Saturday, November 22, 2008

Topic 4: Immediate Short-Term Prevention Plan

Occasionally, I receive feedback from colleagues that leads to a new topic. A friend suggested that he has worked with clients who need an immediate behavior plan to help them radically interrupt the acting out cycle. Of course, I responded. While it was implicit in the workbook, the conversation lead to a new topic. For those who have the workbook, consider this assignment topic 3.5.

Topic 4: Immediate Short-Term Prevention Plan
Often what brings a person to therapy is the fact that there are immediate behaviors that are interfering in one’s life. These behaviors need to be stopped right away before any additional consequences (legal, emotional, relational) occur. This assignment is to help you clarify what your immediate problem behaviors and develop immediate plans. (By the end of the workbook, you will develop long-term sexual healthy behavior plans.)

To begin with, answer the following questions:
1) Review what brought you into treatment. What are the problematic behaviors?
2) Review the sexual timeline. What are the behaviors that are of immediate concern?
3) Think forward into the future, what current behaviors do you want to stop?

Your assignment is to identify which behaviors you want to stop and to develop the short-term plan to help you meet you goals. For this assignment, these are the most important behaviors that need to stop now. In medical triage, you treat the most important issues first. When someone is bleeding for example, you don’t worry about a temperature until after the bleeding has stopped. Now, think about the plan for the next week, 30 days, or even 90 days. This plan is short term and is meant to help you build on short-term successes. I’ve included some examples of interventions that might be helpful.

1) I will not go online to internet sex sites.
2) I will not go to public sex sites
3) I will not have sex outside my relationship.
4) I will not have sex for the next week (or the next 30 days).
5) I will not masturbate to unhealthy fantasies for the next week.
6) What do I need to put in place to help me succeed

There is a high probability that you might fail. Interrupting and stopping the cycle is difficult. If it was as easy as saying “I’m not going to do this anymore” you would have already stopped! The key is to keep trying and address the issues why you fail. If and when you fail, completing a behavioral analysis (discussed at the end of stage 1)is important. You will be able to use what you learn from the process to uncover your unique components to the acting out cycle (which is addressed next) and help you strengthen your plans.

1 comment:

  1. a) How widespread is the phenomenon?... b) are the rates of new infections zero or nearly zero for sex partners taking part in the phenomenon?... of the strategy of "Let's get tested TOGETHER BEFORE we have sex, for A VARIETY of STDs." Sexual health checkups reduce ambiguity and can be like anything else POTENTIAL sex partners do together.