manipulators and Codependents: Understanding the Attraction.  These three day "training tours" will occur in February and March of 2012.  The first tour will be in the Philadelphia PA area and second in the Seattle WA area. 

The description of the training is as follows:
Emotional Manipulators and Codependents are perpetually and inevitably drawn to each other.  The attraction dynamic is so strong that both partners pursue each other despite therapeutic interventions, multiple failed relationships and painful consequences.  This seminar investigates the relationship dynamic that irresistibly draws emotional manipulators (Borderline, Narcissistic and Antisocial Personality Disorders) and Codependents together. 

Using a unique, fresh and innovative approach, Mr. Rosenberg will explain the fundamentals of this attraction dynamic.  He will describe the nature of these binding relationships, which are often immune to personal or professional assistance.  He will introduce his “Continuum of Self” model, which ties together the complex web of underlying psychological forces that inescapably draws the Emotional Manipulators and Codependent into enduring and mutually inescapable relationship.  The training will explore why these two personality types exist in an intense, fluid and self-correcting system that creates an enduring magnetic attraction.

This program familiarizes mental health care professionals with the destructive nature of this relationship type.  Participants will learn what drives Emotional Manipulators and Codependents’ relationships.  Most importantly, professionals will learn how to help the Codependent victims recognize their own propensity to be attracted to Emotional Manipulators while teaching them how to help minimize their victimization.  With an understanding of this “magnetic" relationship force, psychotherapeutic efforts can be more focused and effective.  At the end of the day, attendees will leave with a deeper understanding of the Emotional Manipulation, Codependency and the relationship dynamic between the two, as well as with methods to assist Codependents in disengaging from Emotional Manipulators.
Registration Details are forthcoming

Friday, September 9, 2011

Chicago Area Networking Event
October 14, 2011

Most mental health practitioners understand that networking and marketing is vital to the development and maintenance of a clinical practice. There are so many of us who are unintentionally disconnected from the greater mental health community. The demands of our personal lives, families and jobs can keep us far away from each other.

Think about it: how many times has someone mentioned another therapist's name and you had no clue who they were? CCC aims to change that for many Chicago and Chicago Suburban psychotherapists.

Our livelihoods rest on our ability to bring in new clients, receive referrals and develop strategies to create revenue-generating services. Because the Chicago metro area lacks a networking group for psychotherapists, Clinical Care Consultants is initiating such a program.

The event/meeting will occur every 2 months. The 2 hour meeting will be the perfect place for Chicago and Chicago Suburban area therapists to meet, get to know each other and network. A continental breakfast will be served. The typical meeting will consist of greeting and socializing, introductions, scheduled presentations from members, trainings about marketing and networking and more networking. Guest speakers will be invited.

The events will be led by Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, Clinical Care Consultants' owner and psychotherapist, and the CCC therapists: Dick Levon, ATR, LCSW; and Catherine Ness, M.A., LCPC.

The July 29th Clinical Care Consultants' Networking Event was a resounding success. A total of 23 practitioners participated. There was a great deal of positive energy and enthusiasm for this event. The feedback from the participants was positive across the board. To further the networking mandate of the group, we are collecting contact and referral information of participants. Barbara Wahler has volunteered to work on this project. Each participant will have access to the information of the group he/she attended.

The next networking event is scheduled for October 15, 2011 at Indian Trails Public Library in Wheeling IL. It will take place at 10am and last two hours. The library is located at 355 Schoenbeck Rd, Wheeling, IL 60090. The library's phone number is (847) 459-4100. There will be a $10 fee. Please RSVP by calling Nancy Cole a call at (847) 749-0514 ext 10 or email her at Ncoleccc@gmail.com Serving Chicago's North & NW Suburbs Arlington Heights, Barrington, Buffalo Grove, Inverness, Kildeer, Lincolnshire, Long Grove, Mt. Prospect, Palatine, Prospect Heights & Wheeling

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Postpartum Depression: You’re Still a Great Mom!

Postpartum Depression: You’re Still a Great Mom!
By: Catherine Ness, MA, LCPC
Clinical Care Consultants

What is Postpartum Depression?

