Sex Addiction with Brad Salzman – licensed psychotherapist with a practice specializing in sexual addiction!!!
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Sex Addiction with Brad Salzman – licensed psychotherapist with a practice specializing in sexual addiction!!!

Porn movies! Sex! Sex couples! Sexual addiction! And yet …
In my interview with Brad Salzman licensed psychotherapist with a practice specializing in sexual addiction.

INTERVIEW

Brad Salzman

Brad Salzman, LCSW, CSAT, is the Founder of the New York Sexual Addiction Center and the Director of the KIVUN Israel Recovery Center. He offers S-kype therapy sessions for sex addicts and their partners around the world as well as Intensive Therapy Programs in Israel.

First of all, is sex addiction even a real thing?

Yes, sex addiction is very real, but people are only starting to understand that now as the Internet continues to pervade more and more of our lives. No one questions whether or not alcoholism is a real disease, because everyone can see what alcohol does to people, and everyone knows what happens to people who can’t stop drinking. Likewise, I don’t think anyone questions that people get addicted to drugs.

Brad Salzman, LCSW, CSAT (on right), together with Dr. Patrick Carnes, the Founder of the International Institute of Trauma and Addiction Therapy (IITAP) and the pioneering researcher who first coined the term "Sex Addiction" in the 1970s.

Brad Salzman, LCSW, CSAT (on right), together with Dr. Patrick Carnes, the Founder of the International Institute of Trauma and Addiction Therapy (IITAP) and the pioneering researcher who first coined the term “Sex Addiction” in the 1970s.

It’s just something that we accept as fact. But the idea that someone can get addicted to sex — how can that be possible, when sex is something natural? Isn’t sex something that everyone is supposed to want? However, in recent times, we have seen that even natural drives can get hijacked and become an addiction. Food is another natural desire, and something we need to survive. However, the world is struggling with an obesity epidemic because people are getting addicted to eating unhealthy foods. Similarly, we are now seeing an epidemic of sex addiction around the world because people are getting themselves addicted to unhealthy forms of sex.

Sex Addiction is a growing epidemic around the world and affects men and women, young and old, rich and poor.

Sex Addiction is a growing epidemic around the world and affects men and women, young and old, rich and poor.

And the Internet is really enabling that to happen. Internet pornography is actually a very potent, intoxicating drug that gets people hooked and dependent on it. And for many it can act as a sort of “gateway drug” to other risky and destructive sexual behaviors such as going to strip clubs, massage parlors, prostitution, extramarital affairs, and anonymous sex, to name a few.

How did you become a sex addiction therapist?

I did not originally intend to specialize in this area. After I got my Master’s from Columbia, I started off working in mental health clinics, where I treated many different types of people with many different kinds of problems. I treated people with the usual, garden variety types of mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks, social phobia, along with some really unusual cases, like one client who believed he was a werewolf.

Brad Salzman delivering a lecture to parents about how to keep children safe on the Internet.

Brad Salzman delivering a lecture to parents about how to keep children safe on the Internet.

I learned a tremendous amount in that setting, because I was forced to learn how to work with clients with all kinds of struggles and challenges. After that, I worked at a university counseling center, where I did therapy with college kids and graduate students. While I was working there, I had a lot of students who came in talking about their problems with Internet pornography and how they felt it was ruining their lives. It kept them up all night and robbed them of their sleep. They couldn’t concentrate on their studies. They felt like they were not able to date or relate to women normally. Many talked about feeling like they could not stop, even though they saw the damage it was causing and badly wanted to stop.

When I discussed these cases with my colleagues, I quickly realized that other therapists did not seem to understand how serious this problem was for the students. They did not realize that we were seeing the beginnings of what would turn into a tsunami of sexual addiction over the next few years. At that time, Internet porn was still something new. Few therapists understood that is was also very different, very powerful, and very destructive.

That’s when I decided that I wanted to get more training in treating this problem and to become an expert in the field. That led me to the International Institute of Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP), founded by Dr. Patrick Carnes, the world’s leading authority and expert on sex addiction treatment. I started the training to become a Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist (CSAT), and shortly thereafter I started my private practice specializing in assessing and treating sex addicts and their partners.

I know you offer online therapy via Skype to your clients. Does it work?

