Clinical Specialities

SEX/PORN ADDICTION

Do you feel you spend excessive amounts of time thinking about sex, being sexual, checking apps for messages or new sexual pursuits, or spending too much time with porn?

"Sex Addiction" is a broad term to define a set of behaviors related to sexuality that are excessive and have a negative impact/negative consequences on one's life. You decide which behaviors have become problematic for you in your life- healthy sex is highly individualized! Recent research suggests that the effects of sexually addictive or compulsive behaviors affect the brain in the same way as chemical addictions. 

Sex Addiction (or problematic sexual behaviors) present as many different forms, for example: 

Pornography

Anonymous Sex

Online Sex

Masturbation 

Fantasy 

Love/Relationships

Exhibitionism/Voyeurism

Other Sexual Pursuits

People who come in for help with problems related to sex and sexuality often report:

Feeling unable to stop the behavior(s) despite trying

Feeling guilty or shameful after engaging in the behavior(s)

Obsessing about the behavior(s)

Spending too much time thinking about the behavior(s), pursuing the behavior(s), or engaging in the behavior(s)

Unable to be intimate with their partner

It is important to note that treatment for sex addiction does not always mean the extinction of sex altogether. You decide which sexual behaviors have become problematic in your life and you decide what "Healthy Sexuality" may look like for you. I am here to support your goals in creating a healthy, sexually-fulfilling life. Please contact me with any questions or to set up your first session.

Other terms to describe "Sex Addiction" 

Problems with Sex 

Problematic Sexual Behavior

Sexual Compulsivity 

Hyper-Sexual Behaviors

Impulse-Control Disorder

Obsessive-Compulsive Sexual Behaviors

EMDR

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a powerful, evidence-based approach to therapy that has been proven effective for relieving symptoms of trauma as well as other mental health issues. Using bilateral stimulation (BLS: small vibration), EMDR rapidly integrates and reprocesses information through activating neural networks in both the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Through this process, stuck memories are unlocked, allowing the brain's information processing system to naturally heal emotional wounds and return to a state of equilibrium.

Some mental health symptoms EMDR treats include: 

Anxiety
Depression
Phobias, fears
Attachment issues
Relationship issues
Disturbing memories
Addiction, substance abuse
Eating issues
Failure to launch
Artistic blocks
Ruminating thought patterns
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

For more information on EMDR click here 

Relationships

Do you feel unable to engage in emotional and/or sexual intimacy with your partner? Do you and your partner have more conflicts or tension than you are happy with? Do you find yourself holding secrets from your partner?

Have you been cheated on by your partner and are wondering if recovery is possible?

Learn ways to create a deeper connection with your partner, regain intimacy, and increase happiness. Many factors contribute to relationship dysfunction.

Improve Communication

One of the biggest barriers to a healthy relationship is breakdown in communication. For instance, for many gay relationships this may present like a competitive-dynamic, a drive to prove to the other "I'm right and you're wrong," or not understanding the ideas and behaviors of the other leading to frustration, conflict, and general annoyance. Couple's therapy is a place to talk about hot-button topics in a safe, structured setting so that you and your partner can develop skills necessary to problem-solve and communicate outside of the therapy room.

 

Open Relationships

Open Relationships are complex, exciting, difficult - and all of the above. If structured and conducted carefully, they can be a wonderfully rich experience filled with fun, exciting sex, fulfilling connections and friendships, and emotional closeness. The keyword to remember is: boundaries. Learn what your boundaries are, learn when you are out of your "window of tolerance," and learn how to communicate this to your partner, including how to to communicate feelings of jealousy as it arises.  

For those needing help being more intimate with their partner:

Whether or not a sex/porn addiction is present, there are many reasons for infidelity. If you find yourself cheating on your partner, holding secrets, and are bearing shame/guilt know that recovery is possible. I help many couples and individuals through the process of repairing their relationships and support them along the process of trust and healing. 

For Partners of Sex Addicts or for those who have been the victim of infidelity:

Post Infidelity Stress Disorder (PISD- similar to PTSD) is common in those who have been the victim of infidelity. Many of the symptoms of PTSD are also present in PISD. Symptoms include: 

Intense fear, helplessness, or horror when reminded of the affair.

Re-experiencing of the event, flashbacks, nightmares, or intrusive images/memories of the affair.

Heightened Anxiety.

Fear of the affair happening again (constantly checking partner's phone, for instance).

Emotional Numbing and Deep Depression.

Anger and Rage.

Embarrassment and Shame.

