Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Help available for partners of people with sex/pornography addiction

  • Lethbridge program offers support for partners, from the start of recovery

LifeStar Alberta -
Recent news reports of celebrities being accused of sexual misconduct are airing with increasing frequency. The accused may or may not be sex addicts, but the frequency of complaints has sparked plenty of discussion around watercoolers about inappropriate sexual behaviour.  National Addiction Awareness Week in November provides an opportunity to shine a light on sex and pornography addiction and the hope that recovery can bring – for both addicts and their partners.

November also marks the eighth year of operation for Thibodeau & Thibodeau and LifeStar Alberta in Lethbridge. Steven and Jennifer Thibodeau, Certified Sex Addiction Therapists-Supervisors, offer a general therapy practice as well as a specialized approach to the treatment of pornography and sexual compulsive behaviours in their Lethbridge practice. 

“We are unique in that partners are part of the treatment process right from the start of recovery,” says Jennifer, MSW, Clinical Social Worker.

“Both are working through the recovery process individually in separate psychotherapy groups, yet together through working our program. They both learn similar concepts and develop a mutual language in recovery. The material is co-ordinated to bring both parties down the path of recovery while attending to their own healing.”

The Internet has made it almost effortless for people to access pornography and/or hook up with others for sexual encounters, which can contribute to addiction very quickly. Steven, PhD and Registered Marriage and Family Therapist, says their multidisciplinary team oftherapists work together to always be mindful of the relationship throughout the couple’s participation in the program.

“Our experience,” says Steven, “is that when both the partner and the person struggling with sexual compulsive behaviours attend our program together, their relationship frequently becomes stronger and healthier, versus those who attend the program without their significant person. A deeper appreciation and understanding of one another’s unique struggles is developed while individual healing is occurring.”

Clients from as far away as Pennsylvania, Toronto, Winnipeg and Saskatoon, from all parts of Alberta, B.C. and the Northwest Territories have come to LifeStar Alberta in Lethbridge for help – addicts as well as partners; people of all ages. LifeStar is not a franchise – the Thibodeaus purchase material from the LifeStar organization, which was founded in the U.S., but have customized delivery of the program to reflect their own approach to treatment. 

“This addiction is very much an intimacy disorder,” Jennifer says. “It affects significant relationships in profound and damaging ways. Partner healing is as important as the recovery of the person struggling with sexual compulsive behaviours. However, those who do not have partners also attend the program and experience their personal successes.”

The Thibodeaus use an innovative, proven three-phase treatment program. This intensive outpatient group-therapy approach gives participants the resources, support, and structure needed to experience a successful recovery from the damaging effects of pornography and sexual addiction.

Each phase of recovery is specifically designed to gently uncover, yet aggressively heal, the destructive patterns that create and maintain addictive behaviors. Workbooks, along with other materials, help provide education and structure throughout the different phases of treatment.

Treatment reaches beyond tackling the addiction to helping people reclaim their lives in a healthy way and to mend and improve their relationships in ways they never thought possible.

If you are struggling with a sexual addiction, or are close to someone who is, and would like more information, contact 403-849-7827 or visit

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