Jun 7, 2022

Why The Carnes/CSAT Empire Is Victim Blaming

FYI: The CSAT training is FULL OF CODEPENDENCY/victim blaming. Stephanie Carnes runs the CSAT trainings (her father Patrick Carnes made up the CSAT label and lets her run it. The same Patrick Carnes that also said parents are sexually attracted to their children 🤮 See screenshot at the bottom) and she teaches therapists information about betrayal trauma out of her "Facing Heartbreak" workbook which has a ton of victim blaming. This means that therapists are being told they are learning betrayal trauma, when in fact they are learning a hybrid of victim blaming models and betrayal trauma, and possibly don't even know it.... after all, the Carnes are the "experts" in the sex addiction industry. (Examples of victim blaming models : Codependency, Trauma Bonding, Stockholm SyndromeReactive Abuse, Learned Helplessness, Prodependencytelling victims they are acting like a victim, in victim mode, or in victim mentality, etc).

Stephanie Carnes and the CSAT community still have a lot to learn about trauma & abuse. No good therapist would ever say such horrible blaming things below to a woman who has been raped, so why would they say it to a betrayed wife who's being abused? Are all CSATs uneducated? No. But most are, and it's important to remember that the CSAT label doesn't automatically mean a therapist is good. If someone found a good CSAT therapist then I promise it had nothing to do with their weekend CSAT training 💗

Here's some info about Stephanie Carnes & Facing Heartbreak, and also a few concerning things Patrick Carnes has said :

1. Stephanie Carnes said in a Helping Couples Heal podcast that only 1-2% of CSATS are using the victim blaming codependency model. But according to polls in multiple betrayal groups, MOST CSATS are STILL using victim blaming codependency models. Just because the Carnes empire tried to stop saying the word codependency AS often (they didn't completely stop using it), doesn't mean they stopped using the same treatment for codependency. 

Stephanie Carnes SAYS she's pro trauma model now, but she's clearly still heavily using the victim blaming models. 

2. In Stefanie Carnes workbook "Facing Heartbreak" (even the newly revised version, why didn't she take this crap out back when she revised it?), Stephanie has a list of "Secret cloak like behaviors" that wives do that are "crazy making reactive choices" which are part of the "toxic dance". Some of those behaviors are things like :


Searching files

Canceling magazine subscriptions

Searching the home

Searching his phone

Installing computer Spyware (fyi, this is also called Monitoring software. They are the same thing) 

Hiring a private detective

Throwing away porn stashes

Adopting a victim stance " - - (whaaaat? Victims of abuse ARE victims, wth? 🤦)

Etc... The list goes on. 

Heaven forbid us women ever try to find the truth for ourselves in order to keep our lives and homes SAFE. I guess shame on us for choosing to engage in such "toxic crazy making reactions". 🤦‍♀️

On the next page in Facing Heartbreak, it lists "Dagger like behaviors". Stephanie says "A dagger brings to mind the potential for pain and damage.... emotions that are not expressed appropriately in the relatinship can 'cut' the addict....Circle all the destructive dagger-like behaviors you have used when reacting to your partners sex addiction. "

Here's a few from this list:




Gaining Weight (... 😯😯) 


Telling children of partners addictions

Calling addict names 

Threats of telling church leaders 

Monitoring progress with anger


Demands for attention "


So wives, don't you dare gain weight while in trauma, that would be a "dagger like behavior" and would cut the poor addict abuser and hurt both of you. Also, don't blame him for something he really did do, that's bad. AND even though you're in such horrible pain and trauma and are so confused and gaslit you don't know up from down, DON'T EVEN THINK about having any negative emotions that could lead to yelling, profanity, or even telling your children, church leaders, or basically ANYONE, because that would be viewed as a threat by your addict husbands 😳😳😢

Again, you can always tell when advice/treatment is from the codependency or a victim blaming model by asking yourself this question: "Would they say the same thing if instead I was brutally raped by a stranger?". 💗

3. Patrick and Stefanie Carnes believe masturbation can be healthy for some sex addicts. Which is like saying an alcoholic can have a few healthy glasses of wine with dinner. Here's a Google doc with screenshots: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1WUtLnsfmtJtV2F-prT4_YOKSfO_dRaejlVJ0HudDpM0/edit?usp=drivesdk

4. Someone informed me recently that IITAPs pastoral PSAP course (it's like the CSAT course, but pastoral) was full of victim blaming as well. The CSAT therapist Marnie Ferree who was running the betrayal trauma portion of the PSAP course (which was only 1.5 hours out of a 64 hour course 🙄 You can become a betrayal Trauma expert in only 1.5 hours, yeah👍🙌🤣) told everyone in the class that the codependency/co-addict model is correct, but that the "trauma /abuse people" took over and changed the codependency /co-addict meaning (no they didn't, it hasn't changed 🙄), and thats why Stefanie Carnes changed some of the wording in her books but kept the treatment of codependency/co-addiction. She also stated that people like Dr Omar Minwalla went "too far". 

This completely validated what I've been saying for years: The people in the Carnes empire are NOT trauma or abuse/violence informed, and are NOT truly teaching about betrayal trauma . They are only saying they are in order to not be blacklisted by the growing number of educated women & therapists who are anti-victim blaming. Stefanie Carnes' whole coming out video in 2013 where she basically said "I no longer believe in codependency, I never felt it fit. It's trauma, not codependency" (paraphrasing) were just pretty words, because she was only talking about the WORD, not the belief behind codependency, and it's TREATMENT. And even then, she still chose to use the word codependency in her books🤦, my guess is so she didn't piss off the outdated pro codependency crowd. I believe her "trauma awakening" was all a stunt so the Carnes empire didn't lose business. She's still actively using the victim blaming codependency model.

Feels like widespread gaslighting, eh? 

What's also sad is even therapists taking their courses are convinced it's trauma informed because again, that's what they're told. You then try to convince the therapists that the information they learned about betrayal trauma at the CSAT certification is misinformed, and of course most of them don't listen to you since "they are the trained professionals after all, and learned from the best experts in the industry". 

It's a giant mess.

** FYI, when I say Carnes empire, I mean everything that Patrick & Stefanie Carnes built. Here's a few :

 - IITAP - The International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals

- SASH - Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health

- CSAT - Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (and ASAT, Associate)

- CMAT - Certified Multiple Addiction Therapist

- CPTT - Certified Partner and Trauma Therapist (and APTT, Associate) 

- PSAP - Pastoral Sex Addiction Professiona (like CSAT but pastoral) 

- AFAR - American Foundation for Addiction Research 

- GentlePath (intensive, books, publishing company, etc) 

- PineGrove Gratitude program

- The Meadows addiction treatment

5. Here's more harmful things the Carnes have said about abuse victims, like saying victims are "addicted to trauma". It's nauseating....

Trauma Bonding: 


More of a deep history of how "trauma bonding" was created. It was largely based on someone who turned out to be a fraud and a liar: 


Carnes saying parents are sexually attracted to children, & also where he talks about a father raping his daughters and refers it as "intensely active sexually". Not rape, abuse, molestion, etc or any of the accurate terms, but "intensely active sexually", as if it's consensual or just some ordinary sexual action 🤮:

My Facebook post about it :