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Mentally Practice Your Way Out of Craving

By: Mark Chamberlain, PhD

When I worked at a preschool for autistic children, we went through a peculiar routine every time one of them failed to follow directions.

“Kevin, it’s time to clean up.” Little Kevin was oblivious. “Kevin, please put your toy away.” He kept playing with the truck. “Kevin, you need to put your toy away.” No response.

Now it was my job to walk over and guide little Kevin’s body through the motions of cleaning up. “Kevin, it’s time to clean up.” Placing my hand over his, I’d guide his hand down and help him pick up the toy truck with it. I would them walk him over to the toy bin and help him drop the truck in. There you go Kevin. That’s the way we clean up.

With that, we would have been done–if I’d had my way.

But I wasn’t in charge. I was following a treatment program. So instead of getting on with the reading activity that was next on the...

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Sex as an Addiction Officially Recognized by American Society of Addiction Medicine

August 17, 2011

For years, the idea that sex could be addictive was scoffed at by medical professionals, therapists, and others. Many believed that it was simply an excuse for bad behavior and weak morals. However, anyone who has ever worked with individuals who struggle with sexually compulsive behaviors can testify that the pull and power of these behaviors over individuals who struggle looks a lot like addiction.

Now, we are one step closer to officially calling it an addiction.

The American Society for Addiction Medicine recently released an updated definition of addiction, which now includes sex and other process addictions (like gambling, shopping, etc). They recognize that people can get a “high” from these activities that impacts their brains, emotions, relationships, and lives in the same way drugs and alcohol do.

I especially like their “ABCs” of addiction that help clarify whether someone really has an addiction:

Addiction is characterized by:

  1. ...
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Dimensions of Self-Care

August 11, 2011

by: Amy Cluff, LCSW

“To succeed, you need to take that gut feeling in what you believe and act on it with all of your heart.”
– Christy Borgeld

Self-care is an essential piece of recovery for addicts and their partners. Make a commitment today to take good care of yourself.

A good place to start is to choose 1-2 activities for each area of your life: Emotional, Spiritual, Physical, Relational, and Personal Development. You can choose from the examples below or journal your own self care activities. Decide how often you want to participate in the activity. If this is new to you, it is okay to start slow, and then add in more self-care as you feel ready. It is very helpful to write down your commitments to self care and to track your activities. You will feel the confidence and satisfaction that comes from taking care of yourself.

o Participate in your meetings, therapy, support groups
o Journal
o Use positive affirmations each day

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Discussing Pornography with Your Future Son-in-Law

August 11, 2011

Discussing Pornography with Your Future Son-in-Law
By Geoff Steurer, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Director, LifeSTAR of St. George, UT

I clearly remember the lunch appointment with my then future father-in-law to ask for his daughter’s hand in marriage. I was a bundle of nerves, but I loved his daughter more than I was afraid to talk with him. I had no idea what questions he might have in store for me. As the lunch progressed, our small talk turned into serious talk as he asked me questions about my career aspirations, my thoughts on parenting, and if I was an Eagle Scout.

I had only met him one previous time when I ate dinner at their house. However, I felt his love and protection for his daughter and wanted to do everything I could to win his confidence and trust. Thankfully, he gave me his full blessing and asked me only one favor: “will you please stop by her mother’s house on your way home and show her the engagement ring?” I...

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Book Shows Path To Healing

July 25,2011

The Deseret News recently wrote an excellent article on the new book “Love You, Hate the Porn: Healing a Relationship Damaged by Virtual Infidelity” by Mark Chamberlain and Geoff Steurer. It’s got some great information on how the book provides a clear path to help couples impacted by pornography and sexual addiction.

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Should I ask my daughter's fiance if he looks at pornography?

June 21, 2011

I often speak with parents of young adults about their concerns with their children marrying someone who might have a pornography problem. Many of these parents, especially fathers, wonder if it’s their right to do some investigating to see if their child is dating someone who struggles with pornography. I can certainly understand their concern, as that one specific behavior will have a potentially devastating impact on their child and future grandchildren. There are two main questions to consider here. First, is it the right of the parent to ask a potential in-law if they are struggling with pornography? Second, if it is appropriate, how should they approach this conversation?

I believe that it’s the parent’s privilege to counsel with their adult children’s romantic partners before marriage. However, there is one important factor that will determine how much influence a parent will have in this arena. If the parent has a healthy and mutually...

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3 Reasons to Beware of Porn

April 13, 2011

3 Reasons To Beware Of Porn

by Mark Chamberlain, PhD

Today’s twenty-somethings have been exposed to more pornography, and research is showing that they’ve become more accepting of it.

I heard from a young woman the other day who didn’t get why I was anti-porn. “It’s a great way for my fiancé, to meet his needs when I’m not in the mood. I don’t want him to keep bugging me if I’m not into it that night. And he shouldn’t just have to ‘deal’ with frustration, either.”

What’s not to love about porn?

It may seem helpful enough now, but I’m convinced that couples like this will pay a price for their casual acceptance of porn.
I remember when a group named Science in the Public Interest made a stink about an unhealthy, formerly unpublicized, very tasty ingredient in movie theater popcorn: Coconut oil.

Problem is it will clog our arteries for the same reason we keep going back for...

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Porn Derails Deep Relationship Instincts

March 15, 2011

Porn Derails Deep Relationship Instincts

by Mark Chamberlain, PhD – Co-Author: “Love You, Hate the Porn
Clinical Director of ARCH (www.archcounseling.com)

Want to bond with another human being? Here are your instructions: read and reciprocate. Read a signal from them (rather than ignoring it), then reciprocate by sending a signal of your own (rather than doing your own thing, independently of what they just did). Read and reciprocate, It’s as simple as that.

Oh yeah, there is one more ingredient: repeat.

So, let’s put it all together, here goes: read, reciprocate, times ten thousand. Okay, that might take a while. But it will be worth it. Once you’ve put in the reps, you’ll have built a strong bond.

Not only did I not make these instructions up, I didn’t even need to tell them to you. We don’t learn to connect with our closest loved ones in this way, we do it instinctively. We mastered the skill in infancy and...

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Article on Sex Addiction in Boston Globe

Those facing sex addiction get help
Boston Globe – Boston, Mass.
Author: Bella English
Date:   Feb 16, 2010

Men and women crowd into a basement room, sharing sofas or pulling chairs around. Some pour soda and munch on cookies and chips. The meeting is called to order.

“My name is Jeff, and I’m a sex addict,” states a middle-aged man in a crisp blue shirt and khakis.

“Hi, Jeff!” comes the cheery group response.

So begins the weekly meeting of Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA) in a church west of Boston. Most of the 50 men and women here are professionals. There are a few students and retirees. They’re well-dressed, earnest, and polite. This could be a meeting to save the rain forest. But what they’re trying to save is themselves.

Tiger Woods’s admission of infidelity has cast a spotlight on treatment for sexual addiction. Though some believe the term is an excuse for men behaving badly, there is a growing...

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