SkyHill Forum

September 2014 Newsletter

January 22, 2015

Written by Rick Laska, MSW, LGSW

Compulsive Sexual Behaviors

Sex and fantasy are wonderful parts of our lives.  Having regular sex alone or with a partner can improve your health and well being.  Watching adult films or reading erotica can expand your horizons and help you decide which fantasies you want to make into reality.  However, sometimes a person consistently engages in sexual behaviors which become difficult to control.  This loss of control can lead to stress, distress, anxiety, depression, difficulties with partners and friends, employment issues, financial issues, or even legal issues!

When working with mental health professionals or support groups, a person might hear several different terms: compulsive sexual behaviors, sexual addiction, or out-of-control sexual behaviors.  No matter what the term, talking about it can be extremely painful and difficult.  But talking about it does make a difference and it can help you regain control of your behavior and your life.

The follow are situations often confused with compulsive sexual behaviors.  While these situations may not be compulsive, they are still great issues to talk about in therapy:
1) Affairs are not the same thing as sexual compulsivity - although affairs can be a sign of sexual compulsivity, a person should not assume that just because they (or their partner) have had an affair that they are experiencing compulsive sexual behaviors.
2) Having sex or masturbating regularly does not mean a person is experiencing compulsive sexual behaviors - it is only when these acts start consuming or interfering with other life tasks or close relationships that it may be a sign of compulsive sexual behavior.
3) Watching pornography does not mean a person is experiencing compulsive sexual behaviors - pornography use may be a sign of compulsive sexual behavior if it consumes the majority of a person’s day, at work and/or at home.

If you are feel you may be experiencing compulsive sexual behavior, contact SkyHill at 952-562-7837 to consult with a therapist.

The SkyHill Experience – Heather Verjovsky, MA, LAMFT

Upon walking into SkyHill, a person can feel calmness wash over them - the environment is luxurious and the music is soothing, while the art on the walls catches the eye.  This premier piece of the SkyHill experience is all thanks to Owner and Sex and Relationship Therapist, Heather Verjovsky, MA, LAMFT.  “I wanted to create a safe, relaxing, comfortable space for our clients,” says Verjovsky.  “Therapists are more frequently being found in medical clinics, which can be so sterile.  I wanted SkyHill clients to come in, sit down with their therapist, and feel like they are in a living room, not on an exam table.  Our waiting room says, ‘Come in.  Sit down and take a breath.  Stay for a while.’”

Verjovsky co-founded SkyHill with the hope of creating an elegant therapy experience for individuals to explore issues that can often times be uncomfortable for fellow Minnesotans.  “I wanted clients at SkyHill to know that seeking help around sexual issues is not a shameful experience; it’s a right.”

As a therapist, Verjovsky specializes in decoupling shame and sex, especially when it is connected to sexual behaviors which may feel out of control or have caused ruptures in loving relationships.  “Sex is such an important part of our intimate relationships.  When compulsive or impulsive behaviors interrupt our relationships with significant partners, there can be a lot of pain - shame, loss of trust, fear, or uncertainty of the future.  I have found my approach to help my clients rebuild trust and heal from these emotional, relational wounds.”

Verjovsky’s clients have found success in working with her to address compulsive sexual behaviors.  They find working with her helps them reach their goals for themselves and their relationships.

Compulsive Sexual Behavior Group

Whether you feel you may be a sex addict, sexually compulsive, or experiencing out-of-control sexual behaviors, finding the support you need is an important part of healing from the hurt and shame that may be a part of your past.

Join us for a multi-week group to explore strategies to manage your sexual behaviors, cope with any triggers of impulsive sex, behave in a way that is consistent with your ideal sex life, and find help and support from others going through similar experiences.

This group is facilitated by Heather Verjovsky, MA, LAMFT, compulsive sexual behavior specialist at SkyHill.  For more information, or to enroll in the group, call Heather at 952-836-4525 or email heather@skyhilltherapy.com.

