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Self-Compassion: A Pathway Toward Healing Trauma

By | Counseling for Sex Addiction Frisco TX, Family Counseling Frisco TX, Family Counselor Frisco TX, Family Therapist Frisco TX, Marriage Counseling Frisco TX, Mental Health Counselor Frisco TX, Sex Addiction Counseling Frisco TX, Sex Counseling Frisco TX, Sexual Addiction Counseling Frisco TX | No Comments

 

blog article. self-compassion healing trauma
blog article. self-compassion healing traumaFor many people, the word trauma conjures up images of serious life experiences such as war, abuse, suicide and divorce. Many therapists call these types of threat to life and/or safety “Big T Trauma.”  This type of trauma is complex trauma, and is often associated with layers of traumatic events being repeatedly thrust upon a victim.  Some examples of complex trauma include: abuse throughout childhood, a domestic violence victim staying in an abusive relationship, or a spouse being betrayed repeatedly by a partner’s chronic infidelity.

Many neglect to consider “Small T Trauma” and the impact that these experiences have on one’s personal life.  For myself, during my high school years I had a crush on Stacey and got the courage to ask her to Homecoming.  She said yes and I was on top of the world.  Soon after homecoming, Stacey gave me the cold shoulder and dated many of my friends.  The pain of this was like the world on top of me!   Even 20 years later at a high school reunion, I felt the lingering pain of that event.  Some other examples of Small T Trauma include a parent not being there during a significant period in your life, drama that can happen during a holiday with family or a weekend with friends, chronic conflicts with a boss, or impaired functioning at school or work.

Here are some warning signs that you are experiencing Small T Trauma:

  • Intrusive memories or triggers from earlier traumatic events
  • Sudden mood swings with a tendency to be over-reactive
  • Flooding of emotions such as anxiety, fear, panic, anger
  • Being hypervigilent – obsessively focused on past injuries, being a detective, feeling uptight and tense

Here are some lesser known symptoms of trauma that many tend to overlook:

  • Feeling emotionally worn out or depressed as a result of too many days of fear/anxiety
  • Disassociation – or feeling outside yourself as if you are observing what is happening around you rather than being a part of your life
  • Codependency – a reaction to trauma where one seeks to care-take others in an effort to self-heal. This often leads to a neglect of your own self-care.
  • Aches and pains in the body. These can be unresolved trauma stored in the body.
  • Feeling disoriented, in a daze, a flight of ideas, and poor concentration.
  • Chronic avoidance or distancing oneself from people

Now that we have laid the groundwork for understanding Small T Trauma in your life, here are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to healing.

  • Don’t suffer in the symptoms above and think “they are not that bad” or “this is just the way I am.” Healing from these symptoms is possible
  • Healing takes time. Even if you have a symptom free season in your life, it is not a guarantee that something in life may reawaken old wounds.
  • Don’t over-function and expect that filling your life with business will prevent you from suffering. Unresolved trauma will surface in your life.

Here are some Self-Compassion guidelines for healing trauma

  • Self-compassion means slowing down, taking time for self-care and when you make a mistake you gently say, “I learned something important about myself.” I love Brene Brown’s daily affirmation: “At the end of the day whatever is done or left undone, I know I am still loveable.”
  • Meditation or Mindfulness—there are many free phone apps on the market such as Head Space or Breathe that offers a helpful guide to clear your mind and relax. The big benefit beyond relaxation is the practice of  tuning-in to oneself.  Trauma survivors learn self-attunement and grounding are vital.
  • Spirituality is about connection to self, others, God. Spiritual people tend to have a sense of purpose or meaning to what they do.  A common phrase in trauma recovery is “it is not the traumatic event that hurts us; it is the meaning we attach to the trauma.”  Spirituality teaches things like “surrender this to God” and offers insights that can create meaning to our suffering.
  • Break toxic loyalties: carefully consider relationships or projects that are leading you to be overcommitted and exhausted. Set boundaries and/or say no in order to preserve some time for self-care and a realistic pace in life.
  • Remember that F.E.A.R can be reframed to False Evidence Appearing Real or Forgetting Everything is All Right. As you recover from Trauma, you begin to allow things to happen and stop trying to control or manipulate things.
  • Remember that forgiveness is not for the offender it is for us.  Righteous anger is hard to overcome.  When we forgive, we allow more space in our hearts to love.
  • Develop an optimistic outlook. “The greatest discover of any generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude.” W. James
  • Slow down. Drive the speed limit; watch the sun set or rise;  play with a child; stare into a fire;  slow your thinking, walking and daily routine!
  • Develop a social support network. Find at least 3 friends that are safe, non-judgmental, and available.  Reach-out and share one another’s burdens.
  • Seek professional help. A good clinician has been in the pit with many suffering in trauma. He or she can walk along side you in your healing.

