PsyBC Class

Continuing online sex addiction education is available through the PsyBC website with Alexandra Katehakis, Certified Sex Addiction Therapist and Certified Sex Therapist.


Sexual addiction, or Hypersexual Behavioral Disorder as is being proposed to the DSM-V committee, is a problem that therapists are increasingly seeing in their practices and want to address. We know that traumatic childhood experiences of many sex addicts led to disturbed attachment and affect dysregulation’ hallmarks of sex addiction and the reason that affective neuroscience is especially relevant to this population. In an effort to assist therapists in learning where to begin to treat these issues, this course will teach procedures for the most effective and efficient treatment of the problem including affect regulation. An integrated approach will be taken by focusing on cognitive/behavioral protocols coupled with the principles of affective neuroscience. Specifically, mother-infant attachment, early childhood trauma, and autonomic nervous system arousal will be highlighted as underlying causes of the problem.

With the advent of the Internet and the accessibility of sex in our culture it is becoming increasingly more important for clinicians to recognize signs of sexual addiction, understand what sexual addiction is, and how to treat sex addiction. The primary goal of this course is threefold: (a) to provide clinicians with practical guidelines for how to treat sexual addiction in a private practice setting; (b) to improve clinical skills by providing interventions and treatment planning when working with patients; and (c) to understand how attachment theory and neuroscience can assist us in understanding the underlying issues that drive the ‘addiction.’

This course will cover the various definitions of ‘sexual addiction,’ etiology of the problem, initial assessment, diagnosis, and treatment protocols that include regulatory processes on the part of the therapist. Emphasis will be placed on conceptualizing sexual addiction as a problem of affect dysregulation. A primary focus will be on arousal regulation through attachment with the primary therapist as an inter-active regulator. Additionally, the course is organized around Patrick Carnes, Ph.D. task-centered approach. Actual steps and components of the treatment process will be delineated to improve the clinician’s understanding and application of clinical skills in working with this population in individual therapy. Both beginning and intermediate clinicians will learn and/or improve their existing skills and knowledge of the problem. The order in which the material is covered will model the sequence of steps one would follow in actual practice when faced with helping a patient get sexually sober and eventually face the underlying causes.

Throughout the seminar, colored illustrations, graphs, and photographs will accompany rich clinical vignettes and case material. Articles that substantiate or enhance the discussion will also be made available to participants for a deeper intellectual understanding of some of the topics covered.

Course Content


  • 1.1 What is sex addiction? Definitions, biological arousal systems, criteria, consequences, and eroticized rage.
  • 1.2 Etiology and family dynamics
  • 1.3 Attunement leads to attachment styles


  • 2.1 The Neurobiology of sexual addiction
  • 2.2 Assessment, diagnosis, and the difference between treatment and psychotherapy.


  • 3.1 Treatment recommendations
  • 3.2 Addressing the partner and full disclosure
  • 3.3 Final thoughts, references, national 12-step meeting information

Educational Objectives

  1. Define and understand hypersexuality/sexual addiction and it’s etiology as related to family of origin issues.
  2. Understand how mother-infant attachment sets the stage for affect dysregulation and the making of an addict
  3. Learn how to conduct an initial assessment, understand homework assignments and basics progressing to more advanced interventions using a bodily-based approach. Understand co-morbid disorders, addictions, and the importance of proper psychiatric evaluation in assisting the clinician to write a treatment plan.
  4. Be able to carry out the basics of a treatment plan, including creating a sexual sobriety plan and other tasks to break through denial.

FACULTY: Alexandra Katehakis


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