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Hi All, Well it’s been a very busy 6 months here at the Laurel Centre. Our first cohort of our Accredited Diploma is now complete and we’re half way through our second cohort. The great advantage of delivering training is that it keeps your knowledge sharp and up to date. The field of neuroscience is rapidly changing, as you’ll see in our research section, and it’s great to see that sex addiction is hitting the public agenda more overtly (see the article on the recent debate in the House of Lords). Other developments here have been opening up our services in London with individual therapy and group work and we’ve seen a significant increase in enquiries from partners since the launch of the partners book in September. There’s no doubt that demand for specialist services in sex and porn addiction are growing and one of the problems we’re facing is being able to provide services to people on low incomes and also services to young people. Fortunately we’re able to offer low cost services through trainees on our diploma programme, but developing appropriate interventions for young people is something that is still desperately required. Our feedback from the free Kick Start Recovery Programme (now used by over 14,000 people!) shows that 40% of people started developing their problem under the age of 16. And over the past few weeks we have had a number of phone calls from worried parents. I know from experience that working with young people is quite different from working with adults and addiction work is complex. My hope is that as a society we will begin to do more to educate our young people about the potential risks of addiction – if we don’t, then we can expect an explosion of new, young enquiries over the coming years.

Welcome to Sex Addiction UK. In this issue you will find: • • • • •

News Research Articles Resources Events

I hope you enjoy the contents in this newsletter. Please feel free to share with friends and colleagues and do get in touch if you’re interested in any of our training or therapy services.

The Royal Pump Rooms, opened in the 1800’s to help with the ‘taking of the waters’. Leamington Spa has always been a place for respite and recovery.

NEWS Internationally Renowned Clinician Robert Weiss to Host Weekly Webinar on Sex, Intimacy and Addiction at BBC Trending - Is ‘porn addiction’ a real thing? A video series by actor Terry Crews detailing his struggles with pornography has been watched by millions over the past few weeks - but is porn really addictive? Preview for a film ‘Rasied on Porn’ seeking to raise awareness for education over censorship


Novelty, conditioning and attentional bias to sexual rewards

Neural Substrates of Sexual Desire in Individuals with Problematic Paula Banca, Laurel S. Morris, Hypersexual Behavior Simon Mitchell, Neil A. Harrison, Marc N. Potenza, Ji-Woo Seok and Jin-Hun Sohn* Department of Psychology, Brain Research Institute, Chungnam National Valerie Voon University, Daejeon, South Korea Abstract: Studies on the characteristics of individuals with hypersexual disorder have been accumulating due to increasing concerns about problematic hypersexual behavior (PHB). Currently, relatively little is known about the underlying behavioral and neural mechanisms of sexual desire. Our study aimed to investigate the neural correlates of sexual desire with event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Twenty-three individuals with PHB and 22 age-matched healthy controls were scanned while they passively viewed sexual and nonsexual stimuli. The subjects’ levels of sexual desire were assessed in response to each sexual stimulus. Relative to controls, individuals with PHB experienced more frequent and enhanced sexual desire during exposure to sexual stimuli. Greater activation was observed in the caudate nucleus, inferior parietal lobe, dorsal anterior cingulate gyrus, thalamus, and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in the PHB group than in the control group. In addition, the hemodynamic patterns in the activated areas differed between the groups. Consistent with the findings of brain imaging studies of substance and behavior addiction, individuals with the behavioral characteristics of PHB and enhanced desire exhibited altered activation in the prefrontal cortex and subcortical regions. In conclusion, our results will help to characterize the behaviors and associated neural mechanisms of individuals with PHB.

To read the full study please click here.

Abstract: The Internet provides a large source of novel and rewarding stimuli, particularly with respect to sexually explicit materials. Novelty-seeking and cue-conditioning are fundamental processes underlying preference and approach behaviors implicated in disorders of addiction. Here we examine these processes in individuals with compulsive sexual behaviors (CSB), hypothesizing a greater preference for sexual novelty .....

To read the full study please click here.