The first few weeks following a delivery tends to be an emotional rollercoaster for almost all women: You are adjusting physically, emotionally and psychologically to adding a new member to your family. Whether this is your first child or your seventh child, you are likely to experience fatigue, aches and pains, mood swings and periods of frustration. These symptoms are very normal during the first few weeks following birth. However, when you are constantly feeling overwhelmed, depressed and not able to see a light at the end of the tunnel several months following your child’s birth, you may be experiencing postpartum depression.

Major depression symptoms include: feelings of sadness, excessive tearfulness, feelings of hopelessness, trouble sleeping or oversleeping, weight loss or weight gain, irritability, increased use of substances (drugs, alcohol), loss of pleasure in activities that one use to enjoy, difficulty concentrating and thoughts about harming oneself.

Symptoms of postpartum depression can vary from mother to mother. These symptoms can range from feeling sad and experiencing tearfulness on a daily basis, to feeling resentment towards your child and having fleeting thoughts of harming your child. It is important to differentiate between major depression and postpartum depression. If you were experiencing significant depressive symptoms prior to pregnancy, the birth of your child, significant hormonal changes and the stressors of being a mother may be adding to a pre-existing depressive disorder.

Why Do I Feel this Way?
There are numerous reasons why women experience postpartum depression. If your child has colic and you have not had a good night sleep for the last 4 months, common sense dictates that you are physically exhausted which significantly affects your mood. Lack of a sufficient support system can also pay a large part in developing depression because you are not able to take time for yourself. For first time mothers who had specific expectations about a smiling, cooing infant who sleeps through the night and find that they have an infant who seems to never sleep and impossible to console, can lead to feelings of inadequacy and frustration. Financial stressors, guilt over returning to work or feeling of a loss of personal identity, guilt over not wanting to breastfeed or being unable to breastfeed and marital stress can also play a part in developing these emotions. And as previously mentioned, if you had been dealing with depressive symptoms prior to pregnancy, postpartum issues may exacerbate these underlying issues.

What Can I Do?
The good news about postpartum depression is that the prognosis for improving your mood is high once treatment is sought. Individual therapy can be an invaluable tool in determining your specific trigger for these trouble thoughts and feelings and formulating a plan to improve your mood, decrease stress levels and learn how to enjoy motherhood. As a new mother myself, I understand how coordinating care of your child, working and making time for yourself can seem like a daunting challenge. I also understand each mother faces her own specific challenges and each situation is unique to mother and child. Therefore, I utilize emotion-focused therapy, empathizing with each mother’s personal struggles and first focusing on addressing distressing emotions and then challenging negative thoughts. Treatment also includes identifying personal triggers for depressive symptoms and attacking these triggers one-by-one. Additionally, I assist you in building self-confidence and improving self-esteem so that you feel prepared to handle the challenges that lay ahead.

Group therapy is also beneficial because you are able to meet other women who are experiencing similar difficulties, letting you know that you are not alone in what you are experiencing. It is also important that you let your OBGYN or even your child’s pediatrician know that you are struggling. If you do have people who you can rely on, a spouse, partner, family or friends, do not be afraid to reach out to these people for support even if it means just having someone watch your child while you go to a movie or if you want to go shopping solo.

Whatever your course of action, make sure that you reach out to someone. Part of being a great mother is recognizing when you need help. Experiencing these feelings have nothing to do with your ability to be a great mother, but they can get in the way of enjoying motherhood.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Is Tiger Woods or Anthony Weiner A Sex Addict?

Is Tiger Woods or Anthony Weiner A Sex Addict?

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC

The following Associate Press article about Congressman Weiner illustrates yet another public figure who is claiming be is a sex addict. Whether Anthony Weiner or Tiger Woods are indeed a sex addict, the reality is that it is a serious and pervasive problem.

Just because these two celebrities claim to be sex addicts doesn't actually mean they indeed are suffering from the debilitating disorder. Without a full assessment/evaluation, it is impossible to confirm whether they suffer from this disorder. I provide comprehensive sexual addiction, cybersex addiction, and/or Internet Addiction evaluations / assessments. Additionally, I provide the full range of outpatient sexual, Internet, and/or cybersex addiction therapy /treatment services.

Through the evaluation process, I seek to uncover patterns and characteristics that are unique to sex, cybersex, or internet addicts. The goal of an evaluation for someone like Anthony Weiner or Tiger Woods would be to determine if they are seeking sympathy and forgiveness by feigning a sexual addiction, cybersex addiction, or Internet addiction, or if they actually suffer from a debilitating sexual, Cybersex, and/or Internet addiction.

