Addiction, Partner Trauma & Betrayal, Disordered Eating
As a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT) with The International Association for Trauma and Addiction Therapists, Tara specializes in the treatment of compulsive or problematic sexual behaviour. She also provides services for partners who experience trauma as ‘fallout’ from the addiction due to betrayal, gaslighting, narcisstic abuse etc.
Tara’s work is informed by the latest research in neurobiology and addictions medicine which defines addiction as:
“Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.” American Society of Addiction Medicine
As part of arriving at a diagnosis of sex, porn or love addiction, Tara endorses fully the notion of diversity in healthy, mutual, and ‘life enhancing’ sex, while also believing that addictive processes are real, harmful to the impacted person, the partner and family. Without education and intervention, the likelihood of these processes becoming more engrained and problematic is high. Tara’s work with porn and sex addiction, involves careful assessment and history taking, use of diagnostic tools and, where permission is granted, obtaining collateral information from a partner, family member or other professional.
Philosophy of Practice
Tara’s practice with addictions is integrative, and within a neurobiologically informed, attachment and trauma based approach, she uses EMDR as well as the Task Centered Model developed by Dr. Patrick Carnes. Her work with partners is strengths and resilience based as she helps partners identify and progress through stages of healing associated with the usual complex trauma that goes along with living with an often “unseen” addiction. This may include assisting a partner to identify and learn effective boundaries, including responses to gaslighting which, not infrequently, are an aspect of the cognitive and emotional distortions which accompany addiction.
Disordered Eating & Relationship Addiction
Tara is also certified as a Certified Multiple Addictions Therapist (CMAT) and recognizes that addiction typically has more than one face and can involve “cross addictions” e.g. to food,gambling,” bonding to unhealthy relationships,” alcohol, drugs. This awareness is carefully incorporate into her assessment and therapy work which also include services for relationship addicted and eating disordered individuals. In her work with disordered eating, Tara collaborates with physicians, dieticians, nutritionists to assist the client to restore healthy eating patterns. As nutritional stability is restored, Tara assists the individual with the ‘attachment repair’ and other healing work that addresses vulnerability that underlies the pattern of disordered eating.
Safety in a ‘Pornified’ World
Believing that prevention and education is fundamental strategy for preventing addictions, Tara is also passionate about protecting youth and children from porn, cyber bullying and other forms of online exploitation. To this end, she offers workshops to parents, educators and other health professionals on protecting children in the digital age.