“Should compulsive sexual behavior be considered an addiction?” Shane W. Kraus1,2,*, Valerie Voon3 and Marc N. Potenza2,4 Article first published online: 18 FEB 2016 Journal: Addiction ABSTRACT Aims: To review the evidence base for classifying compulsive sexual behavior (CSB) as a non-substance or ‘behavioral’ addiction. Methods: Data from multiple domains (e.g. epidemiological, phenomenological, clinical, biological) are reviewed and considered with respect to data from substance and gambling addictions. Results: Overlapping features exist between CSB and substance use disorders. Common neurotransmitter systems may contribute to CSB and substance use disorders, and recent neuroimaging studies highlight similarities relating to craving and attentional biases. Similar pharmacological and psychotherapeutic treatments may be applicable to CSB and substance addictions, although considerable gaps in knowledge currently exist. Conclusions: Despite the growing body of research linking compulsive sexual behavior (CSB) to substance addictions, significant gaps in understanding continue to complicate classification of CSB as an addiction.

You can read the full study here.

ARTICLES Studies refute the claim that sex & porn addicts “just have high sexual desire” Porn addiction naysayers often claim that individuals with either sex addiction or porn addiction do not have addiction, they simply have high libidos. David Ley (author of The Myth of Sex Addiction), is one of the most vocal critics of porn addiction, and often claims that “high sexual desire” explains away porn addiction. You may have seen Ley’s Psychology Today blog post with the catchy title: “Your Brain on Porn - It’s NOT Addictive”. The Ley blog post is not about the science behind YBOP. Instead, it’s about a single EEG study, whose lead author is Nicole Prause. Both Ley and Prause claim that the study’s (Steele et al. 2013) findings support the premise that porn/sex addiction is nothing more than “high sexual desire.” Contrary to claims by Ley and study author Nicole Prause, Steele et al. reported greater cuereactivity to porn correlating with LESS desire for sex with a partner (but not lower desire to masturbate to porn). To put it another way - individuals with more brain activation and cravings for porn would rather masturbate to porn than have sex with a real person. Read the full article here. Credit: Your Brain on Porn, Published 13/02/2016

Our Responsibility To Protect Children From Porn A new consultation document has recently been released by the UK Government entitled ‘Child Safety Online – Age Verification for Pornography. The paper outlines the fact that whilst we as a society have measures in place to protect children from ponographic magazines and films, there is nothing in place to ensure that young people don’t inadvertently find adult material online. The paper cites recent research saying “In May 2015, 1.4 million unique visitors under 18 years old accessed online sites classified as containing pornographic content from their desktop. Approximately half (732,000) were users aged 6-14” and goes on to say that the aims of the new verification system will be to “to protect children from distressing or unrealistic images of sex. Clearly, these images risk harming their ability to develop healthy personal relationships based on respect and consent.” Now whilst I don’t disagree with the sentiment and concerns of the paper, what does bother me is that there is no mention at all of the potential risk of compulsive use. Pornography addiction is contentious and there is still insufficient research for us to be sure that it is an ‘addiction’ or if another label would be more accurate. But few people now doubt that compulsive use is a problem for many young people. And like many counsellors and therapists, we are seeing an increasing number of young people reach out for help through our services. The paper is currently open for comments and I would like to strongly encourage anyone reading this post to respond and stress the importance of recognising the potential risk of addiction. We know that not every young person who views porn will get hooked, but it is my belief that we have a moral responsibility to educate young people about the risk and how to notice the warning signs. Blocking alone will never work, there must be education. You can access the paper here.

Nothing Like An Affair Sex addiction devastates partners in a way that most people simply can’t comprehend. During a training session to therapists today, an experienced counsellor said “but isn’t it just like an affair?” The answer is simple – no. Discovering your partner is a sex addict is not like discovering he/she’s had an affair. Now i’m not suggesting that infidelity is not painful, but when someone discovers their partner has been unfaithful, they wonder what went wrong with their relationship? They have a ‘before’ the affair to remember, and hopefully, they can look forward to ‘after’ the affair – whether that’s together or apart. But as so many partners of sex addicts discover, the sex addiction almost always pre-dates the relationship. Unbeknown to them, they have been living with deceit and secrecy all their relationship- it has never been what they thought it was. And unlike an affair, the addiction may never be over. Of course an addict can get fully into recovery and partners can hopefully look forward to an end to secrecy and betrayal, but they will most likely find themselves living with someone who is in recovery for the rest of their life.

The other significant difference is that most affairs are a symptom of a problem within the relationship, whereas an addiction is a symptom of a problem within the individual. Difficulties in the relationship may lead to some people with sex addiction struggling to quit, but they did not cause it. It’s essential that partners know that they are not to blame for the addiction, nor are they responsible for their partners recovery. What partners need is space and time to heal from the shock of discovering addiction and further space and time to consider if they want to continue to live in a relationship with someone who is in recovery. Many do choose to stay and I can bear witness to the fact that trust can be rebuilt and many find themselves in stronger, more intimate relationships than ever before. But it’s a tough journey – one that is often best travelled with others who truly understand what they’re going through.

