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Paula Hall

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  1. Hi Hana, Thanks for bringing this to our attention - it's so important that we look at all the different angles of any problem. The problem for me with this article is that it's over simplistic and shows the author doesn't really understand neuroscience - and I have to confess, I'm not an expert myself either. But there have been quite a lot of twin studies in addiction and the advantage of those studies is that it does show that how much brain change is caused and much was there in the first place. The conclusive evidence is that the environment, ie how the brain is used and what it's exposed to, is what causes most of the changes. Our brains are incredibly complex. It's true that some people have a greater disposition towards addiction, and some of that is how they're brains were wired up in the first place. But the same could be said for those who are great muscians or have a gift for languages. But ultimately, it's how you use those natural gifts, or flaws, that will lead your behaviours in one direction or another. I'm sure there are many people in the world who have a gift for music, but didn't have the opportunity to express it and develop it. The same is true for people with addiction. Another point that is not highlighted is that we can re-train our brains and ultimately, we can choose our behaviours. So even if someone does have a certain inherent predisposition, it doesn't mean they have to follow that path. I hope that helps a little.
  2. Hi, I'm so sorry to hear that your struggling now your partner has returned. Yes it's true that they have to focus on their recovery but we do fully appreciate the impact on partners and the fact that they need their own support too. On our intensives we very specifically state that we don't focus on partners needs - this is to enable the focus to remain on recovery and there are often members in the group who are not in a relationship and hence it would be using group time on something that is not relevant to all. Perhaps most importantly though, there just isn't time during the 6 days to convey the importance of expressing empathy and developing rigorous honesty. Therefore what we recommend is that the guys attend our stand alone 'Understanding Partner's Needs Day'. This is a full one day workshop specifically for people in relationships where the focus is 100% on the essential issues they need to address. We have a day in London in September and one in Leamington in October - please do email us if you want information - info@paulahall.co.uk
  3. Hi Jo, I can assure you that no-one will judge your husband here. We've worked with literally hundreds and hundreds of people with this problem and we know how difficult it is. But as you can see from some of the posts on 'Success Stories' people do get through this. The support of other people who have been through this is so important and that's why we deliver our group recovery programmes as well and also aftercare groups where people continue to meet and support each other in recovery. Do encourage your husband to get in touch and we can talk more. I don't know where you are in the country, but another place to go for help could be one of the 12 step support groups such as SAA or SLAA. Do google them and see if there's one local to you. Warmest wishes.
  4. Thanks for writing such an honest post. It's good to hear a female voice on the forum to remind us that this problem can affect anyone. It certainly sounds like you have a problem, but whether that's 'addiction' to sex or just a different desire to your partner is hard to know. Regrettably we often want what we can't have even more, so it may be his lack of interest that is driving your desire more than anything else. You know something is an addiction when you feel dependent on it. When it becomes the most important thing in your life that pre-occupies you. Also when not being able to access your 'drug of choice' leaves you feeling low or irritable and the search for it starts causing problems in other areas of your life. It may be that a session with a therapist would help you to think these issues through. Certainly a question I would ask is whether or not this has been a problem for you in previous relationships and whether you've ever struggled with other types of addiction or if addiction is in your family of origin at all. Do take a look around the rest of this site for more information and you might find the 'Am I an Addict? assessment tool helpful too. Do get in touch with us if you'd like a one-off session to explore - many of us are sex and couple therapists as well so we can help you - whatever the correct 'definition' might be. Best wishes.;
