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Mending a Shattered Heart: A Guide for Partners of Sex Addicts Paperback – October 4, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"I'll never forget my friend's words when she uncovered her husband's sex addiction: "I felt like I was going through a shredder...backwards." Providing much-needed clarity and direction, Mending A Shattered Heart courageously meets and helps heal this addiction at the deep level it hits and hurts. Thank you Stefanie for removing the shame and giving the gift of grounded hope."
—Melody Beattie, Author of Codependent No More

"A vitally important book written by highly experienced professionals! Mending A Shattered Heart will lessen the shame, provide clarity and direction and offer hope to the partners of sex addicts."
—Claudia Black, PhD, Author of It Will Never Happen to Me

About the Author

Stefanie Carnes, Ph.D., has led numerous research projects on addiction and authored many publications including her nationally renowned books, Mending a Shattered Heart: A Guide for Partners of Sex Addicts, Facing Addiction and Facing Heartbreak: Steps to Recovery for Partners of Sex Addicts.

Dr. Carnes is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, an AAMFT clinical member and approved supervisor. She is also certified through IITAP (International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals) as a sex addiction therapist and supervisor.

Chapter authors include:
Patrick Carnes, Ph.D., C.A.S., CSAT, is a nationally known speaker on addiction and recovery issues. He is the author of numerous books, including Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction (1992), Contrary to Love: Helping the Sexual Addict (1989), The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships (1997), Facing the Shadow (2001), In the Shadows of the Net (2001), The Clinical Management of Sex Addiction (2002), Facing Addiction (2011), and The Recovery Start Kit (2007).
Dr. Carnes is currently the Executive Director of the Gentle Path program at Pine Grove Behavioral Center in Hattiesburg, Miss. He is the primary architect of Gentle Path treatment programs for the treatment of sexual and addictive disorders. He also pioneered the founding of the Certified Sex Addiction Therapist program and the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals.

Paul Hartman, MS, LMFT, CSAT, began a second career in counseling after graduating from Fuller Theological Seminary where he attended both the School of Theology and School of Psychology. Upon earning his license in marriage and family therapy, Mr. Hartman and his wife, Virginia, went into private practice together, opening The Healing Center. The couple specialized in treating addiction, co-addiction, couples and families. Mr. Hartman trained with Dr. Patrick Carnes to become a certified sex addiction therapist and follows Carnes' model of a program practice. He retired from his Michigan practice in 2005 but continues to work with Carnes and the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP).

Virginia Hartman, MA, LPC, CSAT, began her professional career as an elementary school teacher before earning a MA in counseling psychology from Western Michigan University and becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor. After becoming certified as a substance abuse interventionist by the Johnson Institute, she gained experience in intervention, after-care, family treatment and primary treatment. She worked with several leaders in the field of addiction, then went into private practice with her husband Paul in Michigan. She trained with Dr. Patrick Carnes, using the task-based approach to treat trauma. She became a certified sex addiction therapist, specializing in treating sexually anorexic women. Although now retired, Ms. Hartman continues to teach, consult and supervise CSATs, and also holds workshops for women and couples.

For more than 20 years, Mavis Humes Baird, CSAT, has developed several intervention and treatment programs in various modalities for addicts, family members and whole families. She consults with providers for their own program development. She is a CSAT Supervisor and an original member of Dr. Patrick Carnes' Practice Improvement Program. She worked in central and eastern Pennsylvania first as a drug and alcohol therapist, educator and interventionist, and then as a codependency and trauma therapist, treating eating disorders, sexual abuse and family systems issues. She also developed an effective treatment model for multiply-diagnosed clients. She has been working with sex addicts and co-addicts since 1988. With the help of a national rights organization, she is launching a legislative initiative to help educate society and aid sex addicts who want to find help.

Since 1985, Joe Kort, MA, MSW, CSAT, has specialized in Gay Affirmative Psychotherapy, Marital Affairs, Mixed-Orientation Marriages, Sexual Addiction, Sexual Abuse and Imago Relationship Therapy through weekend workshops for singles and couples. He provides trainings to straight clinicians about Gay Affirmative Therapy around the country. Mr. Kort is the author of two books on gay-male identity and relationships as well as journal articles on sexual addiction. His newest book is Gay Affirmative Therapy for the Straight Clinician: The Essential Guide. An adjunct professor teaching Gay and Lesbian Studies at Wayne State University's School of Social Work. He is the author of 10 Smart Things Gay Men Can Do to Improve Their Lives.

Barbara S. Levinson, Ph.D, CSAT, is the Director of the Center for Healthy Sexuality in Houston. She offers specialized programs for the treatment of sex addicts and sex offenders and their partners. She also specializes in the treatment of Internet addictions. Dr. Levinson provides individual and couples therapy for persons who have intimacy and relationship problems. As a Certified Sex Therapist Diplomat for the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists, she deals with sexual issues of individuals and couples. At the Center for Healthy Sexuality, Dr. Levinson provides group therapy in many specialty areas. She is also a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, a Licensed Sex Offender Treatment Provider and a Therapist Supervisor for the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals Certified Sex Addiction Therapists.

