How sex addiction is treated

Golfer Tiger Woods is believed to be undergoing therapy for sex addiction at a Mississippi clinic called Gentle Path. But what, exactly, does treatment involve?

In today’s Science Times, Donald G. McNeil Jr. explores the world of sex addiction therapy and explains how some clinics operate. He writes:

Bart Mandell, a New York sex-addiction therapist and chairman emeritus of the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals, who trained at Gentle Path, said Woods’s daily schedule presumably included morning meditation, exercise — including obstacle courses to build trust with other patients and eye movement exercises to “get through his defenses.”

It would also have included interviews probing for childhood trauma or abandonment, several daily rounds of group therapy, art therapy — in which he would draw stories about himself, and “a tremendous amount of writing his sexual history,” including his first memories of sexual arousal and first encounter with pornography, all the way up through the present. Mavis Humes Baird, another therapist familiar with Gentle Path, said he would have been separated from family contact for weeks and forbidden masturbation, pornography, contact with female fans or anything else that might engage his sex drive.

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