People who come into my counseling, think again and again, pornography would only exist since the invention of the internet. In reality, pornography is ancient. Already in ancient Greece, there were clearly pornographic images on everyday objects such as vases or drinking vessels. Even then, people had to decide whether they wanted to delve into these pictures or not. This is why the problem is not new about Porn Addiction.

Pornography is about the isolated pursuit of intoxication, a sense of happiness. The downside is that pornography quickly turns into addiction, a claw that captures us. The dazzling promise of happiness becomes a compulsion. We are rapidly entangled in the mechanisms that lead to addiction.

In pornography, we pursue the “ultimate picture”and ultimately only return” hangover ” from the image to reality. The longing remains, and the Addiction is ruining us. Everyday life becomes even more grey and empty. The porn addiction becomes a “scary partner“, which we will not get rid of so quickly.

Men are more prone to pornography addiction, they react via the eyes. Women, on the other hand, flee into a fantasy world of “eternal-romantic love”. Both flee from reality in their own way. Pornography addiction or romantic wave – both are invitations to escape from reality.

The following article is practice-oriented for the persons whom want to be an aid to counselors and advice seekers; it’s about pornography addiction in men.

Prior To The Consultation

The important point is the attitude of the consultant. He encounters the seeker with respect, clear, confrontational, encouraging, resource-oriented.He is motivating, patient, is a role model. The consultant also knows his own sexuality, takes care of his own needs, deals well and appropriately with himself.

Therapeutic Consultation: Two Main Stages

Although every person seeking advice is an individual, it is important to provide a general orientation. Recovery from pornography addiction is carried out in two main stages: First, the withdrawal phase, then the processing of the underlying causes.

Addiction has a powerful own dynamics; often it completely overlays the original problem topics in the life of the concerned person. It is all the more important to actively tackle these deeper problems in the second phase. Only in this way can a recovery be permanent.

The Beginning of The Consulting

Cycle Of Gestalt Therapy Experience

Motivation

It is worth asking what happened to the counselor before the first contact and why you are seeking help.

In most cases, the victims have already gone through several exit attempts. They tried it on their own without any notable success. Others have told a friend about their problem and give this accountability, but need more support.

Most of them get in touch with us because they were caught doing the addiction. Wives, children, co-workers or bosses have caught you. Some of them felt shameful when they got caught up and vowed improvement. As a sign of their goodwill towards their wives or superiors, they call in the counseling center or write an email. In retrospect, most people had been aware of their addiction for several years.

For The Consultant

So most people don’t report on their own, they come because someone puts pressure on them. They adapt to this pressure. But adaptation-that’s their unhealthy day-to-day strategy that has been practiced for years.

The decisive factor in the consultation is that the person seeking advice must find from the external motivation to the self-motivation. This is crucial for the course of the consultation. The people must understand the harmfulness of the Addiction, and the importance of dealing with the underlying problems and want change. In other words: He must overcome his passivity.

For the Addict

They feel pressure and therefore come into the consultation. Good! But this is not enough for a sustainable change process. It may sound tough, but as long as you’re looking for the change process because another person wants it, you won’t make any lasting progress. Especially not if they have been addicted for several years. You must want it for yourself. You must be worth it to yourself!

What does self-motivation and self-responsibility look like? It’s simple: you report to the counseling team as soon as you become aware of the addiction. Take responsibility from the starting.

A questionnaire can help clarify if someone is addicted. Counselors, pastors, therapists can help you find out if they are addiction or not. Seek out a consultant who has experience in advising on Sex and pornographic addiction or let yourself be given such addresses.

You are not alone with your problem!

Initial Contact

Initial contacts look very different. Some counselors want to share all their experiences with pornography. Others are ashamed and use “ciphers” instead of clear words like pornography or addiction.

But there are always basic patterns:Hurry and pressure!

Caught and frightened by a marriage crisis or the threat of termination of marriage, some tend to drive the consultant to hurry. He then tries to pass on the pressure that the counselor feels.

At the beginning of my consulting work, I rushed to work and worked overtime, for example, so that a letter with the necessary documents could be sent to the post office the same evening.But then the affected person did not report for three months. I felt exhausted. Today I always ask: “how long have you been aware of your addiction?”As a rule, it is several years. Because the solution of the problem can’t come in one day.

