Porn addiction therapy – a look at the top 3 evidence based approaches

Considering porn addiction therapy? In this article we take a look at 3 of the most well researched porn addiction therapy approaches (What is porn addiction?) 

Porn addiction therapy

 

  1. Family based therapies

How it works?  – Family based therapies seek to explore the family dynamics and assumptions. The therapist will often ‘become a member’ of the family in order to understand its workings and  then they will look to help the family to challenge unhelpful behaviours and unspoken rules which may create or sustaining the problem.

Does it work? – Family based therapies has enjoyed some success as a porn addiction therapy (Ford, Durtschi, Franklin 2012, Wonder 2013), however a lot of people presenting for porn addiction therapy are embarrassed by their behaviour (Chrisholman 2015) and are not ready to challenge this in an open family setting. 

 

    2.  Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

How it works? – ACT works as a porn addiction therapy by helping a person to accept their desires without having to act upon them. Practical behaviour changes and desensitizing exercises are often used to reduce temptations and the therapist helps the person to identify their values in life so they can direct more energy towards what they want. The aim of therapy is flexible and often will look to reduce porn usage to ‘normal’ levels rather than completely stop, although this can be considered.

Does it work?  – Although it is early days there is a growing body of evidence that ACT is effective as a porn addiction therapy (Twohig 2010, Wetterneck et al 2012, Twine 2015) 

 

    3. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

How it works? –  CBT works by challenging assumptions and beliefs and then adopting new beliefs, which are then reality tested. As a porn addiction therapy CBT will often concentrate on assumptions around the ability to control biological impulses and the strength of those impulses. As with ACT practical lifestyle changes are likely to be part of the therapy.

Does it work?  – Although currently there appears to be little direct evidence for CBT’s efficacy as a porn addiction therapy it is looking promising (Fjerkenstad 2012, Twine 2015). 

 

Hopefully this article will help you to decide for yourself which therapy approach is right for you.

 

Porn addiction therapy

The author – Matt Krouwel is a hypnotherapist in Birmingham (UK). He has extensive experience working with sex and pornography addictions and has taught the use of hypnotically enhanced ACT and CBT.

 

 References – Porn addiction therapy 

Chisholm, M., & Gall, T. L. (2015). Shame and the X-rated Addiction: The Role of Spirituality in Treating Male Pornography Addicition. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity22(4), 259-272.

Ford, J. J., Durtschi, J. A., & Franklin, D. L. (2012). Structural therapy with a couple battling pornography addiction. The American Journal of Family Therapy40(4), 336-348.

Fjerkenstad, J. (2012). In my opinion: Treatment that mirrors the dark world.Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity19(1-2), 156-160. 

Twine, S. L. (2015). ANCOVA Study of Psychotherapy Treatment of Internet Pornography Addiction in Heterosexual Men. Fidei et Veritatis: The Liberty University Journal of Graduate Research1(1), 3.

Twohig, M. P., Hayes, S. C., Plumb, J. C., Pruitt, L. D., Collins, A. B., Hazlett-Stevens, H., & Woidneck, M. R. (2010). A randomized clinical trial of acceptance and commitment therapy versus progressive relaxation training for obsessive-compulsive disorder. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology78(5), 705.

Wonder, N. (2013). TREATING PORNOGRAPHY ADDICTION WITH IFS.Internal Family Systems Therapy: New Dimensions, 159.

Wetterneck, C. T., Burgess, A. J., Short, M. B., Smith, A. H., & Cervantes, M. E. (2012). The role of sexual compulsivity, impulsivity, and experiential avoidance in internet pornography use. The Psychological Record62(1), 3.