Sexual Health in Recovery: An Ally for Reducing Relapse Risk and Improving Client Retention in Addiction Treatment (7 CEs)


7 CEs

Presented by: Doug Braun-Harvey, MFT, CST, CST

Recorded workshop available via video on demand



Over the years, drug and alcohol treatment counselors have come to understand addiction as a complex disorder that involves all aspects of a person’s biological, psychological, social and spiritual health.  In other words, assessment and treatment have evolved to be multi-faceted and holistic, providing a wide range of therapies that meet individuals’ needs.  However, contemporary addiction treatment programs are still missing guidelines and interventions in an important area for addiction recovery: sexual health.

Why do so many people leave treatment early, or go back to drugs and alcohol after treatment?  A major reason often overlooked is that clients’ sexual lives are linked to using drugs and alcohol. Doug Braun-Harvey’s research has shown that addiction therapists and counselors tend to either avoid discussing their clients’ sexual lives, or mistakenly label client sexual problems as yet another addiction.

Many women and men in alcohol and drug treatment programs are more likely to stay in treatment and have better treatment outcomes when psycho-educational group programs include sexual health-based conversations and interventions.

In this workshop, Mr. Braun-Harvey identifies the prevalence of “sex/drug-linked behavior,” and how counselors can provide men and women relapse prevention skills and interventions that help them re-write their sexual lives de-linked from drugs or alcohol.

Spend a day learning fundamental counselor sexual health conversation skills that are essential to talking about sexuality with clients. Participants will learn a new sexual health based model for assessing and discussing clients’ relationships, sexual feelings, and deep shame about the consequences of sexual behavior linked with their drug and/or alcohol dependency. Engaging, fun and informative exercises from the psychoeducational curriculum for sex/drug-linked relapse prevention will be interspersed throughout the day.  Participants will leave with practical solutions that can be integrated within a wide range of professional practices to assess individual client levels of sex/drug-linked behavior.

Learning Objectives

  1. Describe two professional barriers to implementing a sexual health-based relapse prevention curriculum and learn skills to address these barriers.
  2. Define the term sexual health
  3. Explain six principles of sexual health as building blocks for sexual health conversations
  4. Describe two methods for assessing the risk of relapse due to sex/drug-linked addictions.
  5. Discuss methods for assisting clients in identifying sex/drug-linked behavior that is not in alignment with their sexual values in recovery.
  6. Demonstrate psycho-educational drug/alcohol treatment group interventions to learn sex/drug-linked relapse prevention tools.

Speaker Bio:

Sexual health author, trainer and psychotherapist Douglas Braun-Harvey bridges sexual and mental health and facilitates organizational change. In 2013 Doug Braun-Harvey and Al Killen-Harvey co-founded The Harvey Institute, an international education, training, consulting and supervision service for Improving health care through integration of sexual health. The Harvey Institute curriculum “Sexual Health Conversations” developed for Los Angeles Department of Child Welfare helped catalyze a 2017 statute mandating over 100,000 California foster youth professionals and parents to receive training on methods for talking with youth about sexual health. Since 1993 he has been developing and implementing a sexual health based treatment approach for men with out of control sexual behavior (OCSB). His new book “Treating Out of Control Sexual Behavior: Rethinking Sex Addiction” written with co- author Michael Vigorito was selected as the 2018 Health Professional Book by the Society for Sex Therapy and Research (SSTAR). Previous publications include “Sexual Health in Recovery: Professional Counselor’s Manual” (2011) and “ Sexual Health in Drug and Alcohol Treatment: Group Facilitator’s Manual ” (2009).

Mr. Braun-Harvey is Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Certified Sex Therapy Supervisor and Certified Sex Therapist. He is honored, as an alumnus of the
University of Minnesota, to join their Leadership Council for the Program in Human Sexuality in which he is a founding donor of the Doug Braun-Harvey Fellowship in Compulsive Sexual Behavior. He has been providing individual and group therapy in his San Diego private practice since 1987.

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