I have done quite a bit of work in the area of trauma but somewhere along the way managed to completely miss the concepts and design of Trust-Based Relational Intervention. Oddly enough, the overall precepts are simple: A child who has undergone at least one traumatic event may not be capable of being taught compliance with trust the way "normal" children tend to do. This is especially true of children who have undergone multiple or chronic traumas as seen in many children in the foster and adoption lists.
The parts of the brain that need to be active for compliance and self-regulation are borderline inaccessible to these children because they have been in survival - flight, fight, or freeze - mode for years. The current model of discipline doesn't allow for children, teens, and even adults who are caught in early stages of regulation - requiring some if not all assistance in doing so from others - considering any negative behaviours to be willful disobedience instead of survival.
Think of the brain like a series of connected cities. The parts of the brain required for survival are very well connected - lots of back roads and main routes - while the parts of the brain required for executive function and decision making are not so well connected and, in fact, are practically disconnected from one another when the individual perceives danger. They have had to use one survival behaviour or another multiple times through their early development and only know how to use those behaviours when they are experiencing sensory overloads.
Learning self-regulation is difficult past infancy as it is, much less when the executive functions of the brain are inaccessible. This new methodology allows for parents and caregivers to proactively negotiate the brain's natural compliance systems while also building trust.
This new treatment methodology is comprehensive, taking much time to learn and execute, but is worth the effort. Typically this treatment is for parents involved in the foster and adoption systems but is easily integrated into most settings. I will post more information as it is summarized.
**Disclaimer: If you actively watch pornography and enjoy it I do not expect you to have a positive reaction to this blog posting. This is intended for those in relationships or who are single who have come to the conclusion that porn is ruining their lives in some way. The views expressed are based on counselling and therapy experience with individuals, couples, and families across age groups and cultures.**
The porn industry is slowly garnering more and more criticism as access and content disturb more and more audiences.
Marketed for audiences over the legal age of majority, it was found that the median age range for those who view porn for the first time - the images defined by full nudity and provocative situations - is between 11 and 13 in North America and Europe. It serves as an enticing simple pleasure that locks on to our most basic instinct in sexual gratification and is largely viewed as a private experience. Porn actors and actresses, and those who portray them such as the episode "Teamwork" in House, MD, periodically show up on record in favour of porn to help couples improve their sex lives and how it is a legitimate industry, and so on.
I usually don't know where to start when kicking down the walls of lies these folks have put up. Generally, as I will now, I go after the legitimacy of the industry. Every other week another "star" or "starlet" leaves the porn industry after coming to the realization that what they are doing is disgusting on multiple levels. Former starlets Vanessa Belmond and Shelley Lubben are great witnesses to the lengths women will go through (pun intended) to put themselves through scenes, primarily using drugs and alcohol to remove themselves from the experience. Men are equally disappointed with themselves, citing internal battles with sexuality and general struggles with shame, doubt, and alike as their reasons for even starting in this industry.
And these are the folks who are licensed, paid, and tested to participate in the industry. It is estimated that more than 75% of the available pornographic material on the internet is made of men and women being recorded without their knowledge or consent, who are underage, and who are doing illegal actions for viewers (beastiality, incest, mutilation, other forms of violence). This doesn't include animated and game versions of pornography that go several steps further using "models" over the age of majority.
So what makes porn a problem?
Although not necessarily addictive, at least not in the same sense as cocaine, porn does distort our sexuality in several ways. Frequent masturbation decreases testosterone and is linked to forms of erectile dysfunction. The dysfunction isn't caused by cardiovascular disorder - it is psychological. Men and women who regularly view porn become aroused more easily to what is seen through pixels than human beings. Marriages have dissolved over this - very treatable - issue. This issue has also led to various degrees of affairs as either partner "rediscover" their sexual appetite. Bear in mind, there are many forms of sex addiction and there are those who are addicted to sex who don't care for porn and those who are addicted to porn and are able to remain, more or less, monogamous.
Porn does increase sex drive. This is best described as an internalized sex drive - masturbatory - but, similar to what people view, it escalates. What starts as a novel fascination with Sports Illustrated can devolve into BDSM fantasies and, further, into violent sexual actions with living, breathing partners. What starts as an occasional view can quickly turn into a daily habit. How? Sex is a natural drive. Some versions of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs even goes so far as to place sex into the biological needs (lowest need). Those who do this have no concept of how the Hierarchy works in doing so but once it's online it apparently truth.
Finally, regardless of popular belief porn objectifies men and women. I have had it described in my office by a woman who said that she could tell by the way her husband looks at her that he has been watching porn. (The number of times I have heard this have made me wonder if I should do group therapy for this.) The eyes and body language focus on genitals and general sexual behaviours. Even speech is objectifying. I have no issues with adjectives like "Sexy" but there are words and phrases that no one uses outside porn to describe the person of sexual desire.
If you or someone you know is being negatively impacted by porn in their lives please invite them to seek counselling. This post only scratches the surface but, as always, I save the best for the office. For more information please contact me.
Just a way to get a few thoughts across outside of the office. In this blog you may even find entries that assist in your healing without needing a session