Weinstein Is Giving A Bad Name To Sex Addiction

Sex Addiction, Harvey Weinstein
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Harvey Weinstein can't blame ‘Sex Addiction’ for his alleged assaults

In case you haven't seen the news lately, or are coming out of a device-free coma, Harvey Weinstein has been accused of a series of horrific sexual acts, including trying to trade sex for boosting women's careers, exposing himself to unwilling women, and even rape. (A spokesperson for Weinstein denies accusations of nonconsensual sex.) Notable Hollywood stars such as Angelina Jolie, Ashley Judd, Asia Argento, and Gwyneth Paltrow, have all come forward, and Weinstein has been fired from the company he cofounded. His wife left him, and Weinstein plans to seek therapy for sexual issues.

Weinstein is certainly not the first celebrity to respond to a sex scandal by announcing that he'd seek sex therapy. But whether Weinstein has a diagnosable disorder remains to be seen. Criticisms that his treatment pledge have sparked have merit: Compulsive sexual conduct is separate from violating consent in sexual relations. Additionally, turning to therapy as a remedy for criminal behavior can send the wrong message about psychological support. An openness to seeking therapy is vital for people who have engaged in sexual harassment in order to transform their conduct, Stamoulis told HuffPost ― but it shouldn’t be used as a sole form of retribution for a person’s actions.

Why Sex Therapy?

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In his initial statement to The New York Times, Weinstein referred to his behavior as his "demons" and spoke about recovering through tutorship and therapy:

"My journey now will be to learn about myself and conquer my demons. Over the last year I've asked Lisa Bloom to tutor me and she's put together a team of people. I've brought on therapists and I plan to take a leave of absence from my company and to deal with this issue head on."

Lisa Bloom, a prominent civil rights attorney who was instrumental in the sexual harassment lawsuit that ousted Bill O'Reilly, has since abandoned Weinstein, and he has made no formal announcement about what kind of therapy he'd be seeking; only that it would be in Europe.

On Thursday, Bob Weinstein, Harvey's younger brother, said his brother hadn't yet entered a program. “My brother Harvey is obviously a very sick man," Bob Weinstein told NBC. "I’ve urged him to seek immediate professional help because he is in dire need of it. His remorse and apologies to the victims of his abuse are hollow."

What Are The Different Kinds Of Sex Therapy?

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While therapy can be helpful in dealing with sexual misconduct, there's a difference between the treatment of hypersexual behavior, when a person is compulsively drawn to sex even when it is destructive, and sex offending, when a person pursues nonconsensual sex, according to Dr. Rory Reid, a research psychologist and assistant professor of psychiatry at UCLA who specializes in sexual and gambling addictions. “Therapy needs to be appropriately matched with a person’s issues,” Dr. Reid tells Bustle, noting that sex offending is typically criminal in nature and violates the rights of others. "Treatment for sex addiction looks different than treatment for sex offending."

Masters and Johnsons Approach

Masters and Johnson pioneered sex therapy thus many of their practices are still used today. If a therapist is taking a Masters and Johnson approach to treatment it will typically begin with extensive questions about sexual history and explicit details about the physical nature of sex acts. Patients will be accompanied by both a male and female therapist. This therapy may take place at a clinic or workshop which can last several days. Those who partake in the Masters and Johnson approach are often required to have a physical before treatment and the counseling can be intensive. There may also be the suggestion of certain techniques such as “sensate focus.”

Kaplan’s Approach

Kaplan’s approach relies on many of the same techniques as Masters and Johnson such as talk counseling and psychoanalysis. This approach tends to focus more on the surface elements and delves deeper only if necessary. Dr. Helen Singer Kaplan believed that many sexual issues had superficial causes. For example, a patient may be having sexual problems simply because they lack knowledge and understanding. If this is the case, simply offering information and instruction can be helpful. If a therapist is taking Kaplan’s Approach, couples or individuals will generally meet once or twice a week and continue to live at home.

The PLISSIT Model Approach

PLISSIT is an acronym for Permission, Limited Information, Specific Suggestions, Intensive Therapy. The approach relies on four very specific methods of treatment each one specifically designed to take the patient deeper and deeper into the therapeutic process.

The Cognitive Therapy Approach and The Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Approach

Cognitive therapy (CT) is a form of psychotherapy. Therapists use CT to change how patients respond and behave. A person’s beliefs are questioned and assumptions are challenged. An example of CT can be offered using a patient who suffers from stress related premature ejaculation (PE). The patient worries about not satisfying their partner which adds stress and causes PE. The patient’s condition becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The therapist’s role is to break the negative cycle. The goal is to identify the root causes of the stress and relieve them over time.