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Mindfulness-Based Therapy can Effectively Treat Problematic Porn Consumption, Research Suggests

CBT, conjoint therapy, and ACT have shown promising results with treating problematic pornography consumption in heterosexual men.

By October 26, 2021No Comments

Decades of studies from respected academic institutions, have demonstrated significant impacts of porn consumption for individuals, relationships, and society. "What’s the Research" aims to shed light on the expanding field of academic resources that showcase porn’s harms in a variety of ways. Below are selected excerpts from published studies on this issue.

The full study can be accessed here.

The assessment and treatment of adult heterosexual men with self-perceived problematic pornography use: A review

Authors: Luke Sniewski, Panteá Farvid, and Phil Carter
Published:  February 2018

Peer-Reviewed Journal: Addictive behaviors

Abstract

Self-Perceived Problematic Porn Use (SPPPU) refers to an individual who self-identifies as addicted to porn because they feel they are unable to regulate their porn consumption, and that use interferes with everyday life.

Although porn addiction has not been formally classified as its own distinct behavioral addiction, therapists and clinicians are advised to educate themselves on the current state of literature pertaining to pornography consumption given the widespread availability and consumption of sexually explicit material online.

This review article begins with a general overview of pornography and porn use so that therapists and researchers can discern between non-intrusive and problematic pornography consumption patterns within their practice and understand the common characteristics of those that most commonly present with SPPPU.

Thereafter, an overview and examination of therapeutic interventions for SPPPU will be identified and analyzed. Finally, the review concludes with recommendations for therapists, clinicians, and future research.

Background

Many individuals perceiving themselves to suffer from problematic pornography use feel they do not have viable treatment options; otherwise, they would seek help (Ross, Månsson, & Daneback, 2012).

This is typically because they feel their pornography use is out of control and have experienced failed attempts at either cutting back or quitting (Kraus, Martino, & Potenza, 2016). Of the small percentage of individuals who seek treatment, most indicated treatment was only marginally helpful (Kraus, Martino, et al., 2016).

The purpose of this literature review is to gather, synthesize, and analyze the current literature addressing the treatment of SPPPU in adult heterosexual men, with the principle aim of contributing towards recommendations for clinicians, therapists, and future research in the field.

Methods

EBSCOhost, an online reference system with access to a broad range of academic, medical, and scientific databases, was used to access a range of databases… This search resulted in 198 relevant articles after being refined for additional parameters, such as studies only in English, only peer-reviewed articles and after exact duplicates were removed from query results. 64 studies remained that were relevant and whose abstracts were scanned in order to determine relevance.

Out of the 64 relevant studies, 11 studies were used in the review as they specifically addressed the treatment of problematic pornography consumption.

Results

CBT, conjoint therapy, and ACT have shown promising results, which is likely related to the mindfulness and acceptance-based frameworks of these approaches. Nonetheless, this emerging research has shown that more questions are left unanswered. Mainly, whether reducing pornography or increasing pornography acceptance should be the primary treatment objective.

Three of the reviewed studies (Crosby and Twohig, 2016, Orzack et al., 2006, Twohig and Crosby, 2010) revealed that helping people perceive their otherwise non-pathological and/or normal pornography use differently resulted in positive outcomes for the participants… Many variables influence both consumption habits as well as perception.

Additionally, despite the widespread social acceptance and consumption of pornographic content over the last several decades, reliable and valid instruments designed for assessing problematic use of pornography do not currently exist.

Lastly, it may be useful to explore mobile and online applications since they seem to provide a viable and potentially useful vehicle for implementing such interventions in a cost-effective and efficient way.

The full study can be accessed here.

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