Sometimes I consciously give an appointment only in a few weeks. If someone is really motivated, they won’t be discouraged by the waiting time. So I can dedicate my time to those who are looking for truly sustainable change.

Self-pity

Self-pity

An example: at the first interview, a counselor with reproach notices in his voice: “they seem so cool and distant. It’s as if you were trying to blame me for not coming earlier.”I:” what would you want from me?”He:” that they are more understanding.”I:” understanding for what? For your adultery or Porn use and the resulting fight with your wife? Honestly, I can understand your wife.”Confrontation with reality can help the person seeking advice to find out from his attitude of self-pity.

Eligibility

Some people are arrogant and inaccessible and attach great importance to knowing what qualifications the consultant has. The question is reasonable, but sometimes the person seeking advice is unconsciously about having a reason not to start a conversation. Often it is an expression of uncertainty and anxiety that the advice seeker plays over. If the consultant succeeds in building up an atmosphere of trust, this usually dissolves after the second conversation.

Victimization

Victim Support can look like this: “I am michael 32 years and I am addicted to sex sms I have already spent more than a thousand euros in a month because I fell on the shit”. That’s all I get tipped off by “michael”.

He does not express a concern. I feel like a dump. But I suspect that “michael” suffers from an addiction-related mental neglect and has associated significant interpersonal deficits. I reply to him in the sense of a paradoxical Intervention (a method that “interferes” with the inner System of the person seeking advice, thereby encouraging him to behave again).

I write: “Hello Michael! I’m so sorry for you. I’m so sorry that this sneaky sms-technique could lure you into the addiction so mean. And I am deeply shocked with you that you have become so speechless and no longer able to express a wish or a concern and can only complain of your suffering…“

In the Self-Help Group, one of the victims said: “I slipped into pornography.”Another participant aptly commented:” When I walk along a stream, I slip into it at most when I walk too close to the shore.“

For the consultant

It is part of the addictive structure that addicts repeatedly try to shift their pressure to the consultant. They convey that they are helpless and totally unable to act. They cleverly mobilize others so that they themselves can ultimately remain addicted. Understanding this is important.

I don’t give the counselor any “caress” for a victim attitude. This would only reinforce the attitude of helplessness and passivity, which has generally been practised for many years. As a consultant, be particularly attentive here.

For the addict

There is praise for openness and the active approach to problems. You’re never a victim of your own life. Any decision in the addiction has been made exclusively by you. Nobody bought the porn DVD for you. No one chooses for you in the pornographic pages of the internet. No one commits adultery for them.

Clarification

At the beginning of the consultation, an addiction inventory should be made. Addiction inventory means that the addict creates an accurate list of all pornography consumed, based on days, weeks and months (how much, what, in what time period). Not everyone who thinks he is addicted, and not everyone who thinks he is not addicted, is not. A 16-year-old man told me by telephone that he was addicted. On the question of the appearance, he answered: “I satisfy myself twice a month.“

In the questionnaire for the first interview, Let me explain in detail how often and since when someone is addicted. I have learned to question everything at the end of the day such as this question: “Do you still consume pornography in any other Form?“

I also ask about suicidal behaviour over the last 6 months, about depression and appropriate medication, about experienced abuse, impending termination or debt, criminal proceedings in connection with addiction and whether the person seeking advice is sexually attracted to young people under the age of 16.

For the consultant

Don’t  rashly talk about addiction. Clarify them thoroughly.

On the one hand, it is important to know the resources of the concerned person. At the same time, however, I must also be aware of possible threats to the person seeking advice. If, for example, there is a risk of dismissal, divorce or criminal proceedings, I have to include this in the consultation.

The threat of existence is then the currently more important problem. I ask whether the person seeking advice is attracted to child pornography. Some people are not aware that forms of voyeurism and exhibitionism are also punishable. I almost always ask about self-harming or self-injurious sexual practices (exhausts, masochistic or sadistic practices).

For the addict

So far, they have, consciously or unconsciously, embellished, humiliated, hidden, devalued, concealed and displaced. These are just some of the key ingredients of addiction. Now we are talking about an honest balance sheet. This is a first, important step towards recovery. Addiction makes loneliness and at the same time is often enough expression of loneliness.