Events and Classes

The Minnesota Reproductive and Sexual Health Update

SkyHill will be tabling at this year’s Reproductive and Sexual Health Update.  The event is an annual conference of health care providers, educators, and others in the field of reproductive/sexual health.   The conference offers the latest in clinical reproductive health care practice, research, and technology with the goal to ensure these professionals have the tools they need to provide the highest quality reproductive/sexual health information and care.  Stop by and say hello.

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014
8:00 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.
To learn more about the conference:
http://hcet.info/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/9.9.14-Eflyer-2.pdf

HIV Institute: Porn Smart for Professionals

Porn often brings up strong feelings and lots of questions for individuals and intimate partner relationships: “Is watching porn bad for me?” “Why do I like the kind of porn I like?” “If my partner watches porn, does that mean they aren’t attracted to me anymore?” Professionals and educators are often left with messages about the hazards of porn and left confused when their clients start asking questions about using it or bring up concerns about it in their, or their partner’s, lives. Taught by sex and relationship therapists Rick Laska, MSW, LGSW, and Laura Rademacher, MA, LMFT, this training covers a short history and basic information about porn, common concerns related to porn, and ways to work with clients around their pornography use in regards to their lives and relationships.  This training has been approved for 2 CEUs by the Minnesota Board of Social Work and Minnesota Board of Nursing.

Monday, September 22nd, 2014
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
The Minnesota AIDS Project
1400 Park Ave
Minneapolis MN 55404
Cost: $20.00

Healthy Satisfying Sober Sex

April 23, 2014

Written by Laura Rademacher, MA, LAMFT

Whether you are recently sober or have been a part of the recovery community foryears, it is time to start thinking about your sex life! If having sex while sober is an intimidating prospect there are ways to build your comfort level. You don’t have to use in order to find the courage to be sexual. Here are a few ways to get started thinking about your sober sexual self.

 

What is sober sex to you?

First off, define what healthy sober sex means to you. For some people it might be as simple as “sex without alcohol or chemical use.” For people who struggle with unwanted or compulsive sexual behaviors the concept of sober sex might be more complex. If you find yourself in that situation, goals to consider might include “feeling in control of my choices” or “sexual activity that does not negatively impact other important aspects of my life (work, relationships, health, time with friends, etc)”. There is no one true definition of healthy satisfying sober sex that will fit everyone. Take time to identify your needs and values so that you can develop criteria that are meaningful to you.

 

What do you want?

Once you know what “healthy” and “sober” mean for you it is time to make some goals. What kind of sex do you want to have with yourself and with others? Think positive and don’t be afraid to dream big. You might surprise yourself with what is important to you. All goals can bring you valuable insight into your hopes and values, even if you end up needing to adjust them later to fit your sobriety needs.

 

Keep working on it!

Processing through your goals is a big undertaking but it is just the beginning. Other important issues to think about might include identifying your triggers (people, places, or situations that remind you of use or make you want to use), addressing fantasies of sex and use (which are very common by the way), finding your boundaries, communicating with partners and safer sex concerns. If that list feels overwhelming please realize that you don’t have to do all of these all at once. Don’t think of it as “solving a problem” that will then be “fixed” forever. Think of it as developing the skills to address sexuality issues throughout the course of your life. Therapy is one great way to focus on developing these skills.

 

Find your community

If you are in recovery you probably have already experienced the power of community. But many sober spaces forget to address the issue of sex! Some people can talk to their sponsor about sex or bring up the topic with sober friends. Other people don’t feel comfortable or have sponsors that do not consider sex to be within their scope. Start thinking about who you might be able to talk to about sober sex. Finding people with whom you can explore issues, talk about goals and just be open and honest about who you are and what you want sexually is healing in and of itself.

WE HAVE MOVED TO A NEW LOCATION!

February 9, 2014

On February 1st we moved to our new office just down the road to 6800 France Ave, Suite 520, Edina, MN 55435.  We are so excited about our beautiful new space that offers more room for classes, workshops, groups and, of course, individual, couple and family therapy.