Sex

Sex Addiction Counselling Services in Calgary

If you are here, chances are that you are recognizing you have a problem with sex and related behaviours, or you are connected with someone who does. Taking this step of considering support is a tremendous one so congratulations on making it here and starting to explore sex addiction counselling.

The short story

Sex addiction counselling is available at Sana Psychological for those unsure if they have an issue with sex and love, those who know they have an issue and are starting to explore treatment, as well as those who have been in long-term recovery.

Support is also available for family members and loved ones who are currently being impacted by another person’s unhealthy relationship with sex and love. Treatment can be short-term (3-6 months) or long-term (6+ months) depending on needs and preference. Typically, long-term support is recommended as Addiction involving sex and love is a chronic condition and impacts many other aspects of health. However, if this is not possible then we will work to provide you with coping strategies and points of reflection that you can carry forward. The initial session or two involves background information gathering to get to know you, your challenges, and strengths. Recommendations and strategies will be provided along the way and collaboratively we will discuss treatment goals and general plan. Cost is $200/session and these appointments can be accessed in person or by phone or video. All it takes to get started is an e-mail, phone call, or text to request an appointment.

The long story

Sex is a natural part of many relationships and human behaviour. In health, sex is a way for people to express love, connection, care, and vulnerability with one another. Healthy sex feels rejuvenating, restorative, and intimate. Unfortunately, sometimes the unhealthy part of our brain looking for feel-good neurotransmitters can take over and people may start to notice that a once healthy relationship with sex starts to look unhealthy.

An unhealthy relationship with sex may involve infidelity, pornography use that feels excessive or violating of your typical preferences and values, acting out with strangers, escorts, or people that are not normally your attraction (same sex, opposite sex, minors, etc.). Your relationship with sex may not have progressed to these levels yet but you are starting to feel that it is not the healthy act it once was. Whether it is a feeling or behavioural evidence that something has gone awry, sex addiction counselling can help.

How do you know if you or a loved one has a problem?

It can be difficult to sort out what exactly is going on in one’s relationship with sex and love and how unhealthy or problematic it has become. This is not something that you have to figure out on your own. Remember, you are not a trained healthcare professional with experience in making such diagnoses and, even if you are, doing so with yourself or in your personal life is much different than doing it with others. Let Sana Psychological help you determine where things are at and provide recommendations accordingly.
This is an informal checklist to help you get a general idea of the extent of your or your loved one’s challenges with sex, love, and related issues. Read through the following list and answer whether the statement applies to you or not. Within the past 3 months have you experienced any of the following with your relationship with sex and love:
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it would be a good time to start exploring sex addiction counselling. These symptoms tend to appear as issues with sex and love behaviours progress. Typically, these symptoms indicate a condition that has escalated in quantity, frequency, and had a progressive impact on your life over time. These symptoms rarely present themselves when people have a healthy relationship with sex and love.

Sex Addiction Is Not a Choice

It is important for you to remember that you did not choose what is happening to you right now. A struggle with sex addiction does not define your personality or represent who you are, it is a symptom and a medical condition that it is important to seek treatment for. That is where sex addiction counselling can help.

Treatment Approach

The initial 1-2 sessions will involve gathering as much background information as possible about you, including: Strengths, available coping network and tools, challenges, as well as information about your relationship with sex, others, and self.

Information is gathered to know about all parts of you. Sex addiction counselling is about much more than just your engagement with sex and love. There will be many areas of life that you can start to address to support change, such as relationships, feelings processing, boundaries, communication, self-esteem, and more.

Paige Abbott has been trained in Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy as well as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and also incorporates elements of solution-focused therapy, motivational interviewing, and Twelve Step Facilitation into her sessions. Follow-up appointments generally involve a check-in to see presenting issues and immediate things that have come up that you may want to process, follow-up on any suggestions provided in past appointments to get an idea of progress as well as roadblocks that are coming up, followed by more in-depth exploration of challenges, patterns, and coping. Sessions are active and engaged as Paige likes to ask lots of questions and provide reflections, challenges, and psychoeducation along the way. At any point if the therapeutic approach or goals need to be changed, please speak up and this will be processed. Sessions come from a non-judgmental, compassionate, empathetic place. We are here to support you in doing different and being different.

Logistics

Sessions are offered in person in Calgary, Alberta or by using Technology Assisted Counselling which can consist of phone or video sessions depending on need and preference. Cost is $200/session. Sessions are available to anyone who is in the province of Alberta at the time of appointment as this is Paige Abbott’s jurisdiction of licensure. Payment options include cash, credit card, e-transfer, and direct billing with a number of different insurance carriers.

Sex addiction counselling can be short or long-term, depending on your needs. Paige Abbott, Registered Psychologist at Sana Psychological, prefers to meet with people over a longer period of time (6+ months) to ensure sustainability and maintenance of progress as sex addiction recovery tends to ebb and flow. If this does not work for your needs, that is okay too. We will do as much work as we can in the available sessions to get you building a healthy recovery plan that you can tailor as needed. All it takes to get started is an e-mail, phone call, or text to request an appointment.

For loved ones

Sex addiction counselling may also involve concerned family members or friends who have been impacted. They may come in individually for their own support and/or join some sessions or parts of sessions with the individual who is experiencing sex addiction. If you are a family member reading this and hoping your loved one will change but you are not sure if they are ready, I would encourage you to come in for yourself to look at your own health and recovery plan. Change in any member of a relational unit creates change for the whole unit, so perhaps change can start with you. Even if you are feeling that your personal changes are not having an impact on your loved one, it will provide you the strength, resources, and ability to cope with an extremely difficult, draining, and challenging situation.

Loved ones of those who are struggling with sex addiction experience a significant amount of resentment, hurt, and confusion. This can be damaging to their relationship with self and lead to self-doubt, insecurity, and lowered self-esteem. Loved ones benefit tremendously from engaging in their own counselling and recovery work in order to find peace, serenity, and contentment in their relationship with themselves, as well as explore where they are at in their external relationships.

The Recovery Journey

For most, the journey of recovery with sex addiction involves an exploration of triggers, vulnerabilities, and boundaries, as well as building up healthy coping tools, relationship with self, and esteem.

Part of the journey of recovery and counselling can involve an exploration of underlying patterns and vulnerabilities, getting to understand triggers, identify other areas where compulsive or addictive behaviour may be active, as well as starting to explore and spend time developing relationship with self. The first 3-6 months of recovery will be a period of tremendous growth and feeling; it is often uncomfortable and is a vulnerable time where the likelihood of relapse is high. Withdrawal and change are uncomfortable, but they come with great benefit. After six months, changes are more established and have become routine so things feel less effortful. The lifelong work involves continued awareness of triggers, vulnerabilities, boundaries, and ongoing development of relationship with self.

Wherever you are at in this journey, it is an honour and a privilege for Sana Psychological to be a part of it.