The advantage of a comprehensive search inventory is that you can measure your progress. This is especially motivating for men.

Treatment goal and contract

Treatment goal and contract

The treatment goal should not be limited to the withdrawal phase (freedom from addiction). In principle, the deeper problems that have led to addiction must be addressed.

Not everyone who comes into the consultation has the clear goal of becoming addiction-free. Although the mind is deceiving, one wants to become addiction-free. However, the feelings that fearfully look at the loss of joyous boundlessness often sabotage this goal massively. A counselor says in the first interview: “I do everything for change.”Me: “I don’t believe you.”He: “Why?”I:” if they were ready to do anything, they would have longed since become free themselves.“ I ask him about his pornography addiction and the story of his adultery.

He believes that the reason for both is that he lacks praise and recognition from his wife. But he didn’t do anything to talk to his wife about it. Even in marriage counseling, he did not mention it. There he remained the passive, helpless victim. (People would talk mainly about their difficult childhood.) What would have really challenged him, namely to have a real conversation with his wife – he has so far denied this challenge.

I continue to ask: “What did marriage counseling bring about your pornography addiction?”He remains helpless-wordless:” nothing!”A new adultery follows. In conversation with me, he realizes connections, but is long (still) not ready to do everything for himself and his marriage! His wife comes to the interview. She complains: “He always promises things and then acts quite differently.”

In a case like this, a contract that the addict prepared together with the consultant can be very helpful. In this contract, the treatment goal as well as the concrete steps there are defined. A good guide for such contract work is the book of Johann Schneider “On the way to the goal. The contract process – a key concept“1.

For the consultant

The following questions to the advice seeker can help with setting up the contract:

  • What is your concern (feasible, realistic)?
  • What is your goal (necessarily positive)?
  • What Have you done or failed so far to achieve your goal?
  • How have you so far prevented yourself from reaching your goal?
  • Do you want to reach the goal or do you want it?
  • What do you want to change specifically?
  • How are you likely to sabotage the achievement of the goal?
  • Is there anything you may have successfully applied, albeit in a small number of approaches?
  • What are you willing to contribute to achieving the goal (reality check)?
  • What will you and others realize that you have achieved your goal? In addition to freedom of addiction, work on the causes should always be mentioned here. However, in the first Phase, the addict usually has no insight into the deeper topics.
  • Work on these topics (e.g.: practicing new relationships, identifying your own needs, learning to deal constructively with unpleasant feelings such as loneliness, stress, emptiness, anger, etc.) must be proposed by the consultant for the contract.

For the addict

Put yourself realistic goals and give yourself enough time. People have not become addicted in one day, so they will not recover in one day.

A contract makes it clear that you now make this negotiated contract to your concern and – as far as appropriate – even take over the responsibility for the course of advice or learn to take over. This also means: you actively provide the information the consultant needs for the recovery process. They do the homework regularly (e.g. keeping addiction diary). They come prepared on the time for every conversation. If you are unable to do this, you will be logged off.

You may change or modify the contract at any time, but be sure to contact your consultant beforehand. Do not forget: Only you can ultimately change your life.

First Phase: Withdrawal

The following topics are important at this stage.

Withdrawal

Determine The Resources 

Addicts in counseling tend to focus their lives on their Problem. In the group I lead therapeutically, at the beginning I let the participants do a sometimes confusing exercise for them. It has the headline “I am well!” The task is: “Write down what is going on in your life today, what is good, what is healthy.” With that, I put the focus on the resources of the concerned person. You can analyze, tackle and master problems. It is good to keep this in mind.

For the consultant

Never define an addict by his Problem. Look for the resources and strengths in his life. Let us tell you how he affects everyday problems. Emphasize his problem-solving abilities.

For the addict

Many things succeed in your life. Watch yourself in your ability to achieve goals, for example in the profession. This feature is also available to you in coping with your addiction. Maybe you drove the Addiction in feelings of inferiority or depression. Then it is especially important for them to look at what succeeds in their lives. Coping with oneself is not a form of humility, nor does it contribute to problem solving. Self-pity does not help. Use your energies constructively.