  5. Hi Ede, Oh what a shock to find yourself in this situation. For any partner it comes as a shock of course, but in later relationships we all like to think that we're somehow wiser and more knowledgeable - but regrettably sex addiction is so easy to hide - and deny as you've painfully discovered. I'm sorry to hear that you've not found a treatment approach that has worked for your husband. Unfortunately being lied to is a common and unavoidable hazard when working in this field and as a therapist you have to be aware of it. In my experience, that's where being part of a group is so powerful - you may have heard the expression "you can't bullshit a bullshitter'. It's within the groups that we really see people opening up and being honest - often for the first time in their lives. Our intensives are specifically developed for people who struggle geographically and we have had many people join us from Europe, from the Emirates and from the USA. If you want more information, please feel free to email me personally at paula@paulahall.co.uk We also provide intensive support programmes for partners so we can help you get the help that you need to survive this too - whether that's alone, or together. Warmest wishes, Paula
  6. Thanks for posting this. It's great to have new resources and to share them round. It's such an encouragement. Paula
  7. Thanks so much for reaching out for help. Unfortunately we know that watching a lot of porn impacts your arousal - what's known as Porn Induced Erectile Dysfunction or PIED for short is a very common side effect of heavy porn use and often the side effect that gets people realising they need to stop. We can of course offer you individual help or you can join one of our recovery courses - get in touch if you're interested, but in addition you can get help through a number of other online resources. The first thing you need to do though is block your access to porn. No blocker is fool proof, but ask someone you know well to put the password on your devices to stop you accessing. Make it as difficult as possible for yourself. In addition to that, think about other ways you can distract yourself, take up a new hobbie, spend more time socialising. Perhaps you've tried all this already and it hasn't worked and if that's the case, then please do get in touch so we can help you look at the deeper causes of the problem and why you're finding it so hard to quit. You deserve a better sex life than porn is giving you - that's for sure and regrettably it's likely to get worse if you don't get help. This is a great first step though.
  8. Hi, I don't know if you saw the post after yours from Craig, but he's in the same situation as you - only it may be too late for his marriage. If you want to beat this addiction then you've got to put blockers on all your IT devices and get help. If you've tried to stop before, but have failed, even though you know you have so much to lose, then this is almost certainly an addiction now. That's the definition of an addiction - repeated failure to stop in spite of harmful consequences. Do look at my self help resource - www.pornaddictionhelp.co.uk - and do get in touch with us if you want to join one of our recovery groups or meet with a counsellor. Whatever you do, do it today and get some help. People do overcome this and you can be one of them.
  9. Hi Craig, I'm so sorry to hear that porn has broken down your marriage -regrettably I hear many stories like this. As I'm sure you know by now, pornography can become an addiction and then it's often hard to stop through will power alone. I would suggest that you need to get some professional help as soon as possible, and maybe, just maybe your wife will realise that you are serious this time. In the meantime, do put porn blockers on all your devices and if you've not already done so, have a look at my self help resource at www.pornaddictionhelp.co.uk. It may be too late for your marriage, but it's not too late for you.
  10. Like so many partners it looks like you've found out the hard way, though I'm not sure if your husband was trying very hard to hide it. It's very hard to know what to say to help unless your husband has said that he has a problem. There are of course lots of people who talk to people online in a sexual way who would not say they are addicted and would not see it as being unfaithful in any way. My advice would be to talk honestly to your husband and tell him how upset you are by his behaviour. Ask him if he thinks it's a problem and if it's getting worse and if so then he needs to get some help. There is a self help assessment on this website which he could complete (totally anonymous) or have a look at the resource at www.sexaddictionhelp.co.uk. If he doesn't think he's got a problem, then I guess that leaves you wondering what you can do. You certainly don't have to agree to live with this, but the choice to leave is never an easy one. The first step has got to be trying to talk to him about what's going on and how you can resolve it. Hope that helps.
