Intensive Outpatient Program


The Counseling Center for Sexual Health is pleased to introduce our Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) for adult males struggling with sexually related issues. This program provides ten hours of therapy a week for each client; including both individual and group therapy. Group sessions will be offered Tuesday and Thursday from 6-9pm, and Saturday from 9-12pm. Individual therapy will be scheduled per client.

There are many benefits for participating in an IOP. Perhaps the largest benefit is the continued support and treatment while individuals integrate life events (work, school, socialization) into a sober lifestyle.

CCSH professionals are sex therapists certified through the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) trained and skilled in ways to assist people in gaining a deeper understanding of their own sexuality and how it affects their lives in relationships.

If you believe you or someone you know would benefit from our Intensive Outpatient Program or Psychological services, please call the Counseling Center for Sexual Health intake department (805)308-9800 Ext. 3.

-Darilyn Shano, M.S., MFTI

Ashley Madison Scandal

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First ask yourself, “What is Ashley Madison?” If you can confidently answer the question with anything but, “I do not know,” then you may have been affected by this site.

Ashley Madison is the second largest online dating website, second only to, with the slogan, “Life is Short. Have an Affair.” Recently a hacker group called, “The Impact Team,” threatened to release the “confidential” information for dating websites: Ashley Madison, Cougar Life, and Established Men. The goal behind the threat was to have these websites permanently shut down because the “cheating dirtbags,” according to the Impact team, were not worthy of discretion or confidentiality.

“Cheating dirtbags,” does not exactly insinuate the Impact Team is composed of men; and coincidently Christian Mingle did not get hacked. Does this information shed some light on who orchestrated the attack? Maybe, maybe not.

The more important questions are: What lead up to the affair?; Is there a history of similar sexually acting out behavior?;  What happens to the relationship now?; How do you cope with the onslaught of emotions ranging from fear to shame?

Millions of relationships and families have been affected by this threat of exposure. You are not the only one and you do not need to deal with this alone.

If you have been affected by the recent events involving Ashley Madison and other sites, the Counseling Center for Sexual Health can help. We work with individuals, couples, and partners of individuals affected. Contact us today (805)308-9800.

-Darilyn Shano, M.S., MFTI

Methamphetamine Recovery

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For one reason or another, you have finally decided to quit using crystal meth.  Now what?  The process might seem daunting and terrifying, and it may not even be your first attempt at quitting.  Unfortunately, there is not one universal outline as to what the process will be like for each individual.  One thing that is unquestionable and inevitable, however, is the emotional and physical changes that one will endure from experiencing withdrawal symptoms.  These symptoms can differ and for some last as short as three days and for some as long as a month.  The typical physical symptoms one experiences during this time is the body and brain’s fight to survive by sleeping, eating, drinking, and a whole lot more of sleeping.

Once you are through this initial phase, one might actually find themselves feeling “good,” in fact, even feeling “great.”  However, that feeling will not last too long.  In the range of about two months into recovery, a time will come when the feelings of depression is bound to occur.  Use of an antidepressant, such as Wellbutrin, can be extremely beneficial in getting through these feelings of despair.  While the chance of relapse is higher during this time due to the feelings of depression that may seem too difficult to manage, Wellbutrin is an option that has shown to be effective in reducing the depression-induced cravings associated with withdrawal symptoms.

You do not have to endure methamphetamine recovery alone.  The combination of an antidepressant such as Wellbutrin, in addition to working with a professional here at Counseling Center for Sexual Health (CCFSH), can help make what can seem like a daunting and terrifying experience more tolerable, manageable, and successful.  If you find yourself ready for recovery, we look forward to hearing from you.

-Lynne Tunick, M.S., MFTI

The Imperfections of Sex

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We all know that SEX sells and no one is perfect. Except that guy that just read this and said, “I’m perfect!” He may be right, but we have veered from the point. If no one is perfect and sex is everywhere, what happens when our imperfections and sex collide? …Trouble in paradise; which begs the next question, “Now what?” The options are vast and often break down into stages including, but not limited to: sheer panic, the blame game “it’s not me; it’s you,” abandonment, denial, grief, shame, anxiety, depression, etc. None of these emotions or stages sound appealing or paint a picture of health and it certainly is not what Hollywood is selling. Dang “fine print” can get you every time.

Wherever you may be in this cycle, the Counseling Center for Sexual Health is here to help. We treat a variety of sex related problems ranging from erectile dysfunction to addiction, infidelity, prostitution, compulsive masturbation, and online hookups.

It is a new day in the world of sex. The internet has made pornography more accessible than ever and having sex the easiest it has ever been to get. You do not even need to leave the comfort of your own home in order to have sex. But, even though we know that sex sells, there is another fun fact that “too much of a good thing is not a good thing.”

