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Paula Hall

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Everything posted by Paula Hall

  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
  16. Hi Krista, Thanks for writing in. Firstly let me assure you that unfortunately this is very natural. The challenge working in sex and porn addiction is that recovery is not about abstinence, but about reclaiming your sexuality from the addiction and developing a healthy sex life. That definitely can happen, but it does take time and often professional support. Have you got a copy of my partners book? (Sex Addiction - The Partner's Perspective). If not, do get one as there is a whole section on rebuilding sexual intimacy. Assuming your partner really is in full recovery, then I would recommend you both see a psychosexual therapist together. We can provide that service for you, but if finances are a problem then you will find psychosexual therapists on the NHS, or of course, your local Relate centre who may be able to offer low cost sessions. A sex therapist will be able to help you with your communication together as well as helping you to rebuild your sex life into something that both of you can enjoy. Ideally your therapist should be trained in sex addiction as well so they can work with any triggers that may arise for your partner. Hope that helps.
  17. 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.
  18. until
    ex and porn addiction can devastate partners and many people struggle to know how to support their partners whilst continuing on their own recovery journey. This day focuses on understanding partner’s needs, improving communication and developing the essential requirements for rebuilding trust. The day has been specifically designed for people with addiction who are already in recovery and want additional insight and resources to rebuild their relationship. The workshop will help attendees to:- Understand the emotional impact on partnersUnderstand how disclosure affects partner’s responseDemonstrate empathy for partners feelingsManage their own internal emotional responses to partnersDemonstrate empathy and compassionImprove accountabilityDevelop better communication skillsResolve and reduce conflictUnderstand the essentials for rebuilding trust The day will run from 10.00 am to 4.30 pm with lunch and refreshments provided. Places are limited, so if you would like to join us. NB – confidentiality is of paramount importance to the practice and hence attendees will only be required to give their first names on the day and no other personal details will be shared.
  19. Hi Claire, I've just read through the posts and wanted to make sure you were aware that we can provide therapy via video skype. Many people come to our intensives from other countries, so that doesn't have to be a barrier. But if travel isn't possible, we can support you, your husband, or/and you as a couple via skype. I know it's not the same as face to face, but it's better to work in this way with an experienced therapist than face to face with someone who's not trained in this field.
  20. Hi Elena, Thanks for getting in touch. Yes you're right, there are many partners affected by this. Pornography addiction can have a devastating effect on men's libido and their ability gain and maintain an erection. Consequently they often withdraw more and more from having a sexual relationship with their partner. It worries me that he's been going for help but isn't sharing with you what's going on. Has he stopped? Does he have the tools to stop? Does he understand what caused and maintained his addiction? Without these things it's going to be very difficult for the two of you to rebuild trust and rebuild your sexual relationship. I think you're right not to go back to Relate. Relate are an excellent organisation (I am Relate-trained myself), but most of the counsellors are not trained in porn addiction. It might also be worth checking that your husband is working with a therapist who is trained and experienced in this area as well. If they're not, then he may not be getting the help he (and you) need. Do get in touch if we can help and have a look at the other resources available on this site. Bw,
  21. Thanks for your post - I guess you really need to decide if you want to stop. It sounds as though you know your behaviour is getting in the way of your relationship with your wife and it sounds as if it's getting in the way of your every day functioning as well. Lots of people think about sex a lot, there's nothing wrong with that, but if you feel compelled to act out when you don't want to. And/or you find yourself preoccupied by fantasies that you can't fulfil - then you have a problem. The bottom line is that compulsive sexual thoughts, feelings and behaviours get in the way of you enjoying an 'achievable' sex life. In other words, you find yourself always wanting more than what you currently have - rather than being able to enjoy what you have. If you've not already done the assessment on this site - I recommend you complete it and maybe get in touch for some help. Bw.
  22. Hi All, Welcome to our forum where we aim to give support and advice, not just to people with addiction, but to partners as well. We understand how totally devastating it is to discover your partner is addicted to sex or pornography. The shock can feel almost completely overwhelming. Please do use these boards as a source of support. As well as responding to others, our moderators and therapist team are also here to help you.
