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Sex Addiction as Affect Dysregulation: A Neurobiologically Informed Holistic Treatment, Part I

Presented by Alexandra Katehakis, LMFT, CSAT-S, CST-S - 2 CE Hours

Workshop Description:
Affective neuroscience--the study of how emotions actually grow the brain and nervous system--shows that most of our psychological, intellectual, and even physical growth depends on attachment patterns we (or more correctly, our brains and bodies) learn during infancy. It also demonstrates how early developmental or relational trauma hurts not just our feelings but our cognitive and behavioral capacities as well, making us susceptible later to psychopathology. With hobbled capacities for self-regulation, self-reflection, self-differentiation, somatic awareness, and insight into self or others, sex addicts can’t tolerate long-term intimacy. Truly being known by another (lover or therapist) threatens to bring back the shame and self-loathing experienced in repeated losses of emotional attunement with their caregiver. These findings allow us to understand and treat sex addicts as regulation-impaired due to a fundamental attachment disorder. A holistic model for healing that includes cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and affect regulation therapy (ART) will be presented.

Learning Objectives
Upon completion of this presentation, participants will:
1. Have a clear understanding about the differences between the terms of art, Sexual Addiction and Hypersexual Disorder;
2. Conceptualize sexual addiction as a constellation of issues including problems with affect dysregulation, reward-motivation, and subsequent problematic sexual behaviors.