WHY therapists need to know about porn (part 5)

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Concluding this sort series of posts on ‘Why therapists need to know about porn’, psychotherapist Duncan E. Stafford outlines the professional challenge …

There is an increasing realisation in the most informed areas of society that porn addicts are not a homogeneous group – Stephanie and Ellen (in recent posts on PRUK) underline this point. If we add to this the fact that partners (read Helen’s discovery), relatives and even friends can be affected by someone’s use of porn – for example, illegal viewing habits can bring the police to any doorstep affecting everyone at that address – then we begin to see that people seeking help through counselling and psychotherapy with issues around porn use is a very diverse group of men and women each with different questions in relation to porn for the therapeutic space. With just a little knowledge, our profession can inform itself and begin to ease the secret suffering of many users. In an era when there has never been so much sexual imagery in a society (the Internet assures this), it feels odd that as therapists we might shy away from this work and that we make so many presumptions about users (and their gender). As a practitioner working in this area of distress, I witness that porn, cybersex and the difficulties it leads to are currently as difficult to talk about as sex was in the past. As therapists, on an individual basis, hour by hour, if we don’t retreat from the challenges this area raises for us, we might just be constructive for sex, pornography, cybersex and society.

Author biography

Duncan E. Stafford is a psychotherapist, supervisor and author. He offers bespoke training and supervision in this area of work through his private practice in Cambridge, UK. He can be contacted through his website www.counsellingincambridge.co.uk

Reading recommendations for those looking to work with porn

Turned On: Intimacy in a Pornized Society,  D E Stafford, WiTTING Press (2010)

Sex And the Internet, Al Cooper (ed.), Routledge (2002)

Girlvert: A Porno Memoir, Oriana Small, Barnacle Book (2011)

Copyright Duncan E. Stafford UK  2011

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