Omar Minwalla, Ph.D., CSAT is a Licensed Psychologist and Clinical Sexologist, and the Clinical Director of the Sexual Recovery Institute in Los Angeles. Dr. Minwalla earned his doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology in Chicago and completed his post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Minnesota Medical School's Program in Human Sexuality. His specializations include sexual compulsivity/sex addiction, sexual offending, sexual dysfunction, transgender populations, sexual orientation, BDSM and paraphilias. He also has a private practice specializing in marginalized sexuality and gender concerns.

Sonja Rudie, MA, LMHC, C-EMDR, C-EAGALA I, CSAT, specializes in the treatment of trauma healing and recovery. Ms. Rudie is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Certified EMDR clinician, Certified Equine Assisted Therapist and a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist. She provides innovative and interesting treatment options for clients suffering from trauma in addition to the standard primary treatment protocol of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Ms. Rudie has provided therapy groups in resiliency skill-building, self-esteem, reality testing and creating mastery. She is the president and founder of La Perla Counseling and Trauma Response Services, Inc., which provides counseling for individuals, couples, families, youth and groups.

Jennifer Schneider, M.D., Ph.D. is a physician in Tucson, Ariz., specializing in addiction medicine and pain management. For 20 years she has been a researcher, speaker and author in the field of sex addiction, with a particular interest in the effects of sex addiction on the family. Dr. Schneider is the author of Back From Betrayal: Recovering From his Affairs) (3rd Edition, 2005), Sex, Lies, and Forgiveness: Couples Speak on Healing From Sex Addiction (3rd Edition, 2004); The Wounded Healer: Addiction-sensitive Approach to the Sexually Exploitative Professional) (with Dr. Richard Irons, 1998); Disclosing Secrets: What, to Whom, and How Much to Reveal) (with Dr. Deborah Corley, 2002); and Untangling the Web: Breaking Free from Sex, Porn, and Fantasy Addiction in the Internet Age) (with Robert Weiss, 2006). Her newest book is slated for publication in fall 2013 Closer Together, Further Apart (with Robert Weiss).

Caroline Smith, MA, LPC, CSAT-S, CMAT, is the director of family services and intensive workshiops at Pine Grove Behavioral Health in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Her specialties are trauma, disordered attachment, sex addiction and eating disorders. Ms. Smith is an international trainer for interventionists who work with clients with chemical and process addictions. She frequently lectures on topics including trauma resolution, addiction interaction, food and sex, attachment style dynamics, and family systems legacy. She is a passionate force in support of healing, hope and sustainable recovery.

Cara W. Tripodi, LCSW, MSS, CSAT, is the Executive Director and owner of S.T.A.R.-Sexual Trauma & Recovery, Inc., an outpatient practice in Wynnewood, Penn., devoted to the identification and treatment of sexual addiction, sexual anorexia and sexual codependency. She graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1991 where she received her Master’s in Social Science Degree. She has been treating sex addicts and their partners in both individual and group settings since 1991. She is a member of the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health and is a certified sex addiction therapist. She is also a Level II trained EMDR therapist. Her previous experiences include service as a medical social worker where she developed an expertise in the area of traumatic and chronic illness and loss. Today, Ms. Tripoldi maintains a private practice as well as educating the behavioral healthcare community through workshops and lectures.

Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S is Senior Vice President of Clinical Development with Elements Behavioral Health. He has developed clinical programs for The Ranch in Nunnelly, Tennessee, Promises Treatment Centers in Malibu, and The Sexual Recovery Institute in Los Angeles.A licensed UCLA MSW graduate and personal trainee of Dr. Patrick Carnes, Mr. Weiss is author of Cruise Control: Understanding Sex Addiction in Gay Men,and co-author with Dr. Jennifer Schneider of both Untangling the Web: Sex, Porn, and Fantasy Obsession in the Internet Age and the upcoming 2013 release, Closer Together, Further Apart: The Effect of Technology and the Internet on Sex, Intimacy and Relationships, along with numerous peer-reviewed articles and chapters. An author and subject expert on the relationship between digital technology and human sexuality, Mr. Weiss has served as a media specialist for CNN, The Oprah Winfrey Network, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Today Show, among many others. He has also provided clinical multi-addiction training and behavioral health program development for the US military and treatment centers throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Gentle Path Press; 2 edition (October 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982650590
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982650592
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.7 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,169 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By W. Shabana on February 20, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I started reading this book I was totally at a loss and my life was nothing but a great mess. I didn't know what to do, I didn't understand what I am facing, I was like the king in a chess game who has just been checked!! I was standing in one point not able to move one step forwards, backwards or to either of the sides. The whole situation was devastating for me when I discovered after nine years of marriage that my husband was a sex addict.

I am Egyptian and he is British. In Egypt, the culture and the religion are so very different from Europe or The United States. At the beginning I thought it was just a difference in culture and background that was causing the problems. But then things started to get worse by the day. We, in Egypt, specially girls, don't know much about issues like sex addiction or even about sex in general. I took him to three different therapists in three different situations to figure out the problem but none of them could. In a situation like that, where I don't have enough knowledge, and the therapist are not much of a help, this book was a life saver for me.

The book made the picture clear in my mind. