This two-part episode is a response to a panel of therapists and a neuroscientist who in an earlier episode (347–348) challenge the idea that pornography is physically addicting, suggesting instead that problematic pornography usage is a symptom of deeper issues and therefore the best therapeutic approaches focus less on pornography and more on uncovering these underlying pathologies. In this episode, a panel of therapists and a neurosurgeon whose research centers on the biology behind why the brain seeks what it seeks present why they believe the “addiction” model is appropriate, and share how much richer and more diverse are the therapeutic models they employ than what the earlier panel believes, and is even richer in options than traditional approaches. This discussion also looks much more broadly than the previous episodes into “sex addiction” and its treatment.
This panel, featuring Jackie Pack (LCSW, CSAT–S, CMAT), Alexandra Katehakis (MFT, CSAT-S, CST-S), Stefanie Carnes (Ph.D., CSAT-S), and Donald Hilton (M.D.), along with Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon, dive deep into brain structures and pathways, dopamine and reward and seeking centers, and ways that today’s pornography might be classified as a supra-normal stimulus—meaning that it can elicit responses in humans that are much greater than occur in natural situations. The team dives into a great deal of complex scientific material but keeps things understandable and maintains terrific balance. In the final sections of the podcast, they also discuss misunderstandings about Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT) certifications, introduce its therapeutic models, and discuss the role that religion can play in both creating difficulties for and helping bring about increased sexual health.
ATTN (Wed, 16 November): We have just now closed the commenting for this episode. Much has been shared here, and we appreciate the thoughtfulness many showed in sharing their views and arguments. We will keep the comments closed but still visible.
Donald L. Hilton, Jr. MD, “Pornography Addiction–A Supra-normal Stimulus Considered in the Context of Neuroplasticity,” Socioaffective Neuroscience and Psychology 3 (2013).
Donald L. Hilton, Jr. MD, “‘High’ Desire or ‘Merely’ an Addiction? A Response to Steele, et al.” Socioaffective Neuroscience and Psychology 4 (2014).
Donald L. Hilton, Jr., Stephanie Carnes, and Todd L. Love, “Neurobioloy of Behavioral Addictions: Sex Addiction,” in Neurobiology of Addiction, Alan C. Swain, MD, F. Gerard Moeller, MD., and Marijn Lijffijt, Ph.D., eds (Oxford University Press, 2016)
The list of 10 Criteria for Sex Addiciton (that I mentioned in the episode I would post) can be found in the chapter from the book linked to immediately above.
Alexandra Katehakis, Sex Addiction as Affect Dysregulation: A Neurobiologically Informed Holistic Treatment (Norton, 2016)
Stefanie Carnes, Ph.D., Facing Heartbreak: Steps to Recovery for Partners of Sex Addicts (Gentle Path Press, 2012)
Jackie Pack, co-host, Thanks for Sharing podcast