Have Mental Health Questions? Ask a Psychiatrist Online
Welcome, I am a professional counselor, Behavioral-Consultant and relationship expert. Do you mind if I ask a few questions to better provide you with a strong practical answer?
I notice your offline right now. That's ok. I'll check back later for your response. If you agree to work with me here, I'll leave my detailed questions and you can answer them when it's most convenient for you. I'll then ask a few more clarifying questions if necessary and then provide you with a well researched formal "Answer" with supportive links to resources to further help you. Does that make sense?
Thanks. I agree.
thanks, I agree
Here are some questions to start with:
I'm going to call your behavior related to pornography "the target behavior" because it's the behavior you want to stop doing. I think that's a healthy choice. And there are evidence-based strategies to help you follow through with your choice to stop this target behavior.
1. Have you tried stopping the target behavior before? What gets in the way of your following through on the choice to stop?
2. How long have has this problem been going on?
3. How is it negatively impacting your life right now?
4. What are the long term negative consequences for continuing with this target behavior?
5. What are some of the most important benefits to you and those you love, of your following through on the choice to stop this target behavior?
Feel free to leave short point form answers to my questions, but please really think about the negative consequences this behavior is having on your life.
Thought I'd check in to see if you had a chance to respond. I'll check back again a bit later.
1. Yes, I have attempted to stop watching pornography before. I got rid of all the dvd's and even made a little calender where I could cross out every "good" day. I got to more than 30. I can not say why I started again. Boredom? Stres?
2. many years, initially I watched porn very sporadically with my boyfriend at the time, later more. I have been single for some years and then watched more and more.
3. It does not interfere with my everyday fucntioning at work and my general social behavior. I do think it impacts negatively on potential relationships and certainly contributes to my general lack of interest in a relationship. (I am gay). I have been living so long in this fantasy world of perfect bodies and perfect sex that I could not imagin what I would do in real life!
or rather: how it would be in real life...
4. Long term consequences would definately be more and more isolation and less and less chance of a healthy relationship. I have also read that watching porn can escalate into more serious sexual abnormal behavior (which fortunately have not been an issue for me).
5. I think the most important benefit to me would be to (again) have a desire to have a normal relationship with someone else, a real person!
Thanks for your advise.
Thank you for the detailed response. I really appreciate that because it helps me to provide more precise information and resources.
I strongly recommend that you learn as much as you can about an approach called cognitive behavioral relapse prevention. It's a science-based approach that was first developed to help people learn how to control problem drinking behavior.
CBRP has since become a demonstrated effective strategy for changing a wide variety addictive problem behaviors, from drug addiction to internet pornography addictions.
The reason I asked about the negative long term consequences and the aspects of this target behavior (watching porn) on your life, is because that's one of the core strategies in CBRP: to really become aware of the positive long term benefits of stopping the behavior and the negative, life interfering long term consequences of continuing the behavior.
The idea is that contrasting the short term, short lived "payoffs" for the behavior as a means of increasing motivation to change with the long term benefits of stopping vs the long term harm and risks associated with continuing the behavior, is a powerful source of motivation. (I see you're in the chat. I'm just going to finish typing my answer and then provide some good resources).
You've got the goal defined and thinking about and and exploring negative and positive consequences is a powerful way to get and stay motivated when things get difficult (high risk situations for relapse back into the target behavior), but you also should have a set of strategies to make and maintain the behavior change.....
A second core strategy in CBRP is to learn to identify "high risk situations" and conditions (these can be situations, feelings, places there are often many triggers inside and outside a person that elicit the target behavior)....
You then come up with a strong basic plan for alternative more healthy and desirable behavioral choices. For example, I've worked with clients who have health and fitness goals. So they'll come up with a strategy that includes going to exercise at a gym during high risk times or when triggered for the target behavior.
Let me take a few minutes to get you some resources to really start learning about CBRP. One "replacement behavior" I always recommend is reading about this approach in place of the target behavior. That allows you to learn during triggering events. Once you learn the approach you can start to implement it more systematically....
I recently found a great radio interview by the founding researcher of CBRP. The interviewer is not the best sounding, but the interviewee is now considered a world leader in behavior change......back in a moment...
thank you for your advise, it does make alot of sense! will certainly try
I'm still looking for that radio interview. Here's a great paper that explains the approach to start with:
Thanks again, I will certainly read it. Do you think I should see a therapist to help me or could I try on my own first?
I would learn as much as you can. I'd start with replacing the target behavior (related to pornography) with learning over the next few days, and start to really try to implement the strategies yourself. It makes a lot of sense to keep a diary if you can where you outline your efforts, thoughts and feelings.
Working with a cognitive behavioral therapist is a great idea if you feel you need additional help. Do you have insurance coverage? Also, do you have an employee assistance program?
Ok I will do that. I do have insurance coverage.
Alright. Anything else I can help you with today?
No. Thank you again. I really appreciate it.
Well I really wish you all the best. Please press the green accept button at sign out and I'd love to have a sentence or 2 of positive feedback for my customers to see, if you have 30 seconds. Thanks for bringing your question to JA.com.