Treatment includes: 

EMDR 

Trauma-Based Interventions

CBT

Mindfulness

Attachment-Based EMDR

Psychodynamic Interventions

LGBTQ

 

I have unique insight into the challenges that gay men face. My experience and specialities focus largely on gay men, lesbians, transgendered, questioning and bi-sexual individuals and couples. 

 

Common Issues that I treat:

 

Relationships Challenges

Infidelity 

Sex Addictions/Compulsions

Codependency

Compulsive App/Technology behaviors

Chemical Addictions

Trauma 

Self-Esteem 

Questioning Sexuality

  Intersex/Gender Queer

Transitioning

SUBSTANCE ABUSE

Addiction is like a disease that affects your brain and your behavior- it affects your ability to make healthy choices. You have control over your choice to start using drugs, but once you start, their pleasurable effect makes you want to keep using them. When you become addicted to alcohol or other drugs, your brain actually changes in certain ways so that a powerful urge to use drugs controls your behavior.

Indicators of a substance use problem include: 

Several failed attempts to control/limit use

Excessive time spent using, finding, or recovering from the substance

Needing more of the substance to get the same desired effect

Development of Tolerance and Withdrawal Symptoms

Cravings

Common Negative Effects of substance abuse include:

Legal issues

Financial Debt

Shame/Guilt 

Anxiety/Panic Attacks/Depression

Work/School problems

Relationship Problems

Commonly Abused Substances:

Alcohol 

Benzos (i.e Xanax)

Opiates (i.e OxyContin)

Heroin

Marijuana

Methamphetamine 

Stimulants (i.e adderall)

Cocaine

Stages of Change:

1) Pre-contemplation: Individuals are not even thinking about changing their addictive behavior. Individuals may not see it as a problem, or they think that others who point out the problem are exaggerating.

2) Contemplation: Individuals in this stage of change are willing to consider the possibility that they have a problem, and the possibility offers hope for change. However, people who are contemplating change are on the fence. They are usually interested in learning more about addiction.

3) Action: Individuals in this stage of change put their plan into action. This stage involves making some form of commitment to stop using. Individuals in this stage may enter counseling or some form of outpatient treatment, start to attend AA meetings or tell their family members and friends about their decision.

4) Maintenance: In this stage, a sober life is becoming firmly established, and the threat of a return to old patterns becomes less intense and less frequent. 

SOCIAL ANXIETY / GENERALIZED ANXIETY

Social anxiety

Social anxiety is the fear of  interaction with other people that brings on self-consciousness, intense fear of embarrassment, feelings of being negatively judged or evaluated, and, this will lead to avoiding social situations altogether.

Social anxiety is the fear of being judged and evaluated negatively by other people, leading to feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, embarrassment, humiliation, and depression.

Generalized Anxiety

This disorder involves anticipating disaster nearly all the time, often worrying excessively about several different areas of like such as health, money, family, relationships, school, friends, or work. Sometimes just the thought of getting through the day can trigger anxiety.

Common experiences include:

Can't control excessive worrying

Difficulty falling or staying asleep

Muscle tension

Expect the worst

Worry excessively even when there are no signs of trouble

Unable to relax

Irritable

Easily startled

Difficulty concentrating or the mind goes blank

Panic Disorder 

A panic attack is a sudden rush of uncomfortable physical symptoms coupled with thoughts of impending doom (making a scene, heart attack, not being able to breathe).  Although the first panic attack may take place in a distinct situation, further episodes are unpredictable.

Common experiences include: 

Racing heart

Feeling weak, faint, or dizzy

Tingling or numbness in the hands and fingers

Sense of terror, or impending doom or death

Feeling sweaty or having chills

Chest pains

Breathing difficulties

Feeling a loss of control

Feeling like one is "going crazy" or "just need to get out of here."

Treatment Involves:

CBT 

DBT

EMDR

Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

DEPRESSION

Depression may not look like the stereotypical image of depression- it doesn't typically just mean someone is sad. 

Common symptoms of depression include: 

Anger, easily annoyed, irritable, or easily frustrated.

Loss of interest in things/activities that you once found to be interesting or enjoyable.

Problems with focusing or concentrating - feeling "zoned out." 

Thinking negatively about yourself- that voice inside your head is consistently telling you how much you have "messed up," for example.

Changes in eating or sleeping.

Spending more time alone. 

Feeling lost. 

Treatment includes (one or a combination):

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

Psychodynamic/Psychoanalysis

EMDR

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Contact me today to schedule your therapy session or for a free initial consultation.

Address

640 S San Vicente Blvd Ste 280 / 293 Los Angles, CA 90048

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(562) 400-8133

©2017 BY DOMINIC P. VALDES, LCSW.