Suddenly a ritual has formed and before you know it, a routine ensues. For example, you come home from a stressful day at work. You need to unwind so you go through the paces of a hot meal or a couple drinks and some television. Next step, take a shower and get into some relaxed clothes. The computer sits at the desk, waiting for you to come join. The sound of the box fires up and the fan kicks in. A bright screen welcomes you to continue, invites you to begin the internet search. Your computer knows you so well, Google auto populates your search after a couple of letters entered. An abundance of images appear begging you to choose each one, but you skillfully and precisely select the perfect link for you and let the unwinding begin.

Night after night this continues, until it is no longer enough and the frequency increases. The location is no longer only the comfort of your own home, but it is the car, office and bathroom stall. The ritual has progressed, and not only has the frequency and location changed, but your physical health is changing as well with sores and chaffing from excessive friction.

This is no longer a coping mechanism for stress, but an impairment on your life. Masturbation is healthy, but history will repeatedly prove that too much of a good thing is not a good thing. The Counseling Center for Sexual Health can help you develop healthy coping strategies and remove the impairment. Call today and together we can work to build a healthier lifestyle.

-Darilyn Shano, M.S., MFTI

Treatment of Love Addiction


Last week we discussed the etiology of Love Addiction and how it involves brain neurotransmission processes similar to the effects of drug misuse. This week, we would like to discuss potential treatment option for love addiction.

Self-help books 

  • Gaining awareness and cognitive restructuring of love addiction-related disturbances.
  • Means of insight include learning to be aware of and discriminate between current love relationships and childhood love relationship inadequacies.
  • Discerning between passion, tenderness (caring), and commitment aspects of love may be essential to understanding the degree of health in one’s love relationships one may have.

Sex Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA)

  • 12-Step group that most closely pertains to the romantic/emotional aspects, though other groups include Codependents of Sex Addicts (COSA), Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA), and Sexaholics Anonymous.
  • In SLAA, members learn to surrender, one day at a time, their whole life strategy of, and their obsession with, the pursuit of romantic and sexual intrigue and emotional dependency; they learn to take care of their own needs before involvement with others; become willing to ask for help, be vulnerable, and learn to trust and accept others; work through the pain of low self-esteem and fears of abandonment and responsibility; and learn to feel comfortable in solitude.

Individual Therapy

  • Various individual-level therapy options might be considered. Motivational interviewing may help love addicts understand maladaptive functions of love objects. For example, one may learn through motivational interviewing techniques that their romantic relationships involve an ongoing pattern of issues surrounding trust and intimacy. One may then try to reduce the discrepant feelings by deciding to enter relationships more slowly.
  • Through therapy, one may learn that it may be most prudent to avoid all contact with the objects of the love addiction, particularly rejecting partners, and for one to become exposed to novel environments to facilitate new more healthy experiences.
  • The love addict should learn how to construct a self-support system through the use of guided healthy selftalk.This self-talk might guide one toward getting used to less intense, more constructive feelings toward self and others.
  • Self-management training should be considered to help one redirect one’s behavior. The therapist may establish short-term goals with a love addict that could include signing up for community courses (e.g., photography), participation in meditation or exercise, and making same sex non-sexual, non-romantic friends.

Group therapy

  • Group therapy techniques (e.g., use of psychodrama) may help one decrease illusions toward romantic partners, and help one understand one’s feelings toward long-term significant others such as one’s nuclear family. One may also learn through group interaction how to better participate in healthy romantic relationships, which may be less exciting but more rewarding in the long run.

-Katie McGrath, M.S.

Early stages of recovery

Finding a healthy hobby during early stages of recovery

During the early stages of recovery, it is beneficial for addicts to find activities that are healthy and add meaning to their lives. Any hobby that gives you enjoyment and that can take up a certain amount of time each day can serve as a “positive addiction”.

Research has shown that activities like gardening, painting, listening and playing music, and writing (journaling, poetry writing, literary writing) have all served as positive addictions. We’ll look at each one of these briefly:

Gardening can increase self esteem by enabling you to care for and nurture a living thing.  It can reinforce and evoke positive emotions through growing, harvesting, and experiencing the growth of plants.  Gardening can allow for an escape into an activity that promotes life while combining creativity and hard work (if you think gardening is easy, you’ve obviously never tried it!).

Music therapy has also been shown to have a number of positive effects on drug users.  Analyzing lyrics and sharing songs enables people to express their feelings and thoughts in a positive way.  In one particular study, relaxing music shortened the time it took subjects to fall asleep and improved mood on the following day. 

Similarly, poetry and writing are pathways to feelings.  Poetry therapy enables people to overcome obstacles and painful memories by writing and using words to express their feelings.

Lastly, painting is another leisurely activity that has been shown to improve depression and anxiety by inspiring creativity and individuality.  People can clear an open space in their mind by focusing on their art. While few of us will ever reach the levels of artistic geniuses like Picasso, Van Gough, and Rodin, the physical and emotional benefits of creating the art itself are worth at least as much as the critical acclaim.

Please stay tuned next week for physical activities and hobbies that can elevate mood and help the recovering addict :)

        -Katie McGrath, M.S.




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