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Paula Hall: WHEN IS SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR A LIFESTYLE CHOICE AND WHEN IS IT AN ADDICTION?

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This presentation will explore the challenges faced when working with people with diverse sexual lifestyles, including those within ChemSex communities.

How do we work with people who know their sexual behaviour, and co-current drug use, is causing them problems, but do not want to be labelled an addict or follow one of the traditional treatment approaches? During this presentation Paula Hall and Dr Stephen Higgins will explore the unique needs of people within the ChemSex community and how we as addiction professionals can help them break unwanted, compulsive behaviours.

The session will explore the importance of working affirmatively with GSRD (Gender, Sexual, Relationship Diverse) individuals and consider what ‘positive sexuality’ may mean for them. It will also explore how using the CHOICE model of recovery can help therapists focus on future gains, rather than loss and secure confident recovery.

Published in: Healthcare
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Paula Hall: WHEN IS SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR A LIFESTYLE CHOICE AND WHEN IS IT AN ADDICTION?

  1. 1. thelaurelcentre.co.uk Paula Hall ChemSex Lifestyle Choice or Addiction?
  2. 2. thelaurelcentre.co.uk The Unholy Trinity 1. Mephedrone (M, Meow meow, M-cat) creates euphoria, alertness, affection 2. GHB/GBL (G) relaxes, generates self confidence, increases libido 3. Crystal Meth (Tina) creates euphoria, increases libido, heightens arousal Concurrent sex & drug use for the express purpose of enhancing sexual enjoyment and reducing inhibition What is ChemSex?
  3. 3. thelaurelcentre.co.uk  Increased libido  Heightened arousal and orgasm  Lowered inhibitions  Increased self confidence  Feeling ‘loved up’  Community  Fun ChemSex – the highs
  4. 4. thelaurelcentre.co.uk Panic attacks  Paranoid  Sexual health concerns  Decreased sexual functioning  Overdose  Abuse  Increased loneliness and isolation  Addiction ChemSex – the highs
  5. 5. thelaurelcentre.co.uk  Intrinsic part of gay lifestyle  Pathologises GSRD lifestyles  Heteronormative definitions of ‘positive’ sexuality  Sex will be boring, or impossible, without Chems  Losing community But if harm-reduction strategies aren’t working – addiction? Resistance to change
  6. 6. thelaurelcentre.co.uk Integrative Treatment Model C.H.O.I.C.E. C – Challenge Core Beliefs H – Have a Vision O – Overcome Compulsive Behaviours I – Identify Positive Sexuality C – Connect with Others E – Establish Confident Recovery
  7. 7. thelaurelcentre.co.uk C - Challenge Core Beliefs “I don’t need to change” • Highlight actual & potential harmful consequences • Challenge cognitive distortions “I don’t want to change” • Empathise with loss • MI techniques The CHOICE Recovery Model “I can’t change” • Psycho-educate • Identify negative self statements • Reduce shame
  8. 8. thelaurelcentre.co.uk H – Have a Vision  Identify values  Teach to dream  Create vision  Set goals The CHOICE Recovery Model
  9. 9. thelaurelcentre.co.uk O – Overcome Compulsive Behaviours  Identify and avoid triggers  Establish relapse prevention strategies  Establish recovery routines  Explore underlying trauma/attachment issues  Identify unmet needs Get off the cycle of addiction The CHOICE Recovery Model
  10. 10. thelaurelcentre.co.uk I – Identify Positive Sexuality Positive sexuality is….  In line with personal values  Respectful of self and others  Pleasurable  Mutually fulfilling (when partnered)  Not shameful  Confidence and esteem building The CHOICE Recovery Model To achieve it…..  GSRD affirmative sex education  Positive sex plan  Psychosexual therapy to overcome sexual dysfunctions
  11. 11. thelaurelcentre.co.uk C – Connect with Others “The opposite of addition is not sobriety, the opposite of addiction is connection” Johann Hari  Friends  Family  Partnered relationships  Recovery groups  12-step fellowship The CHOICE Recovery Model
  12. 12. thelaurelcentre.co.uk C – Establish Confident Recovery “Recovery is not about what you give up, it’s what you take up”  Establish emotional stability  Develop assertiveness  Daily recovery disciplines  Healthy pursuits & pastimes The CHOICE Recovery Model
  13. 13. thelaurelcentre.co.uk Summary Working with ChemSex requires a multi-disciplinary approach  Sexual health  Chemical addiction recovery  Sex addiction recovery  Psychosexual therapy ALL – from a GSRD affirmative approach
  14. 14. thelaurelcentre.co.uk Paula Hall paula@thelaurelcentre.co.uk Thank You Services (UK, Holland, Dubai, South Africa) Therapy • Individual & Couple Psychotherapy • PsychosexualTherapy • Intensive &Weekly Addiction Recovery Groups • ChemSex recovery groups • Support groups for partners Training - ISAT (Institute for Sex AddictionTraining) • Accredited Diploma in Sex Addiction Counselling • CPD

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