Sex Addictions and Sexually Compulsive Behaviours Counselling in Belfast and Bangor, Northern Ireland

Karen Lawrence
BACP Senior Accredited Counsellor & Supervisor
Member of ATSAC

Individual, Couples & Family Counselling
Sex Addiction Services
Belfast and Bangor, Northern Ireland

07989 756 164

Karen Lawrence

"Day and evening appointments available."

BACP Registered and Accredited

"All the evidence suggests that it is how you manage change that matters, not the fact that you experience such a change in your life."

Suzie Hayman

tranquil landscape

What is Sex Addiction?

Sex Addiction is thought to affect between 6% and 20% of the UK population. Sex addiction occurs when sexual behaviour is preoccupying and out of control. The sexual acting out behaviour is pursued in spite of devastating and harmful consequences where work, relationships, health, finances, social lifestyles and integrity are seriously compromised.

Sexual behaviours that can become addictive are masturbation, pornography, internet chat rooms, use of webcams, social networking sites, sex texting, phone sex, visiting prostitutes or escorts, multiple affairs, sex with strangers, pursing a fetish or even sexually offending behaviour. The emotional consequences with feelings of isolation, guilt and shame can often re-ignite the addiction and send the addict spiralling back into the behaviours as a way to cope. Shame if often one of the most difficult emotions to manage, with shame being thought of to sex addiction like oxygen is to a fire.

"I called Karen when I was at my lowest. I'd been living with a secret most of my life and at the age of 36 my life was unraveling. I reached out to Karen and after a short wait we arranged to meet. I can honestly say that I am a different person. I've never felt so at one with my mind and emotions, thanks to Karen I feel in control"

After more than 10 years of failing to deal with my cycle of addiction, I sought the help of a professional (Karen) Throughout my life I was always reluctant to speak to anyone about my problems let alone a stranger. However Karen from day 1 did not judge me, through her genuine interest and concern allowed me to explore and deal with issues of the past that were fuelling my addiction. Most of all Karen allowed me to more fully understand that my addiction did not make me a 'bad' person. Even though I can still struggle, Karen taught me ways to identify and prevent triggers, to stay free from my addiction."

Many people with sexually addictive behaviour are desperate to stop, try to stop but find they cannot stop. This is partly because of the mood-alternating experience of the sexual activity where a powerful cocktail of chemicals are released by the body. These chemicals from within the body can 'hijack' the mind bringing about a sense of euphoria similar to 'the hit' of other addictive chemicals taken from outside the body such as alcohol and illegal drugs.

The function of sex addiction is to anaesthetise painful feelings which cannot otherwise be coped with. Sex addiction is therefore a copping mechanism for boredom, depression, profound loneliness, sadness, anger, stress and pressure fear and anxiety and feeling empty or dead inside.

It is not unusual for those affected by sex addiction to have other addictive problems such as alcohol, drugs, gambling, food, money and work. Effective treatment can assess and address how these addictions interact with each other.

I tried other counsellors to overcome my sex addiction only to find I relapsed. On the verge of giving up that I would ever recover and the possibility of the collapse of my relationship and loss of my children, I discovered Karen and decided to give counselling one last try. I am really glad I did.
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In therapy in treating sex addiction an assessment is made. Following that, treatment is mapped out to both understand the behaviours and offer ways to change them. Some of the goals for treatment are to help clients to stop, gain insight into why the behaviours happen, restore integrity and develop a healthy relationship with sex.

If you are unsure whether you have a sex addiction you can click on Am I a Sex Addict? and answer the following questions.