Passivity Approach

One of the key ingredients that keeps addiction alive is passivity. Even the original problem topic (or several problems) that led to addiction, the person seeking advice was helpless and passive. His passivity went so far that he preferred to create a new problem (pornography addiction) than to actively and constructively tackle the original. The inner dynamics of the concerned person is: He was looking for passive, and he is in the passive. This is important to understand.

Passivity must therefore be confronted in all forms. Those affected must learn a great deal of self-attention.

For the consultant

Passivity can be seen in the language (covered, tedious, spongy, bewitching, confusing, foolish or naive). It often appears in the speech melody (lame, monotonous, without power…) and in the posture (without tension, slumped in the chair, helpless looks).

Another Form of passivity is, when the person invents problems “”. Even then, he deviates from the necessary confrontation with his real Problem.

For the addict

Do not explain why you failed. You focus on what you can do differently next time.

Learning Self-Care

Addicts are not caring and loving about themselves. They often do not feel what they need and what they do well and how they can use themselves appropriately for their needs. Here it is important to learn.

Dispel The Unhealthy Shame

The shame of the addict is a compulsive, self-destructive shame. It has to do with low self-esteem, often the person is filled with shame. At the same time, addiction intensifies the shame. Such compulsive shame is almost always expressed in sentences like: “I am a very worse, perverted, hateful… Human.”Or: “I’m a total loser…“

For the consultant

Work out with his destructive sentence and resolve it by learning to replace it with a new, constructive and true sentence.

Lead İnventory

A continuously managed addiction inventory is an important strategy against addiction. The breeding ground for addiction is stealth. The honest inventory of addiction is an effective means against it.

For The Consultant

Maybe the addict does not delegate the responsibility for the rescue from the addiction to you, but to the technology. It doesn’t work.

For The Addict

In addition to the PC Filters, it may be important to provide the Computer, the TV in a well-visible location. Make times when you do not turn the TV on. With many mobile phone providers you can block corresponding access at the Provider. Ask the PC administrator in your company for good solutions. Stay active.

Make exercise to stop your thought so as to not distract you.

This is an important instrument. It works. Those seeking advice are often unaware that they have decided at some point in their lives to use erotic thoughts, for example to free themselves from stress or to comfort themselves or to transfer loneliness. Many have this perception: I have these erotic thoughts and can’t do anything about it.

How does mind stop working? I learn that I can stop the erotic fantasies and stop them spreading in my life. Some give themselves Feedback in the Form of a rubber band around a wrist. They pluck it when they become more erotic thoughts, that is for them the Stop Signal. Stopping means: I now decide to think about something else, something that gives me pleasure or distracts me.

The next step is distraction. Especially at the beginning of the recovery process, forms of distraction are needed, which can be implemented within two minutes. So everything has to be prepared. The one then goes jogging and the other is a book ready to distract him, another actively plans the next vacation. In the office you can get used to it, then get a tea or talk with a colleague five minutes in the canteen. All these are just examples. Every affected person must find his or her form of distraction. It is important that it can be implemented immediately, otherwise it will not work.

For The Consultant

Stopping the thought is a simple tool that should not be underestimated.

For The Addict

In the beginning it may be quite exhausting. But after some time you will notice that it works. Do not let go of this method.

Learning To Relax

Learning To Relax

The addict is under a subliminal continuous voltage. Experts therefore strongly recommend relaxation exercises as an integral part of an addiction treatment. I remember talking to an affected person. I asked him: “How do you relax in everyday life?”He:” don’t know, I can’t relax so well.”I:” can you relax at work, at hobbies or family?“ He deliberates, and comes to the conclusion that he can’t relax at all. He used to have hobbies, but they’re no longer interesting. The whole life has increasingly focused on addiction. Everything else is no longer exciting.

The conclusion: he can only relax over the addiction in the short term. At the same time, however, it is precisely the addiction that is the most important stress trigger in his life.

For The Consultant

Simple relaxation exercises like progressive muscle relaxation can be very effective. In addition, sports and various Hobbies can help.

For The Addict

You probably don’t feel the permanent tension behind the addiction. Nevertheless, let yourself in on relaxation exercises. However, they only have their effect with regular use. Initially invest 30 minutes a day. After a short time, you can shorten your Exercises to 3-5 very well-invested minutes per day.

