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Therapy Blog for Orem, American Fork, Spanish Fork & South Jordan
Pornography Counseling: Find Recovery and Healing
Most of you who use pornography struggle to feel emotions. Aside from shame, that is. Pornography is, after all, a shame-based experience. After years as a marriage and family therapist and doing pornography counseling, I have noticed that it is not that you cannot or do not feel your emotions. Rather, it’s that they can be overwhelming, confusing and difficult for you. So, you avoid them by using pornography. This avoidance process is damaging and goes against healthy emotional living.
Pornography floods your brain and body with chemicals that feel good – such as dopamine. When this happens, the uncomfortable emotions you feel are covered up or avoided. They are numbed out. When you are feeling sad, for example, you feel numb instead. At least numbness does not seem to hurt as much as sadness. This avoidant behavior leads to weakened emotional muscles and more pornography use. This cycle continues on and on to the point where your emotional muscles are so weak that it does not take much to trigger you to use. So, what do you do if you are struggling with using pornography?
Find a Pornography Counselor
Addiction to, or even recreational use of, pornography is difficult to let go of on your own. A competent, caring pornography counselor will know how to help you let go of this avoidant behavior and help you start feeling your emotions. It takes consistent, sustained effort once you are in therapy. You will experience uncomfortable emotions as you start therapy for pornography problems. Remember that this is part of the process. You need to feel instead of avoiding (Related Article: Coping Or Avoiding? Why Knowing The Difference Matters). This is one of the main goals of therapy for this issue.
Start Feeling Your Emotions
Simply put – you need to start feeling your emotions. This involves recognizing them in the first place and then picking them up and feeling them. Then, and only then, will you cope with those emotions. This is where you let them go. Most of you who use pornography tend to go from recognizing your emotions, to trying to cope with them. Since you have not felt them and picked them up in the first place, this effort to ‘cope’ with emotions is actually avoidance. This is unhealthy. The more you are able to pick up and own your uncomfortable feelings, the stronger your emotional muscles become. The less you need pornography to avoid.
Connect with Others
Two hallmark actions that most of you adopt when you are using pornography are 1), anger and 2), withdrawal. First, anger acts as a secondary emotion that covers up your uncomfortable, primary emotion. For example, you might feel hurt that your spouse did not acknowledge your hard work. Instead of telling them this, you get angry and lash out. This anger covers up your hurt and gives you the illusion that you are protecting yourself from further hurt. You attack instead of show vulnerability.
Second, you will find yourself withdrawing from others in general and definitely after you use. After months and years of withdrawing, you might not have a lot of friends, or at least are not emotionally close to them. If this is the case, opening up about what you are feeling to those whom you trust and are close with will help you in this battle against pornography. As a marriage and family therapist, I have helped many couples find healing and connecting even with an issue of pornography present in their marriage. This connection with your partner can be part of dealing with pornography in a healthy manner.
You can do this! Keep trying and you will obtain your goals. Let others around you be there for you and help you. Reach out if you or a loved one needs help overcoming pornography issues. Many have overcome this very issue. It is possible and takes a lot of deliberate work. Know that there are those out there that can help and are willing to go the extra mile with you so that you can be free.
We have a counseling center for pornography counseling close to you with fantastic marriage and family therapists.
Schedule a therapy session for pornography problems in Orem, South Jordan, American Fork and Spanish Fork.