Sex & Process Addiction

  • Is your sexual behavior out of control?

  • Is your relationship with sex, money and/or food dysfunctional?

  • Do you or have you had negative consequences due to an unhealthy relationship with sex, money and/or food?

  • Are you unable to stop despite persistent efforts?

  • Do you harbor feelings of shame and isolation, experience and a lack of intimacy in your life and spend more time focusing on behaviors that, while immediately gratifying, have ultimately brought you pain and suffering?

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Addiction as an Attachment Disorder

Healthy relationships are fundamental to our soul, not only with people but with objects as well. That is, sex, food, money, and time amongst other things. It is within these attachments that humans have the most tests.

Attachment theory holds that addictions occur when we cannot hold in our space the other—that is, our anxiety and fear becomes too great, and we cannot soothe ourselves alone or through a holding place that the relationship can provide when it is not right there. Thus, we need to continuously seek, and it is through this seeking process that gratification is received, albeit temporarily. Addictions are attachment disorders.

Addictions develop to shield those from intolerably painful experiences. Addiction is a strong word. It is also a serious disease, as, although it arises out of obsession/compulsion, as do other maladies, it takes on a life of its own, fueled by pathological behavioral, emotional and physiological/chemical patterns. There are many theories that serve to explain the etiology of an addiction; they all serve to add something.

Due to our massive lifestyle shift in recent decades, the potential to develop addictions is tremendous. With easy access to unlimited information and immediate gratification, we have become a culture of entitlement, not just in the sense of being present but in the way of “I deserve to be happy so I should have what I want.”

Process addictions or behavioral addictions refer to the obsessive and compulsive nature of the relationship between us and those things with which we need to establish a healthy connection. Unlike substances, which we can inextricably remove from our world, we need to negotiate a relationship with sex, food and money. It becomes an addiction when, despite negative consequences, we can’t stop the process. With process or behavioral addictions, there is often an overlap-there is a chemical addiction and/or psychiatric diagnosis.

Behavioral addictions far outweigh the chemical addictions in our culture today. Each carries with it its own prevalence and statistics, a set of behaviors and dynamics. However, the consequences remain shared—the loss of a partner, family disintegration, health and financial ruin, incarceration and shame in the face of our loved ones— destruction to our emotional, sexual and spiritual health.

What Would You Give for a Life Free of Addiction?

Dr. Winter understands the deep pain and shame that accompany the betrayal and hurt to loved ones when someone turns away and turns towards another relationship, albeit with another individual, substance or object. She also recognizes the stress, shame, confusion and anger to partners. She understands that 50% of those with an addiction have more than one and that all aspects need to be addressed.

Reaching for help is by far the single most threat to our ego yet the utmost critical. In the case of sex, porn, love and other compulsive addictions, this risk goes up exponentially; denial, shame and fear get in the way. Recovery from sex and love addiction is not easy and is a process that takes time and involves several steps. Further, most addicts relapse at one point or another despite persistent efforts to stop. The journey to healing can start now.

Trained by and in the task model of Dr. Patrick Carnes, a psychologist credited with the development of the term, extensive research and treatment for sex addiction, Dr. Winter integrates her training and unique background in psychology and sexology to provide treatment protocols for individuals with sex addiction, financial disorders and eating disorders. Dr. Winter is the only psychologist in Florida with her credentials, those that embrace experience and training in sexology, sex addiction (CSAT), trauma treatment (EMDR) and couples or relationship counseling (emotionally focused therapy and discernment counseling) as well as a 30-year specialization and prior research in eating disorders. She is trained as well in the Feeling-State Addiction Protocol (FSAP), which uses EMDR, to help in the healing of both substance and behavioral addictions.

She offers treatment for all process addictions including but not limited to:

What Stands in the Way of Your Recovery?

“I’m too ashamed to talk about what I’ve done.” . . . Dr. Winter holds and lives by the belief that what we did at the time was what we needed to do. We can’t alter the past but we can change the present. In a confidential, judgment free setting, she can help you unpack the past, make sense of your life and help you gain the skill set and strategies you need to move forward and live your best life today.

“My partner is a sex addict and does not want help.” . . . Viktor Frankl is credited with the notion that we can only change ourselves and our reactions to others but we cannot change others especially if they don’t want to be different. Encouragement, support and the realignment of roles is important but can only be effective with a willing partner. Sometimes we must first change for our partner to see the difference.

“I’ve heard that sex addiction treatment can be costly and time consuming.” . . . There is no time like the present and no better investment than in yourself. Treatment may involve several modalities, including but not limited to individual psychotherapy, couples’ therapy, group therapy (focused and/or process), recovery group therapy, and inpatient and/or intensive outpatient treatment. The model for sex addiction takes three-five years; the others may be more or less. Consider the risk/reward  there is no downside to bettering oneself and embarking on a journey of healing.

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Shame Can Be Isolating—Don’t Struggle Alone

Reconstructing a healthy relationship with sex, your body, food and money can be difficult. I understand the pain of addiction and am available to resolve your trauma and guide you through your recovery. Take the first step and reach out via phone or email with any questions or for an initial appointment at my Boca Raton office.

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