  11. Hi Hannah, Thank you for so bravely sharing your story on this forum - I think that already shows what courage you have and how much you have moved forward from the shame and pain of that 12 year old. Every partner has their own story, their own history. And a partner's history will have a huge impact on how they feel about their partner's porn use and their recovery. When partners have abuse and trauma in their history, regrettably discovering addiction can re-trigger those same old emotions meaning you get a double dose of pain. Unfortunately addiction often bypasses morality and the value system that people hold. Porn is addictive because it arouses dopamine, and what few people know is that the more shocking the porn, the more the dopamine levels are raised. And high levels of dopamine, temporarily turn off the disgust response. That means that many people with porn addiction find themselves viewing images that actually disgust them. It's a bit like an alcoholic who finds themselves drinking whiskey even though they despise the taste. What happened all those years ago was about power and abuse, not about sexual arousal. Although most would agree that viewing that kind of pornography is wrong, there is a difference between watching something that is fiction and engaging in the fact. For example, we might enjoy watching films where there is violence or murder, but that certainly doesn't mean that we would do it or condone doing it. If you haven't already done so, do find a counsellor that you can talk to about this. Being alone always makes life more painful. Find someone you can confide in. Preferably other partners who can share your story. You've made a brave first step.
  12. In short, yes a sex addict can recover - completely. But it nearly always takes professional help, long term recovery plans, changes in lifestyle and being part of a support community. It's rare for addicts to establish recovery without the support of others who have struggled with the same problem. And relationships do recover as well, but that takes time too. If you have read my book for partners, please do. It will help you make sense of the mood swings that you're experiencing and give you some strategies for coping. There's also a chapter on rebuilding trust and rebuilding your sexual relationship. Partners so often feel completely alone and isolated so you will also find it easier to move on if you can get support for yourself from other partners. You have been through a significant trauma. Please do make sure you give yourself the same compassion that you're generously offering your partner. The pain won't go on forever and whilst there will still be dark days, they will gradually become fewer and further apart. But get help for you too - don't try and get through this alone.
  13. Hi - it sounds like you're in a really difficult position right now and have a lot of understanding of recovery from your past. But you're right that sex addiction is much more personal and feels very different for partners. It's also much harder to see 'evidence' of recovery as you can't prove what you haven't done and you can't 'see' sobriety. My advice is to be sure that as well as having good accountability measures in place, you focus on seeing that he's worked through the 'causes' of his addiction and that you can see the evidence of that. For example, if he used his addiction to soothe anger - is he now better at managing anger? If it's rooted in stress, how is his stress management now? That's the evidence that you can see and measure. Addiction is a symptom - has he found the cause and resolved that? Hope that helps.
  14. until
    This recovery programme for sex and pornography addiction has been developed specifically for the treatment of addictive and compulsive sexual behaviours. The course is unique in providing practical skills for recovery as well as exploring deeper emotional and psychological needs. It also provides an environment that overcomes the shame, isolation and secrecy that often maintain addiction. By the end of the course, attendees will be able to: Understand the biological and psychological causes of their addictionRecognise and manage triggersEstablish relapse prevention strategies to secure and maintain recoveryIdentify and overcome potential future blocks to recoveryDevelop long term strategies for re-establishing personal integrity and a healthy lifestyle The course is strictly limited to a maximum of 8 men and all attendees are required to sign a confidentiality statement to ensure the group is a safe space for all. The cost includes lunch and refreshments, all treatment materials and a follow up day. If required, a list of local accommodation can be provided on request. The course facilitators are Paula Hall and Nick Turner, both of whom are trained psychotherapists who specialise in the field of sex and pornography addiction.
  15. Hi Fiona, 8 years is a long time to wait, always wondering if this time will the time he finally gets sorted. Unfortunately we see lots of people who have wasted years of therapy and huge amounts of money with therapists who aren't trained in this field. And one of the mistakes untrained therapists make is not being able to ensure that the person with the addiction is fully motivated to change. To change for themselves, because it's what they 'want' - not just to keep their family together. Obviously we understand that family is a key motivator, but it does need to be more than that. Until someone really wants to change because they firmly believe there is a better life without addiction, then relapses are almost inevitable. If you haven't already done so, please do get in touch. We can provide support for you as well as ensuring your husband is fully getting into recovery this time. Warmest wishes. Paula
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