It sure does. Like any other new technology, it takes a while for society to get used to it, but webcam therapy, using Skype or other similar platforms, definitely works. I still remember as a kid more than 30 years ago when personal computers first came out. Now they are as much a part of the culture as the telephone. Same with the Internet and smartphones. Now it’s just assumed that you will be able to get WiFi if you go into a Starbucks or are staying in a hotel.

There comes a time for every addict when they realize that they have to stop their destructive behaviors before it destroys them and everything dear to them.

There comes a time for every addict when they realize that they have to stop their destructive behaviors before it destroys them and everything dear to them.

The idea of doing therapy over Skype actually makes a lot of sense. Skype offers both therapist and client a way to communicate that is close to communicating in person, because therapist and client can see each other’s faces, read each other’s facial expressions, see their body language. They say that when we communicate with each other, only about 7% of the communication is the words themselves, and 93% is in the body language and facial expressions. On Skype you are able to get a lot more of that nonverbal information that is so important to understanding and being understood.

In addition, it gives clients some advantages in that they can do therapy from their own home, where they feel safe to be more vulnerable and open about themselves.Plus they can avoid the bothers of having to commute to your therapist’s office and wait for your appointment. With Skype therapy there is no traveling, no waiting. And for those people who are hesitant about doing therapy, it just makes it that much easier to try. Of course, I still offer in-person therapy in my offices in Israel. There is a place for each kind of therapy, and each one has its own advantages.

I also see that you offer something called “Intensive Therapy”. What is an Intensive Therapy Program, and how is it different than “regular” once-a-week therapy?

In the world of addiction treatment, the idea of Intensive Therapy is not new, but to people unacquainted with that world, it may seem like a very novel idea. The idea of Intensive Therapy is doing one or two weeks of intensive daily therapy sessions, where the whole day is spent in therapy, for 5 or 7 or 10 or 14 days in a row. As you can imagine, that is not just intensive, it’s also really intense.

You can have a great therapy session with your therapist and walk out feeling really inspired and say to yourself, “Yes, that was great. I really do want to change my life.”

Problem is by the time you walk out to your car you missed a call from your boss and he’s yelling at you for something or your wife needs you to pick something up on the way home or the school is calling because your kid is in trouble, and all of a sudden your recovery has to take a backseat to the demands of “real life”.

Recovery is a journey that begins with the first step.

Recovery is a journey that begins with the first step.

Unfortunately, those great plans you had to actually try and implement some of the things you learned in your therapy session may not enter your mind again until you are driving to your next therapy appointment next week.

So that’s why intensives work so well. For one or two weeks, you are only focused on your life, the challenges that you need to face, the roadblocks that have been keeping you stuck, and the steps that you need to take to get healthy and be the person you want to be. Now the things that really matter take a front seat, and all the other stuff has to wait for now. Clients who do an Intensive are able to make huge gains in their personal recovery, and I have personally witnessed many clients reach a turning point in their lives while doing this kind of intensive work. I highly recommend it for people who feel like they are stuck in their lives and feel that regular therapy is not doing it for them and want to maximize their time. Imagine doing a year’s work of therapy in one week, and you can understand how it works and why it can cause such dramatic changes.

I offer personal one-on-one Intensive Therapy Programs, customized to each client’s individual needs, as well as group Intensive Therapy Programs, which also include group therapy, which adds a whole other dimension into personal recovery.

Lastly, since this is a lifestyle blog, what do you do when you are not doing therapy? Do you have any hobbies or other interests?

I feel very fortunate that I have other things in my life besides my work. I am blessed to have a wonderful family: my wonderful wife who puts up with me, and three beautiful kids who put sunshine in my day. I also like working out a few times a week, training in Krav Maga and kickboxing, and raising ducks and rabbits in my backyard. I get a big kick out of just chilling out with my animals in the backyard and watching them do their thing. It’s therapeutic.


Brad Salzman – Master of Science, Columbia University. Bachelor of Arts, Yale University.

Training

  • Certified Sex Addiction Therapist – Certified by Dr. Patrick Carnes, Founder of IITAP EMDR;
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy;
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy;Brad-Salzman_psychotherapis
  • Gottman Method Couples Counseling;
  • Sexual Addiction Therapy;
  • Interpersonal Therapy;
  • Hypnotherapy;
  • Improv Comedy.

Professional Memberships

  • International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals;
  • American Psychological Association;
  • National Association of Social Workers;
  • Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health;
  • Nefesh International Network of Orthodox Mental Health Professionals.

Brad Salzman, web site: www.bradsalzman.com