In my experience, when a person gets "caught" in an inappropriate sexual situation (behavior), they seek therapy or treatment to minimize the damage of their actions. When the "smoke has cleared" these individuals drop out of therapy or treatment. This behavior pattern means either that they are an addict and they are not willing, able, or ready to abstain from their behavior. It may
also mean that they are morally corrupt and have little to no regard for their partner, family, fans, and/or job. The fact that these individuals falsely claim to be sex addicts is really exploitative, manipulative, and dishonest. Therefore, the diagnosis moves more in the direction of a sociopathic process instead of an addiction disorder.

What follows in the Associated Press' Article about Anthony Weiner

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (AP) - So what's wrong with Anthony Weiner?

The New York congressman says he is seeking professional treatment "to focus on becoming a better husband and healthier person" following a sexting scandal that threatens to drive him from office.

Weiner hasn't specified what type of care he is getting, or where. If he has opted for an inpatient treatment facility, experts say there are just a handful of places where he could be, including a Mississippi clinic where Tiger Woods reportedly sought help for his litany of marital indiscretions. Or perhaps he is getting outpatient advice on sexual addiction.

Experts witnessing the demise of the rising politician's reputation, if not his career, are among those opining from afar. Some say Weiner's actions - making electronic sexual contact with strangers - mimic the characteristics of drug addicts, alcoholics or problem gamblers.

"He's exhibiting behavior of an addict. The secrecy, the risk taking, the denial," said Robert Weiss, founder of the Sexual Recovery Institute in Los Angeles.

"I am sure he understood on some level what he was doing," Weiss said. "When someone like that is not in a state of arousal, they can have a more intellectual, nuanced view of things. But that gets lost in the euphoria. And he begins not thinking clearly."

Weiss, a nationally recognized expert who has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey and Larry King programs, said Weiner probably can't explain his actions because they are on some level inexplicable even to him.

"I have a lot of empathy for him. He really doesn't understand why," Weiss said. "He can't figure out why he made these choices."

Kimberly Young, clinical director of the Center for Online Addiction in Bradford, Pa., said that in many ways, Weiner's online behavior was "very commonplace." Plenty of men and women secretly live out their fantasies on the Internet, sometimes in compulsive fashion.

The treatment for online compulsion, she said is usually twofold. Patients have to first modify their online behavior; that might mean not using the computer during certain hours, or at certain locations, or only communicating with certain types of people online. Next, they must examine what mental health issues might be causing the behavior.

"Is he depressed, is he anxious and stressed out?" she said. "First you need to deal with the behavior, then deal with the reasons why that happened ... It will probably take more than a 28-day rehab program. ... The treatment has to fit the person."

Timothy Lee, a licensed clinical social worker who runs New York Pathways, which treats sexual addiction on an outpatient basis, said Weiner's proclivity for sending photos of himself to strangers likely has escalated over time.

"He didn't wake up and just start sending pictures," Lee said. "I assume this is some type of voyeuristic exhibitionism type behavior. But it does show how delusional one must be to engage in this behavior. To think that the person on the other end is going to get off on it?"

Behavior like Weiner has confessed to, Lee said, usually starts with an innocent joke or flirtation, perhaps with an acquaintance or co-worker, but can quickly escalate.

"The greater the risk, the more excited they get. It's sort of like the high gamblers get," Lee said. "The greater the risk in getting caught, the bigger the high. I would look at his abusing his sexuality like someone else might abuse a drug," Lee said.

Weiner's weekend announcement that he is seeking treatment was short on specifics; he did not explicitly say that he has entered a rehab facility. A statement said only that he requested "a short leave of absence from the House of Representatives so that he can get evaluated and map out a course of treatment to make himself well."

Lee said if the congressman has gone for inpatient treatment, he would likely have to be in a program for 30 days or more, although some facilities offer help in less time. He said Pine Grove Behavioral Health and Addiction Services in Hattiesburg, Miss., where Woods reportedly went, has a 45-day program. The Meadows in Wickenburg, Ariz., has about a 30-day program, The Keystone in Chester, Pa., offers a 14-day program, other experts said.

