EXCITING NEWS! My Book is Now in Paperback!

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EXCITING NEWS! My book Life After Lust: Stories & Strategies for Sex & Pornography Addiction Recovery is ready in paperback on Amazon! May this resource help and inspire many.

Want to watch the first moment I saw my book? If so, CLICK HERE

Be one of the first to order your copy of this ground-breaking new book that will help many.

Check out the powerful new book trailer based on a chapter of my book by clicking here.

Forest Benedict, MA, SATP-C, LMFT, Clinical Director of LifeSTAR of the Central Valley. If you benefited from this article, please “follow” me on this blog and on Twitter, “like” me on Facebook, and SHARE this article and blog with others. Thank you!

My Unexpected Radio Interview

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Today I had the opportunity to do a radio interview on the Trevor Carey show (FM 96.7/AM1400) about the effects of pornography, protecting children from pornography, and other topics related to sexual addiction treatment. The issue that sparked Trevor’s interest in this interview was Hustler’s lawsuit against our city. This morning Trevor found the article I wrote in the Fresno Bee last June on this topic called Vote for Love, Not Porn and invited me to share my perspectives on the topic. It was a great opportunity and the timing could not have been better since my new book was released today on Amazon. Click here to hear our interview.

Forest Benedict, MA, SATP-C, LMFT, Clinical Director of LifeSTAR of the Central Valley If you benefited from this article, please “follow” us on this blog and on Twitter, “like” us on Facebook, and SHARE this article and blog with others. Thank you!

Connected Sex: A Paradigm Shift for Sexual Addicts

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Sex is on my mind a lot these days. The reason for this is I’m preparing to teach a Human Sexuality class at Fresno State this weekend. I look forward to my time with future therapists, as we explore how sex can go both wrong and right.

It may go without saying but sex is an important topic in sexual addiction recovery. As a sexual addiction therapist, I tell my clients that successful recovery necessitates a different view of sexuality. The old perspective on sex must be thrown away and replaced with a new one. Rather than using sex as a numbing agent, sex must become a connecting agent. Still, this transition in thinking and practice is difficult. It requires learning, direction, and work.

In her video on Sex & Intimacy, Sue Johnson superbly explains the dynamics of connected and disconnected sex. I believe many sexual addicts experience “sealed off sex”, which she describes as a sexual experience that is lacking emotional intimacy, is solely sensation focused, and leaves individuals feeling lonely. In recovery, we have the opportunity to see sex in an entirely new way. In recovery, we can learn to experience sex as the “potent bonding activity” it is meant to be. This usually requires the guidance of a trained professional and a plethora of patience. But as a couple does the hard work of recovery, experiences healing, and is willing to humbly learn new ways of relating, connected sex can become a wonderful reality.

CLICK HERE to finish the article and to see Johnson’s excellent video on connected sex.

-By Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP-C

Please FOLLOW my blog and find me on Facebook and Twitter for future posts and announcements about my UPCOMING book!

 

 

The Song that Keeps Me Crying

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This morning I couldn’t help but cry as I listened to Switchfoot’s new song “If the House Burns Down Tonight.” The lyrics resonated deeply with me, as I thought about the prospect of fighting for love and letting everything else burn away.

To me, this means passionately pursuing a “furious love affair” with my Abba. This means deepening my loyal love for my bride. This means daily communicating my affection to my kids. This means prioritizing the love of my family and friends. This means holding onto love while letting all of the distractions, addictions, and meaningless attempts to impress anyone or prove anything burn away.

May we all have the commitment and courage to fiercely hold onto those things we value the most, abandoning everything that competes for life’s highest virtue……love.

I invite you to invest a few minutes in listening to the following song while reading the lyrics below. Imagine the love you want to pursue and what you’re willing to give up to get it.

 

“If The House Burns Down Tonight”

Ashes from the flames
The truth is what remains
The truth is what you save
From the fire
And you fight for what you love
Don’t matter if it hurts
You find out what it’s worth
And you let the rest burnThe sunset burns like gasoline
Touch me and make sure that I’m not dreaming
I see her face and my heart skips beats
But I still get the feeling that we’re half asleep and
There’s a spark in the corner of my baby’s eye
Like a distant star that won’t burn quiet
And I might not know what I want from this life
But I know I want more than the starting line

So give me the fire

I can hear the motor running down the interstate
And all the distractions fade away
And if the house burns down tonight
I got everything I need with you by my side
I see the smoke piling up in the rear view mirror
Yeah but I ain’t ever seen it any clearer
If the house burns down tonight
I got everything I need when I got you by my side
And let the rest burn
And let the rest burn
And let the rest burn

I’ve given too much of my heart away
My soul’s holding on like a house divided
Like a match it burns down like a masquerade
And I had to let it go when the fire ignited

One heart, two hands, your life is all you hold
(your life is all you hold)
To hold, hold tight and let the bitter go
Yeah let it go, and give me the fire

The smoke tries choking the pacific sun
We rocket down the road like we’re shot out of guns
And if the house burns down tonight
I got everything I need with you by my side
Holding you and the wheel and it occurs to me
We’re driving down the edge of eternity
And if the house burns down tonight
I got everything I need when I got you by my side
And let the rest burn
And let the rest burn

Put your hand in mine and
Put your heart in driving
We got everything we need yeah
We got everything we need yeah
Left it all behind us
What we need will find us

We got everything we need yeah
We got everything we need yeah

Can you hear that motor running
Can you hear that motor running
There ain’t no stopping us now
There ain’t no slowing us down

Can you hear that motor running
Can you hear that motor run, run, run

And all those lies that mattered most to me
Were draining me dry making a ghost of me
And if the house burns down tonight
I got everything I need, everything I need
There’s a fire coming that we all will go through
You possess your possessions or they possess you
And if the house burns down tonight
I got everything I need when I got you by my side

And let the rest burn

Ashes from the flames, the truth is what remains

-Switchfoot

-By Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP-C

Please FOLLOW my blog and find me on Facebook and Twitter for future posts and announcements about my UPCOMING BOOK!