Overcome The “All-Or-Nothing-Law” 

Relapse is part of everyday addiction. That is why the addiction diary is an important tool for detecting and highlighting small progress. When I started working with sex addicts, I was very surprised at this point. I had assumed that those affected were happy about every little progress. But most of the time, the opposite was the case. Although they made measurable, clear progress, they were frustrated. They were trapped “completely or not at all”. They did not want to see the small steps of change. They thought: if it doesn’t work out a hundred percent, then it’s nothing. The small steps did not count for them.

For The Consultant

Pay attention to such devaluations. Praise and encourage them.

For The Addict

A sustainable addiction, quitting is a process that can take years. Addiction is not a harmless thing. Even if the exit does not succeed immediately, every small advance is and remains a step forward.

Invest In The Relationships

Addiction has a lot to do with loneliness. Addicts are increasingly withdrawing from their relationships over time. Sometimes they cancel meetings to exercise their addiction. Loneliness intensifies addiction and addiction in turn intensifies loneliness: a vicious cycle.

The story of a man is particularly well remembered. He had been sexually abused as a child and had then (from seven years on) used to satisfy himself. In his family he felt as the” black sheep”, as isolated. It was phrases like “no one likes me”, “I’m superfluous”, “they wouldn’t miss me at all” They were the ones that determined his life.

The only “comforter” became for him the masturbation. This comfort was always available. He was able to replace unpleasant feelings with good feelings. Relatively quickly, the imagination was no longer enough. Now pornography provided the necessary kick. The addiction cycle began early in his life. Isolation and loneliness were the beginning and later the engine of his Addiction.

For The Consultant

Work with on his network and relationship behavior. Promote friendships and relaxed get-together.

For The Addict

Healthy relationships are very important. Alone, you can’t get out of addiction. The advantage of addiction groups is that friendships can arise. Some have started to play sports with each other. So you can discover real male friendships.

Deal With Aggression

About the Addiction, many Sufferers have learned to keep their anger at bay.

So who works with addicts will be confronted shortly after the withdrawal with the theme of anger and fury. Pornography addiction makes feelings indifferent. This is like a continuous pollination with painkiller or sleeping pills. There are no more sensations, no more grief, no more anger, no more enthusiasm. If one asks an affected person how he is, the answer is usually: good. Such “uniformity” can be replaced by Depression.

For The Addict

Discovering anger can be threatening for you at first. Be sure to talk about it.

Second Phase: Work On The Causes

Work On The Causes

Behind every Addiction is a non-sexual topic, or a (life) problem. After the withdrawal phase, it is necessary to elaborate this underlying theme and to provide it with a constructive, active solution. In the following I would like to mention a few frequently occurring topics:

Isolation And Loneliness

Pornography conveys a form of Pseudo-intimacy to the concerned person. He “console” over loneliness. This creates a fatal cycle: addiction promotes Isolation and Isolation favours addiction. It is not uncommon for men to withdraw from friendships to have more time for pornography.

For The Consultant

Working on the relationship network is central. Challenge for active relationship design. Do not let go of the Argument because of lack of time. The addict has always stolen enough time for addiction. Investing this time in constructive, life-enhancing actions can be hindered by internal barriers. Such barriers can be phrases such as: “Addiction is exciting, relationships are boring.” Work out the inner barriers with the addict and include them in the work.

For The Addict

This is about more than creating relationships. You have invested a lot of time, money and strength in addiction. Watch your inner message as you invest this time, money and power in constructive activities.

Perhaps you discover inner resistances, arguments such as: “I have no time for it. It won’t work. What does that have to do with my addiction, I just want to get rid of it?“ Perhaps you will discover Fears of close relationships, because they have made painful experiences. Be sure to address your inner barriers.

Fear Of Intimacy

It’s not that men run into pornography they do not get enough sex from their wives. I observe the opposite. Men who engage in pornography find that courting a woman is too difficult or too costly. Why all this “around” when I just want Sex? A relationship is too strenuous for these men. They have disconnected sex from their own person and from their counterparts.

Others are afraid of a woman’s wishes. They feel overwhelmed and fear failure. The thought of intimacy makes you, first of all, the fear of being rejected. And since this would be a deep entanglement for them, they do not even allow themselves to a relationship.

