Apr 12, 2015

Choosing a Therapist

"Do I need a Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist?"

I don't (don't hate me) believe a CSAT is necessary. Actually, in most cases a CSAT is more harmful, due to the CSAT certification teaching victim blaming and addict coddling. I think the trick to finding a great therapist is by researching and asking the therapist lots of questions about what they believe, NOT by solely going off of a CSAT certification training that some sexist guy made up. I mean, this is the came guy (Patrick Carnes) who believes parents are sexually attracted to their children, and that wives are just as addicted, diseased, and messed up as the addict abuser. Should we really trust anything he says or created? 😳

For a therapist, I would choose a Psychologist who is certified in EMDR and specializes in abuse, trauma, violence against women, sexism, etc., over a counselor (especially a CSAT) ANY day. I mean, there ARE many many great counselors who know a TON about abuse and trauma from their own life experiences and who intuitively "get it", but they are harder to find. No matter what, it's good to be aware that great therapists are rare, they are not the norm. 

What's the difference between a Counselor and a Psychologist?

Counselors are trained to target a particular symptom or problematic situation and offer suggestions and advice for dealing with it by learning specific techniques for coping with or avoiding problem areas.

Psychologists can do everything a counselor can do, but they are trained to be experts in human behaviour, thoughts, and emotion, and can do assessments and help diagnose. They focus more on gaining insight into chronic physical and emotional problems. The underlying principle is that a person's patterns of thinking and unconscious awareness affect the way that person interacts with the world. The goal is to uncover those patterns and become aware of their effect and then learn new, healthier ways to think and interact. (Aka, fix the CAUSE of addiction, anxiety, depression, fears etc.)

Think of it like this, let's say your sitting in a boat and there's a leak and water is gushing in. The water is getting everything wet, making the boat slowly sink and is causing all sorts of huge problems.

A counselor is trained to help you learn how to effectively get the water out of the boat so you don't sink. They give you great tools and tips and even give you a giant huge bucket to scoop water out with. With smaller issues and leaks, this may be just what a person needs to learn in order to get the water out of the boat long enough so they can figure out how to fix the leak themselves.

A Psychologist is not only trained to help you scoop water out, they are also trained in helping you learn about WHY the water is gushing in, what caused the leak, and how to fix a leak so you can effectively heal your boat.

Regardless of what therapist you choose, always ALWAYS ask them questions about what they believe :

Do they understand abuse? 
Do they understand trauma?
Do they believe pornography is always harmful? 
Do they ascribe to any victim blaming beliefs like codependency, trauma bonding, learned helplessness, etc (and if they do and are unaware they are victim blaming, are they willing to change their views?) 
Do they believe masturbation is harmful for a sex addict? 
What is their take on honesty and full disclosures with a polygraph? And will they support you in this? 
Will they support you in your religious or non religious views? (a therapist pushing either on a client goes against the Code of Ethics and is wrong)
Are they certified in EMDR? I hugely recommend a therapist who is licensed to do EMDR. It's a life safer for all things trauma related. EMDR basically gets all the fear and negative gunk out of a trauma memory.

And most of all, remember that all therapists are people too. They have their own opinions and beliefs and make mistakes too. Listen to your gut and don't ever blindly believe a therapist and go along with everything they say just because they say it. If something doesn't feel right, don't be afraid to question it and even disagree and tell the therapist how you feel about it. If a therapist gets defensive with your questions, then they are not a good fit. REMEMBER : Therapist's are not one size fits all, it's ok to shop around for the right fit. In the end you have the final say in everything, let your intuition be your guide 💗