CBT: This type of therapy involves applying behavioral therapy techniques to modify the patient’s sexual deviations by altering distorted thinking patterns and making patients cognizant of the irrational justifications that lead to their sexual variations. This therapy also incorporates relapse prevention techniques, helping the patient to control the undesirable behaviors by avoiding situations that may generate initial desires.
Another technique employed by therapists is that of orgasmic reconditioning. In this approach, a patient is reconditioned to a more appropriate stimulus by masturbating to his or her typical, less socially acceptable stimulus. Then, just before orgasm, the patient is told to concentrate on a more acceptable fantasy.
Social skills training: Because many believe that paraphilias develop in patients who lack the ability to develop relationships, many therapists and physicians use social skills training to treat patients with these types of disorders. They may work on such issues as developing intimacy, carrying on conversations with others, and assertive skills training.
Twelve-step programs: Many physicians and therapists refer patients with paraphilias to 12-step programs designed for sexual addicts. Similar to alcoholics anonymous, these programs are designed to give control to group members, who lead most of the sessions. The program incorporates cognitive restructuring with social support to increase awareness of the problem.
Group therapy: This mode of therapy involves breaking through the denial so commonly found in people with paraphilias by surrounding them with other patients who share their illness. Once they begin to admit that they have a sexual divergence, the therapist begins to address individual issues such as past sexual abuse or other problems that may have led to the sexual disorder. When these issues have been identified, beginning Gestalt-type therapy (with the victim, if any) may be desirable to help patients get past the guilt and shame associated with their particular paraphilia. The goal of this type of therapy is to lead the patient to a “healthy remorse.” These patients require lifetime therapy in order to reduce the likelihood of relapse.
Individual expressive-supportive psychotherapy: This type of therapy requires a psychologically minded patient willing to focus on the paraphilia. The therapist should not set high goals but needs to break through the denial. Countertransfence and avoidance of the patient can be a problem with this form of therapy.
- Long-acting gonadotropin-releasing hormones (GnRH, ie, medical castration)
- Mood stabilizers
I live my life according to the Bible and firmly believe that people with paraphilias have an unclean spirit on them. But not to mix spiritual faith and science, if these are tools that work, then that’s all that matters.