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Featured Guest: Dr. Jes Montgomery, Psychiatric Consultant, Pine Grove

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My guest today is Dr. Jes Montgomery, an expert in treating addictive sexual behavior with nearly 30 years of experience focusing on the family and long-term aspects of recovery. He sat down with me at the Recovery Results conference in Dallas to demystify some common misconceptions about sex and pornography addictions and to share how he has applied the core beliefs of his mentor Dr. Patrick Carnes to help bring these conditions out of the shadows.

One of the challenges of treating sex addiction is the abundance of misinformation that often leads to the shame and stigma that prevents individuals from seeking help. “There are a lot of ideas that are misconstrued about what sexual addiction is and there’s a bit of mistreatment around that too,” Jes says “Because the goal of sexual addiction [treatment] is not to stop being sexual but to do it in a healthy way…I think one of the things we offer as sex addiction therapists is that I have a comfort level with all sorts of behaviors and very little surprises me anymore.”

Jes got his start in this field by training under sex addiction treatment pioneer Dr. Patrick Carnes who wrote the groundbreaking book Out of the Shadows. And Jes sees a lot of similarity between substance addictions and the concepts of sex addiction that are described in Dr. Carnes’ core beliefs related to self-image, relationships and needs. “I think what they all share in common is the core beliefs that Patrick Carnes first wrote about,” Jes explains. “When the addiction has taken over, what we begin to see is that it becomes in essence the ‘perfect best friend.’”

But still there is a lot of grey area and even disagreement among the medical community related to sex addiction, which isn’t currently recognized by the DSM-V. “A lot of [treatment professionals] have the attitude that if you’re not putting something into your body, it can’t be an addiction,” Jes says. “There are those people who can view pornography and they walk away from it. And what we’re not clear about is what’s the line between that behavior and what we see in the addiction treatment world.”

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