Calls or e-mails to clinic officials seeking comment were not returned; most boast of offering confidentiality to patients.

As far as Weiner's prospects after treatment?

"People love a comeback story," said Lee. "From a PR perspective, going into rehab is the best thing he can do. Obviously he is also dealing with the humiliation he has brought upon his wife. It's just a sad case."

Dr. Jeffrey T. Parsons, a sex addiction expert and psychology professor at Hunter College in New York City, noted sexual addiction is officially recognized as a mental illness in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The next edition is due out in 2013 and there has been talk about including a passage on the topic, describing it clinically as a hypersexual disorder, he said.

Taking an alternate view from some his colleagues, Parsons questions whether Weiner indeed is a sex addict in need of treatment.

"I'm not so sure. He certainly has a media relations nightmare and saying he needs treatment sounds a lot better than the alternatives," Parsons said. "It's a lot harder to bash someone who says he is seeking treatment and help."

Sunday, June 26, 2011

DSM, Epistemology, and Addictions

The DSM's are developed by mental health and medical practitioners who are guided by “current” research and knowledge. It is a clinical tool that is as good as the times in which it was written, the culture it was written for and the current understanding (the science) of mental illness. It guides our conceptualization, perception and treatment of our clients’ mental/psychological conditions. Even with its limitations, the DSM diagnostic procedures are highly “reliable” and “valid.” As the most widely accepted diagnostic resource manual in our field, we are stuck with it – at least until another one is written.

Epistemology is the study or theory of the nature and grounds of knowledge, especially with respect to its limits and validity. Epistemologically speaking, I believe we have not yet evolved enough to embrace the psychopathological elements of sexual addiction (as well as other process/behavior addictions). As I have said before, we are a part of the evolution of knowledge. What we know to be “true” now, may actually be groundbreaking stuff, or as history may have it, a laughable matter. Lest we forget that the DSM-II famously listed homosexuality as a mental disorder - specifically, it was listed under Personality Disorders and Certain Other Non-Psychotic Mental Disorders, Sexual Deviations (302.0).

The evolution of the DSM doesn’t happen because new disorders are discovered, but instead, because our understanding of mental health continuously evolves. As far as the debate on sex addiction: just because the DSM-IV has not recognized it as a bona fide disorder doesn’t mean it doesn't exist. Our field is in its infancy. Twenty-five years from now, the DSM will look differently than it looks now. Practitioners will scoff at our ignorance - as we do with former DSMs.

As Mark Twain once said, "To a man with hammer, everything looks like a nail." The writers of the DSM utilize a hammer that is “manufactured” by physicians. Their hammer can only be used with special “nails” that work with practitioners who think/conceptualize according to the medical model. Sexual addictions, as we understand them now, don’t conform to the rules of these highly evolved “carpenters.” As a tool of their trade, their hammer doesn’t work well with sexual addition. Sexual addiction, therefore, still isn’t considered a psychopathology or mental health disorder worthy of being placed in our “big book.”

What I’m trying to say is let's not take the DSM-IV (and the future DSM-V) so damn seriously. It is just a guide - a bible of sorts - to be used as we choose to use it. Many of us choose to interpret it loosely. Insurance companies live and breathe it. Some of you may choose to use it precisely without questioning its authenticity or validity. It isn't the "law of the land." Just like with laws disallowing gay marriage: just because it is a "law," doesn't make it right.

Finally, the draft version of "Hyper-Sexual Disorder" looks good to me. It is a good start and I am hopeful they will more fully develop it. I have included it below.

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC
Clinical Care Consultants, P.C.

Updated October-14-2010

Hypersexual Disorder [14]

A. Over a period of at least six months, recurrent and intense sexual fantasies, sexual urges, and sexual behavior in association with four or more of the following five criteria:

(1) Excessive time is consumed by sexual fantasies and urges, and by planning for and engaging in sexual behavior. [15]

(2) Repetitively engaging in these sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior in response to dysphoric mood states (e.g., anxiety, depression, boredom, irritability). [16]

(3) Repetitively engaging in sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior in response to stressful life events. [17]

(4) Repetitive but unsuccessful efforts to control or significantly reduce these sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior. [18]