The Impact of Pornography On Society - House of Lords Debate, November 2015 Naked Truth, a UK charity dealing with the harmful impact of porn, had been asked by the Lord Bishop of Chester to provide research and evidence on porn addiction in preparation for the recent debate in the House of Lords. They were also asked to prepare the briefing to be given to 150 Peers of the House. Naked Truth, part of Visible Ministries, have very close connections to the church through their team, Trustees and advocates. The debate, titled “the impact of pornography on society”, had been secured and led by the Lord Bishop of Chester, where he made reference to the project, based in Manchester, during his 15 minute speech last November. The presentation to the 150 peers, the first of it’s kind, was well received and has led to ongoing conversation regarding the subject. This is a significant breakthrough, as discussion of this content has been difficult to initiate within the politcal forum. The brief highlighted 3 main areas where the social cost of pornography can be clearly identified: addiction, family breakdown, children and young people. The briefing asked the Peers for a call to action in the following ways: public health awareness and education, the importance of future research, improved education and support for young people and their parents. As well as their ongoing work with individuals and their online support via, Naked Truth will continue to deliver education programmes in schools, provide support for parents and find new ways to inspire and support couples and families in forging healthier relationships. Their next objective for 2016 is to carry on the conversation, and influence positive change in UK policy and legislation. To find out more information you can find The Naked Truth Project here.


Contact Us

Great training opportunities coming this year at The Laurel Centre.

CPCAB Accredited (Level 5) Diploma in Sex Addiction Counselling The Diploma in Sex Addiction Counselling has been developed to provide the tools to assess and treat sex addiction and support recovery. Three 4 day modules, provide distinct skills for working with different levels of sex addiction client groups, partners and their families. Module One: Introduction to working with sex addiction Module Two: Working with complex cases and partners Module Three:Advanced skills for working with sex addiction

Cohort 3 Module One - 9th - 12th May 2016 Module Two - 11th - 14th July 2016 Module Three - 12th - 15th September 2016

The Laurel Centre First Floor 52-54 Regent Street Royal Leamington Spa Warwickshire CV32 5EG 01926 339 594 Paula Hall & Associates 127 Harley Street London W1G 6AZ

The Drama of the Addicted Child Within

Working with Sex Offenders

0207 9657032

30th April 2016

16th - 17th July 2016

1 day CPD Experiential Workshop with Jo-Ann Roden One day experiential CPD day.


Client Recovery Programmes Weekly Recovery Course - Leamington Spa & London * This course consists of 12 evening sessions and one weekend. The course is psycho-educational and provides information on sex addiction to help group members understand their compulsive behaviours as well as comprehensive relapse prevention strategies and guidance on how to move forward. The cost includes all treatment materials and refreshments and a follow up day approximately 3 months after completion. Venue: Leamington Spa Cost: £1,650 Venue: London Cost: £2,250 Dates: Ongoing please contact us directly for our next programme dates

6 Day Intensive Recovery Course This 6 day course provides a fast-track into recovery for people who are unable to commit to a weekly programme because of time commitments or geographic distance. The programme is identical to the weekly version, providing psycho-educational information as well as relapse prevention strategies and strategies for moving forward. The course runs for 5 consecutive days from 9.30 to 6.30 pm, with additional evening homework. The cost includes lunch and refreshments, all treatment materials and a follow up day approximately 3 months later. Venue: Leamington Spa Cost: £2,450 Dates: 11th - 16th April 2016

4 Day Intensive Support Programme For Partners Our intensive support programme follows the same format as the weekly one and is tailored for the needs of those who would find it difficult to commit to weekly sessions or who can’t attend for geographic reasons. The group provides help and support for partners who are struggling with the impact of sex addiction and practical strategies and skills for considering their future. The course runs over 4 consecutive days and the cost includes refreshments, lunch and all course materials. Venue: Leamington Spa Cost: £1,200 Date: 18th - 21st May 2016 Reduced fees are available for those on low incomes and payment for all courses can be taken in instalments

Sex Addiction UK - Issue Two  

Current information regarding Sex Addiction, professional training, research, articles and client recovery programmes.

Sex Addiction UK - Issue Two  

Current information regarding Sex Addiction, professional training, research, articles and client recovery programmes.