Breaking Through Denial: The Power of Group Recovery

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Dr. David Fawcett

Typically, healing from sex addiction, porn addiction, and paired substance/sex addiction presents challenges that can’t be dealt with solely in one-on-on therapy. In fact, most sex, porn, and substance/sex addicts require external reinforcement and support from fellow recovering addicts if they hope to permanently change their deeply rooted patterns of behavior.

Addiction focused group therapy, as occurs in residential addiction treatment, can be extremely helpful in this regard.

In sex, porn, and substance/sex addiction group therapy, a treatment specialist typically works with six to ten same-gender addicts. At Seeking Integrity, we strongly believe, based on many decades of experience treating these disorders, that these groups should be single gender. In our experience, mixed-gender groups tend to struggle with peer support and ongoing sobriety, while same-gender groups, even with a mix of sexual orientations, tend to work very well. 

Group settings work for recovering sex, porn, and substance/sex addicts on a number of levels. Perhaps most importantly, group settings are the ideal place to confront the denial that is so integral to all forms of addiction, including sex, porn, and substance/ sex addiction. Such confrontations are powerful not only for the addict being confronted, but for the addicts doing the confronting. In this way, everyone present learns how justification, minimization, and rationalization sustain addiction.

Other benefits of group recovery include:

  • Addictions keep addicts apart from rather than helping them become a part of. Group therapy, along with 12 step meetings and other forms of social support, help addicts break through this and feel less alone.
  • Group settings provide addicts with external reinforcement, support, and accountability for staying sober.
  • Group settings help sex, porn, and substance/sex addicts learn that their problems are not unique, which goes a long way toward reducing the shame associated with their behaviors.
  • Group settings are where sex, porn, and substance/sex addicts learn which interventions and coping mechanisms work best based on other members’ experiences.
  • Group settings are where addicts learn that helpful support and direction are available from many caring people, not just a primary therapist or a lone accountability partner.

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If you or someone you care about is struggling with sex, porn, or substance/sex addiction, help is available. Seeking Integrity offers inpatient treatment for male addicts. We also offer low-cost online workgroups for addicts new to recovery. To sign up for our next six-week sex addiction workgroup click here