Reassurance in the Rain

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This video touched me many years ago and it touched me today. When we are in life’s toughest storms, God cares and carries us. May this message remind us and reassure us today.

-By Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP-C

Please FOLLOW my blog and find me on Facebook and Twitter for future posts and announcements about my UPCOMING BOOK!

“Protecting Children from Pornography: How to Equip Parents”- Fresno Seminar for Mental Health Professionals & Students (June 18th)

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On June 18th, CAMFT (Central San Joaquin Valley Chapter) is hosting a seminar called “Protecting Children from Pornography:How to Equip Parents“. This seminar is presented by Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP-C, who specializes in sexual addiction treatment and presents often to parents on this topic. The seminar is open to all mental health professions (licensed, interns) and students pursuing this field as well. Participants will earn 3 CEU’s.

The purpose of this seminar is to teach about the availability of pornography to children, the effects of pornography use on children, and what steps can be taken to protect children from pornography. Participants will also learn about resources for parents and young people who are faced with this issue. Information will be shared about both prevention and treatment.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn about the prevalence of adolescent pornography exposure and use

2. Learn about the neurological, relational, biological, legal, and other effects of  adolescent pornography use

3. Understand the need for preventative measures

4. Learn about available resources for both prevention and treatment

For cost, location, and registration information, CLICK HERE

We hope to see you there!

-By Forest Benedict, MA, SATP-C, LMFT, Clinical Director of LifeSTAR of the Central Valley If you benefited from this article, please “follow” us on this blog and on Twitter, “like” us on Facebook, and SHARE this article and blog with others. Thank you!

We Can’t Cry to a Book

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“God, thank you so much that you are a Daddy to us. So much of our time as believers we can get lost thinking you are just a book that we read, you’re a goal that we’re trying to reach, you’re a place that we go to once a week, you’re a lifestyle, you’re some sort of worldview. But God, we can’t lean on a worldview. We can’t cry to a book. You’re a father. You’re a good, good Father. And you’re not loving us because we’re good. You’re loving us because you’re good. God, the more we sing and the more we pray, just remind us that this is a conversation with a person that loves us, that knows everything about us and loves us. You deserve every breath that comes out of us, every word, every note we could ever sing is yours.” -Mark Hall (Casting Crowns, from clip below)

 

Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP-C

Please FOLLOW my blog and find me on Facebook and Twitter for future posts and announcements about my UPCOMING BOOK

How to Ground Yourself in God’s Love

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This morning I read a powerful piece by Shauna Niequist that spoke to my soul. In it, she wrote about the difference between living from performance and living from belovedness. She shared,

“When I begin the day drenched in that love, that centering awareness of my worth and connection to God, the day is different. I don’t have to scramble or hustle. Fear dissipates, and what I’m left with is warmth, creativity, generosity. I can make and connect and create and tell the truth, because my worth isn’t on the line at every moment.”

May all of us who struggle to feel worthy through pleasing and performance, grow in our awareness of God’s unending affection as we seek His face, learning how to become centered in His love. Click here to learn about the practice Shauna uses to ground herself in God’s love.

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You Will Revive Me

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It’s the day after daylight savings and I feel drained. As much as I’d like to blame my circumstances for my energy deficiency, my tiredness is my responsibility; the result of my choices. Regardless of the roots, I am in need of revival.

In the Psalms, I am struck by the author’s plea for God’s reviving response “according to His lovingkindness” (119:88, 119:149, 119:159). There is also a repeated request for God’s revival according to His “word” (119:25, 119:50, 119:107, 119:154) and “ordinances” (119:149, 119:156). It seems the author expects God’s revival of both his heart and his mind.

This morning, I will rest in my responsive Abba’s arms and I will dwell on my Daddy’s written words of reassurance. Many have pursued this path of internal revival, as these passages remind us:

“You who seek God, let your heart revive.” Psalm 69:32b

“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me.” Psalm 138:7

“You who have shown me many troubles and distresses
Will revive me again,
And will bring me up again from the depths of the earth.
May You increase my greatness
And turn to comfort me.Psalm 71:20-21

May all those thirsty for renewal find their souls revived and satisfied and they turn to God’s quenching presence (John 4:14) and meditate on Christ’s words of courage and comfort.

-By Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP-C

Please FOLLOW my blog for future posts and announcements about my upcoming book!

Finding Higher Ground

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Today, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I am groggy, tired, and sensitive. I am not fun to be around. Realizing this, I seek strength beyond my own, higher than my own.

My soul whispers in unison with the Psalmist

“Hear my cry, O God;
    listen to my prayer.

From the ends of the earth I call to you,

    I call as my heart grows faint;
    lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge,
    a strong tower against the foe.

I long to dwell in your tent forever
    and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.

Psalm 61:1-4

My success today depends on my steadfastness in seeking His higher ground. My Maker, not my mood, must mold my mind today.

To my amazement, my Abba’s response is one of attention, attunement, and affection.

He’s just that kind of Daddy.