“When should I seek professional help?” Help for Pornography Users (2019)
“When should I seek professional help?” Help for Pornography Users
It may be necessary to seek the help of qualified, trusted mental health providers in overcoming pornography use. We are each personally responsible for changing our behavior; however, we sometimes need help moving forward.
Trained and qualified professionals can help us understand our unique circumstances, help us see ourselves more accurately, and guide us in the process of lasting change.
An honest self-evaluation of our current behavior can help us determine whether we need professional help. If you can relate to the following feelings or behaviors, you may benefit from professional help:
Feeling like the ability to stop using pornography is out of your control.
Getting caught in a pattern of stopping pornography use and then starting again with frequent relapses.
Craving pornography throughout the day, including spending a lot of time thinking about the next time you can view pornography.
Becoming defensive, angry, or agitated when a loved one asks you to stop viewing pornography.
Continuing pornography use even when you see potential negative consequences or are at risk for losing things you value, such as marriage and family relationships, money, employment, or educational achievement.
Seeking out harsher and more graphic forms of pornography to meet your need for increased stimulation.
Consistently lying about your pornography use.
Maintaining an appearance of living according to what is expected of you by others while secretly continuing to use pornography.
Feeling shame and low self-worth related to pornography use.
Discussing with your spouse, a trusted family member, or a friend whether you feel you are able to change on your own may help you determine whether professional help is needed. Be honest as you consider how long you have been trying to change on your own. Would it be helpful to have a professional to be accountable to?
If you decide to seek professional help, carefully choose the most appropriate and best qualified professional resource for your specific needs. Read “Where can I turn for help?” and “How do I find a mental health professional who is right for me?” for more information.
Identifying and choosing the right professional for you is a process of research and revelation. You may begin by seeking referrals from those you trust, such as your doctor, a Church leader, loved ones or friends who have experience overcoming a pornography problem, or other reliable sources.
In addition to working with a mental health professional, you might consider joining a support group. Family Services Pornography Addiction Support Groups (PASG), Sexaholics Anonymous (SA), Fortify, and other support groups have proven to be important, and at times even necessary, for many individuals. Spouses of those struggling may also find it helpful to attend their own support group.
The following organizations can direct you to available groups in your area:
You can also find groups through word of mouth, doctors, friends, family members, or Church leaders. Ask those who have received assistance for overcoming a pornography problem which groups they would recommend.