Remember that you are unique and that ALL your life experiences can work together for your good.  You have a special call and life purpose.  Unresolved trauma can distract and disorient you from your best self.  Practice self-compassion by taking the time to heal your wounds and so you may rise-up to your call in life. Come see us at Center for Marriage and Family Counseling and LifeSTAR Dallas, for help along your pathway toward healing trauma.

When Sex Becomes a Drug

By | Counseling for Sex Addiction Frisco TX, Sex Addiction Counseling Frisco TX, Sex Counseling Frisco TX, Sexual Addiction Counseling Frisco TX | No Comments

Blog article. Sex addiction picSex addiction Frisco, TXAlthough some would argue that sex addiction does not exist (take the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5 for example), many others argue that it does, and back their argument with strong neurobiological evidence. Research by Patrick Carnes and Donald Hilton, among others, is beginning to show that sex addiction exists and needs to be effectively treated (more on their work later). Sex addiction is an addiction and here’s why.

Addiction is a disease of reward. Addiction hijacks the reward pathways in the brain and damages brain circuits. More and more research has shown that addiction can occur not only to chemical substances, but to behaviors as well. Individuals with behavioral addictions or process addictions are addicted to the process of doing something “rewarding” for that individual, including: gambling, shopping, work, playing video games, and sex (Hagedorn & Juhnke, 2005). Individuals can become addicted to sex and addicted to porn, videos from shemalehdsex must really feed into that addiction because the content is so arousing. I’m not talking about repeatedly enjoying sex with a partner. To call that a sex addiction would be misunderstanding what an addiction means. Sex can become an addiction when an individual:

  1. Experiences cravings for sexual experiences. Over time, the individual develops triggers that lead them to have cravings.
  2. Loses control over how often and how long he/she engages in sex, and cannot stop his/her sexual stimulation behaviors. Has an inability to abstain from sexual stimulation. This causes consequences in personal relationships, work, etc.
  3. Uses sex to augment pleasure or reduce pain.
  4. Increasingly does not recognize the consequences of his/her sexual acting out behaviors.

This is sex addiction. At Center for Marriage and Family Counseling and LifeSTAR Dallas, we work to help many clients who struggle with sex addictions, each receiving treatment because his/her life has become increasingly unmanageable due to his/her addictive behaviors.

Sex addiction means an individual is addicted to sexual stimulation and release. Sex is the “drug” of choice for an individual with a sex addiction. This can take the form of an individual being addicted pornography from websites similar to www.fullhdxxx.com, and/or masturbation addiction, having sexual encounters online, having sexual encounters in person, and/or having an affair partner / affair partners. Increased internet availability has resulted in an increase in out-of-control sexual behavior (Hentsch-Cowles & Brock, 2013). With sexual content constantly available, this “drug” can be free, always accessible, and an easy escape for an addict. A lot of websites like tubev.sex are full of tempting content that can entice many.

Although the “drug” in sex addiction is sex, sex addiction is not about sex. It is about emotional mismanagement. It occurs when an individual uses sex to minimize pain and painful emotions or augment pleasure. Generally, a mix of genetics and traumatic experiences underlie sex addiction. When an individual with a sex addiction feels a difficult emotion, and he/she does not have healthy ways of coping with that emotion, he/she will often turn to sex. He/she will feel a “high” with sexual release, which is very short-lived, and only helps the individual “escape” temporarily. Then the individual often feels guilt and shame (two difficult emotions), and that can start the whole process over. The individual becomes caught in the the squirrel-cage of addiction.

Sex addiction, like all addictions, makes addicts lives become out of control and unmanageable. Sex addiction harms the addict’s ability to make choices and the addict’s ability to maintain loving relationships. Untreated sex addiction leads to some severe consequences, especially the longer it is untreated. Fight the New Drug, an agency campaigning against pornography, states that pornography itself harms the brain, relationships, and society. All forms of sex addiction have these same harmful effects. The severity of sex addiction and its consequences progresses if left unaddressed.

At Center for Marriage and Family Counseling and LifeSTAR Dallas, we specialize in treatment for sex addiction. If you think that you have a sex addiction, schedule an appointment with us today. You are not alone. We can help!

References:

Fight the New Drug. (2014). Get the facts. Retrieved from http://www.fightthenewdrug.org/get-the-facts/

Hagedorn, W. B., & Juhnke, G. A. (2005). Treating the sexually addicted client: Establishing a need for increased counselor awareness. Journal of Addictions & Offender Counseling, 25(2), 66-86.

Hentsch-Cowles, G., & Brock, L. J. (2013). A systemic review of the literature on the role of the partner of the sex addict, treatment models, and a call for research for systems theory model in treating the partner. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 20(4), 323-335. doi:10.1080/10720162.2013.845864