For sexually abused men, pornography seems to be the” ideal ” form of sex. You have absolute control over pornographic events. Pornography and masturbation are “safer” than real Sex with a woman, because they have to engage in an opposite. The downside is that their longing for true closeness remains unfulfilled.

For The Consultant

How does the concerned person instrumentalize and/or shape the relationship with his wife and his own sexuality? What theories does he follow when he acts sexually? For example: a man must have sex, he can’t abstain? The real issue that the concerned person has to face is: what relationship issue (in relation to my wife) that I would have to clarify, do I opt out?

For The Addict

Just because your wife has a sexual desire, you do not yet have the right to get Sex elsewhere. Never use this for an apology of your own addiction.

Stress

Many men say that they reduce stress through sex and pornography. The downside is: addict, i.e., compulsive Sex, which in turn triggers Stress.

For The Addict

Relationships or job stress need a longer-term and fundamental solution. Take it seriously, solve your questions.

For The Consultant

Often, a person seeking advice meets several topics. In pornography they want to get rid of Stress and boredom. The combination of loneliness and fear of intimacy comes up.

Women’s And Men’s Hatred

A female or male hatred lies in pornography itself. The women are depersonalized, devalued and reduced to Sex. They become “objects of use”. The prostitute, in turn, abuses men for their livelihood. It is quite obvious that women’s and men’s hatred in violent pornography.

Inner Longings

I ask again and again about the preferences for pornographic consumption. So one of the concerned people told me that he was almost exclusively attracted to pornography with older women. When I asked why, he said they’d admire him for his youthfulness. It turned out that his girlfriend only wanted to marry him if he could give her a child. The affected person said that he felt that he was just the sperm donor.

He himself as a Person does not count for the girlfriend, he feels devalued by it. So it was not surprising that he not only came to me with the Problem of an erection dysfunction (impotence), but in pornography always selected older women who admired him. In the pornography, he was able to project his ideas of an ideal relationship into it. But it was an eviction from the challenges of his life. In reality, he could not end his relationship with his girlfriend, nor could he express his wishes to her.

For The Consultant

Pornography has many facets. This can be important for advice. Pay attention to the non-sexual desires.

For The Addict

What does your pornographic consumption say about your non-sexual desires?

Sexual Abuse

Sexual Abuse

For those who have experienced sexual abuse, sex often becomes a (daily) remedy to stop feeling the emotional pain. One affected person told me that since his seventh year of age he has satisfied himself and that he has stunned every loneliness, sadness, even any unpleasant feeling. He had been unable to develop a different “solution strategy” for pain, grief, loneliness throughout his life.

The work with those who have started sexually addictive behavior only after puberty, or who are sexually addicted for a relatively short time, is different.

Another person from a very rigid, religious family had suicidal thoughts at about eight years. Then he discovered the” good feeling ” of Sex, soon he was addicted to it. Sex had become his survival strategy, a means to quickly feel good again when suicidal thoughts overtook him.

For The Consultant

Anyone who has experienced sexual abuse in childhood or adolescence and has got into addiction, needs a lot of patience. In this case, work must be carried out on sexual abuse (and other forms of abuse) at the same time in search of sexual abuse. Those who use Sex to not become suicidal need first a stabilization and a strategy against the suicidal thoughts before they can dare to withdraw.

But also note: Every addict tells you sometimes about a difficult life story to explain why he can’t get out of addiction.

For The Addict

Sincerity, being questionable, but also a great deal of patience and mercy with yourself is needed. Tell yourself, “Yes, I’m a victim.” And one day, when the time comes, tell yourself, “But I do not have to be a victim.”

Other Topics

Again and again I am asked if a wife should know everything about her husband’s porn addiction. The wife should be neither “confessor” nor “chaplain” of her husband. This can cause an unfortunate gradient: Man is a loser and woman is good. A woman should not come into a control function with her husband. I advise to inform the wife in general about the recovery process, e.g. every 14 days or monthly. Details are in the consultation.

Co-Dependence

For addiction to thrive, it needs an environment (parents, friends, spouses, colleagues) that participates in their own way – by tolerating, remaining silent, looking away.

Prevention

Children should not be able to surf the Internet in their own rooms for hours. You don’t have to look for pornography on the Internet because it jumps towards a (pop-ups).

 

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