(5) Repetitively engaging in sexual behavior while disregarding the risk for physical or emotional harm to self or others. [19]

B. There is clinically significant personal distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning associated with the frequency and intensity of these sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior. [20]

C. These sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior are not due to direct physiological effects of exogenous substances (e.g., drugs of abuse or medications) or to Manic Episodes. [21]

D. The person is at least 18 years of age.

Specify if: [22]

Sexual Behavior With Consenting Adults
Telephone Sex
Strip Clubs

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Virtual Sex? It's Already Here

Virtual Sex? It’s Already Here
By Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S

Looking beyond the sad mess of Former Congressman Weiner’s recent sexting scandal, today’s as yet under-the-radar, but evolving sexnologies are about to make texing nudie pics to strangers as old-school as focusing a 35-mm camera.

Last fall while researching the effect of social network and smart-phone technologies on sexual addiction, I came across what appear to be some of the first products specifically designed and mass-produced for purchasers to engage in virtual sex. Called Teledildonics, these white plastic gadgets are described by the manufacturer as “hardware components that can, when hooked up the Wii platform, allow remote partners to simultaneously enjoy each others physical stimulations.”

Privately developed as adult accessories for the Wii, Teledildonics consist of a pair of unassuming generic looking rods, one with a ring shaped end designed to fit over the penis, the other more appearing more solidly structured with a wide smooth vibrator-like tip. Again per the manufacturer, “by connecting the two“Wii-motes” to pre-existing Wii hardware, wiggles and thrusts on Wii-mote A are detected and sent via Bluetooth to a nearby computer. From there this information is sent over the Internet and reproduced by Wii-mote B. which acts as a Wii-brator at the other end (virtually reproducing genital movements occurring either next door or half-way across the world).”

At first glance these somewhat plain and generic appearing sex toys, readily available over the Internet for about $300.00, hardly appear to represent the leading edge of the next sexual revolution yet the implications of their development and sale are profound – as they intertwine real-time sex, the Internet and computer technology together in as yet unexplored ways, Teledildonics may represent one of the earliest attempts to mass market sex that is mutually experienced long-distance.

Whether in working in Dubai or visiting the family in Vancouver as long as you and a partner can hook-up to a compatible hardware program with fast-enough Internet service – you can share a rudimentary physical experience of mutual sex in real time. As long as demand and interest remains strong there seems little doubt that virtual sexual will inevitably become more and more sophisticated. Using a bit of imagination by picturing the near full or partial body suits yet to come, individually sized and shaped to fit both in and outside our genatalia, you’ll get the idea of what virtual sex is about to offer.

As with all evolving technologies, virtual sex has the potential for both positive and destructive experiences. The good will likely involve those married military and other long-distance working spouses, separated for long-periods of time, who long to feel the (virtual) caress and intimate strokes of distant loved ones. However as with all developing tech, challenges to relationship intimacy and fidelity will again show up, as they did with web based porn, web-cams, virtual chats and smartphone sex – and we will once more be faced with the question of what actions and behaviors define infidelity and relationship adultery – especially when the virtual sex partner of the future is thousands of miles away.

Robert Weiss is Founding Director of The Sexual Recovery Institute and Director of Sexual Disorders Services at The Ranch Treatment Center and Promises Treatment Centers. These centers serve individuals seeking sexual addiction treatment and porn addiction help.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Clinical Care Consultants Welcomes Its Newest Clinician: Catherine Ness

Catherine Ness, M.A., LCPC
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor
(847) 749-0514 ext.15

“No one understands what an individual is experiencing better than that individual.” With this in mind, Catherine utilizes client-centered and cognitive behavioral techniques in working with her clients. Catherine has an exceptional ability to connect and empathize with her client’s experiences and struggles, creating a collaborative relationship in which client and therapist journey together to find a resolution.

Catherine has dedicated herself to her clients and helping them better define where they are in life and where they would like to go in the future. Recognizing that each person is an individual and has personal strengths and struggles is an integral part of her therapeutic technique. Catherine believes that by focusing on known and perhaps “undiscovered” strengths, everyone has the ability to improve personal happiness and over-come life obstacles.