  23. I thought I'd start this thread off with some feedback from one of our recent intensives. "Having struggled with this addiction for over 20 years, I now for the first time feel confident that recovery is possible. Previous counselling and support, both professional and non-professional, hasn't enabled me to understand the causes of this addiction or provided time with the tools I need to recover. This time it feels completely different - a complete change in my understanding which I know will lead to a complete change in my life"
  24. Hi all, Just wanted to say a warm welcome to everyone who comes to look at our new forum. If you've got a question about sex or porn addiction, please do ask it here. This forum is for everyone and anyone looking for help and support. If you see a question that you can help with, please feel free to respond. In addition, the boards will be checked by our team of therapists and also by our moderator team and we will endeavour to do all we can to answer any question you have.
  25. Forum Do’s & Don’ts Do respect others, even if they have a different opinion or approach to you Do support each other, in successes and failures Do be positive and encouraging Do share your experiences, good and bad Do remember that recovery is a journey and people are in different places Do signpost people to other sources of information and support Do be careful of triggers and look after yourself Don’t discuss specific porn/sex sites or sexual behaviours – this could be triggering to others Don’t talk in detail about acting out behaviours Don’t criticise others or use sarcasm Don’t call people names Don’t talk about other’s posts outside of a recovery environment Don’t act like you know the answer unless you do Disclaimer This forum is for information only and views expressed by forum members, including therapists, are their own responsibility and do not necessarily reflect the views of Paula Hall & Associates. We reserve the right to edit or delete posts if they fail to comply with the rules of the forum or if they are deemed to be inflammatory, illegal, seditious, malicious or slanderous in nature. REGISTER You agree, through your use of this forum, that you will abide by the Do’s & Don’ts; and not post any material which is false, defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, threatening, invasive of a person's privacy, adult material, or otherwise in violation of any International or UK law. You also agree not to post any copyrighted material unless you own the copyright or you have written consent from the owner of the copyrighted material. Spam, flooding, advertisements, chain letters, pyramid schemes, and solicitations are also forbidden on this forum. Note that it is impossible for the staff or the owners of this forum to confirm the validity of posts. Please remember that we do not actively monitor the posted messages, and as such, are not responsible for the content contained within. We do not warrant the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information presented. The posted messages express the views of the author, and not necessarily the views of this forum, its staff, its subsidiaries, or this forum's owner. Anyone who feels that a posted message is objectionable is encouraged to notify an administrator or moderator of this forum immediately. The staff and the owner of this forum reserve the right to remove, edit, move or close any content, within a reasonable time frame, if they determine that removal is necessary. This is a manual process, however, please realize that they may not be able to remove or edit particular messages immediately. This policy applies to member profile information as well. You remain solely responsible for the content of your posted messages. Furthermore, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless the owners of this forum, any related websites to this forum, its staff, and its subsidiaries. The owners of this forum also reserve the right to reveal your identity (or any other related information collected on this service) in the event of a formal complaint or legal action arising from any situation caused by your use of this forum. You have the ability, as you register, to choose your username. We advise that you keep the name appropriate. With this user account you are about to register, you agree to never give your password out to another person except an administrator, for your protection and for validity reasons. You also agree to NEVER use another person's account for any reason. We also HIGHLY recommend you use a complex and unique password for your account, to prevent account theft. After you register and login to this forum, it will be your responsibility to present clean and accurate profile information. Any information the forum owner or staff determines to be inaccurate or vulgar in nature will be removed, with or without prior notice. Appropriate sanctions may be applicable. Please note that with each post, your IP address is recorded, in the event that you need to be banned from this forum or your ISP contacted. This will only happen in the event of a major violation of this agreement. Also note that the software places a cookie, a text file containing bits of information (such as your username and password), in your browser's cache. This is ONLY used to keep you logged in/out. The software does not collect or send any other form of information to your computer. I ACCEPT THE TERMS OF THE AGREEMENT
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