For Families

Support for partners and families

Sex addiction can profoundly affect partners, children, parents, and siblings. That’s why, at Gentle Path at The Meadows, treating our patients means also addressing the needs of the entire family.

That includes helping families understand the disease of addiction, how a loved one can actually be addicted to sex or struggle with other sexual issues, helping them make arrangements for aftercare, and assisting with setting up initial boundaries related to the return home.

The Gentle Path Team’s Commitment

Our team is strongly committed to the emotional health and healing of spouses, partners, and families impacted by the consequences of sexually addictive behaviors. We understand that these behaviors often result in hurt, betrayal, and a breakdown in trust between the patient and loved ones. That is why including the family is a crucial part of the recovery process, not only for the patient but also for the family members and loved ones who have been damaged by addictive behaviors.

Engaging the Family

We offer family work that provides extensive psychoeducation specifically designed to address the effects of sex addiction on the addicted person’s family members and significant others. This type of interaction isn’t clinically appropriate (or beneficial) for everyone during the treatment process, so we don’t guarantee joint sessions for every patient. Instead, decisions are made by the treatment team on a case by case basis.

Our interaction with family is focused on:

  • Increasing their understanding of sex addiction, addiction in general, and any other mental health issues the patient may be experiencing
  • Providing support to family members and introducing them to a lifestyle of recovery
  • Allowing family members and patients to work with clinicians in group sessions to explore family dynamics
  • Examining family-of-origin issues
  • Learning about functional and dysfunctional family patterns
  • Addressing barriers to recovery and communication


NOTE: Due to COVID restrictions, we are currently not offering in-person family work at Gentle Path. We continue to assess the situation and will resume this programming when it is determined to be safe for all involved.

Resources for Loved Ones

There is a wide range of books and other resources available to help loved ones navigate having a family member or partner who is dealing with sex addiction issues. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and some titles may be more appropriate for specific phases of recovery. Your loved one’s treatment team can make suggestions specific to your situation.

  • Mending a Shattered Heart: A Guide for Partners of Sex Addicts by Dr. Stefanie Carnes
  • Facing Heartbreak: Steps to Recovery for Partners of Sex Addicts by Dr. Stefanie Carnes
  • Courageous Love: A Couples Guide to Conquering Betrayal by Dr. Stefanie Carnes
  • Intimate Deception: Healing the Wounds of Sexual Betrayal by Sheri Keffer
  • Full Disclosure: How to Share the Truth After Sexual Betrayal by Janice Caudill, Dan Drake & Dr. Stefanie Carnes

Rebuilding Trust and Relationships

This isn’t an easy process, but it’s a worthwhile one. By working together as a family, recovery can continue for a lifetime.

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