Catherine began her career working with adult survivors of childhood assault and incest. These individuals not only had to work through past traumas, but deal with the depression, anxiety and self-doubt that accompanied these early memories. Motivated by the strength and courage that she saw in these men and women, Catherine developed a therapeutic technique that allowed her clients to discover “unrecognized strengths” and build the self-esteem needed to be confident in life.

Catherine has also had extensive experience working with individuals struggling with substance abuse both as an inpatient and outpatient counselor. These experiences have led to a thorough understanding and development of effective therapeutic treatment of the physical, psychological and emotional consequences of substance abuse.

Catherine has had great success working with adolescents and adults who have struggled with anxiety, depression, OCD (obcessive compulsive disorder), relationship difficulties, grief and psychosis. Despite the particular difficulty one is experiencing, Catherine believes that everyone has the right and ability to find happiness in life.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Continuum of Self Training

A few days ago I presented my training, "The Continuum of Self: The Attraction Between Narcissists and Codependents. I was a bit nervous as this training was based on mostly original ideas. Unlike my other trainings, the content was borne out of my 22 years or experience working with Codependents, Addicts, and Narcissists. The 10 weeks it took to write the training was a labor of love. I am thankful and indebted to my wife who gave me all of the time I needed to be obsessive and compulsive about writing and preparing for my AATP presentation of this training. The "seed" for the training was planted when I wrote the short essay on Codependency: Codependency: Don't Dance!

I have a few offers to provide this training and my other training on Internet and Romance Addictions in the near future. I will keep you posted.
Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC

Friday, April 15, 2011

An Invention of a Word

So far no one I have asked has heard of the shortened version of "It is not OK."

Ready...its "nok" or "nokay"

Let's see if it catches on...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Latest Trainings

Here's the heads up on some of my upcoming trainings. This Wednesday, on March 30th, I will be presenting "Caught in the Web: Cybersex, Romance, and Fantasy Addictions. The training will be a part of IADAPCA's Spring Conference in Itasca IL. For more information: http://www.iaodapca.org/pdfs/2011_springBroch.pdf

On May May 6, 2011, at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, IL, I will be presenting two trainings through AATP. "The Continuum of Self: Understanding the Relationship Between Narcissists and Codependents" is a new training resulting from my work with codependents, narcissists, and addicts. AATP's website: http://www.aatpofillinois.com/Seminar_Schedule_Springfield_IL.html

This workshop explores codependency from a new and unique perspective. Codependents and their addicted and/or narcissistic partners are best understood within the context of a dynamic, fluid and self-correcting system in which each partner's opposing personality attributes (codependency or narcissism) interact in a manner that binds their dysfunctional relationship. Mr. Rosenberg will show how the codependent and the addict/narcissist are drawn to each other and why it is difficult for the codependent to escape this painful, enduring and self-perpetuating relationship pattern. This viewpoint ties together the complex web of underlying psychological forces of this common relationship pattern. With an understanding of the "Continuum of Self" model, clinicians will better understand the unique struggles of their codependent clientele and learn helpful and effective counseling strategies to aid them in addressing this challenging problem.

The emphasis of this seminar is on how the explosion of computer and internet technology has stretched our awareness of the new ethical challenges therapists have to face. Texting, emailing, voice mail messages, social networking sites, and on-line counseling all raise new ethical concerns. Also presented: professional ethics for the therapists that focus on the clinical relationship between counselor and client. Issues of counselor self-awareness and the health of the therapist will be addressed as well the issue of the range of one's competencies.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

LGBTQ Bullying / Michael Anthony's Documentary

Michael Anthony's generously invited me to participate in his film/documentary about LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning) teen bullying. I was interviewed because of my experience providing counseling to these kids. The film is bravely addressing how dangerous bullying has become for the LGBTQ community. Michael Anthony production/movie/documentary will pave new ground and create more consciousness about this under-reported and stigmatized topic.

To prepare for my part in the film, I interviewed 3 high school GSA (Gay Straight Alliances) coordinators, went to a Stevenson High Schools GSA meeting, interviewed two LGBTQ teenagers, interviewed an expert LQBTQ therapist. The help I received from Buffalo Grove, Stevenson, and Hersey high schools was invaluable to my research efforts. I am most grateful to the teenagers who opened up their lives to me to share their stories. I have never been so inspired!

Now the wait for the finished product!

Here is a video from Michael explaining the story behind the idea of the movie

Monday, March 14, 2011

Introduction to Victories of the Heart

I am passing on information about an important organization to which I belong. The Break Through Weekend offered by Victories of the Heart is an empowering and life changing event. It is through my participation with Victories, I have become the man that I am now. I cannot speak more highly of this organization

You are cordially invited to a presentation on programs offered by Victories of the Heart—Celebrating 25 Years of heart centered experiential based programming.
Victories of the Heart is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping men of all backgrounds build stronger relationships with others, greater acceptance of themselves, and increased satisfaction in their lives.

We offer weekend and group experiences that assist men in making positive life transitions through education that emphasizes emotional awareness and healthy communication.

Our programs are built on a solid foundation of accepted theory and practice, reflecting a commitment to the principles of responsibility, integrity, safety, and support.

Our goal is to provide men with an authentic and enriching personal experience as a catalyst for significant personal growth.

Our programs can enhance a man’s ability to access and express his inner life, and lend effective support and complement the services a man receives from his mental health professional. In fact, the great majority of our participants come to us through referrals from professionals in individual, couples, and family practice.

Please tell your colleagues about this opportunity and any adult male clients, family or friends who you may feel will benefit

Introduction toVictories of the Heart Weekend Retreats for Men
Friday, April 15th
10:00 – 11:30 am
311 N. Second St., Ste 303 St. Charles, IL 60174

Hosted & Introduction by
Robert Jackman, LCPC,
St. Charles-based therapist

Paul Kachoris, M.D., and BreakThrough Weekend Leader
Kevin FitzPatrick, MSW, LCSW, and BreakThrough Weekend Leader
Followed by Q & A with attendees

For further information, contact Peggy Cicero
Videos & More Info About Victories

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sexual Addictions Group Therapy Resource

Even though there are many different sex addiction behavior types, all sex addicts share similarities. Typically, sex addicts are disconnected to their feelings, confuse or substitute sexual acting out with emotional intimacy and have poorly developed personal relationships. Typically men in our society are not connected to a social group in which they can explore their feelings. The problem is compounded for male sex addicts. Therefore, group therapy for male sex addicts is the most sensible and effective treatment approach.

Typically, recovery from sex addiction begins with a thorough assessment. From the assessment, treatment options are recommended. The most restrictive treatment approach is residential treatment. Less restrictive approaches include intensive outpatient treatment. For sex addicts who are not in need of intensive and structured treatment, individual, family, relationship and/or group therapy are often recommended.

Group therapy is known as an effective treatment modality for sex addiction. Also, group therapy may be provided in conjunction with other therapies. For many sex addicts, group therapy can serve as the primary outpatient therapy modality. Group therapy is not the same as a 12-Step group.

The 12-Step group, although an important and at times vital component of sexual addiction recovery, approaches sex addiction differently than individual and group therapy. For more information about 12-Step groups click this link: http://www.help4sexualaddiction.com/12-step-groups.html

Research has shown that group therapy for sex addicts (and other type of addictions) is among the most powerful and effective therapy / counseling approach for this debilitating addiction.

CCC is offering group therapy for men who are struggling with Sexual Addiction or Sexual Compulsivity. This includes cybersex/internet porn addiction and romance addiction. Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, and other CCC qualified staff will be facilitating this important treatment option for male sex addicts. This therapy provides a safe and effective place for men to address the multi-layered aspects of their addiction: relationships, family, work, friends, self-esteem, finances, etc.

Ross is considered an expert in the field of sex addictions. He provides comprehensive treatment and assessment services for sex and internet addicts and their partners as well as professional consultation and training services.

Because of the demand for this group, there will be two separate sessions scheduled. The first group will be on Wednesday nights at 5:30. The second group will be scheduled in mid-April. The group sessions will last 90 minutes and cost $60. Many clients have a group therapy benefit with their mental health insurance coverage. Each group will meet once a week.

All referred clients must agree to an initial interview/diagnostic session during which Ross will evaluate the appropriateness of group therapy, as well as the level of sexual addiction. Group therapy is not recommended for sex addicts who are in the beginning stages of recovery and is not appropriate for sex offenders who are mistakenly diagnosed as sex addicts.

If you have any questions about the group, please call Clinical Care Consultants for more information. http://rossr61.snappages.com/mens-group.htm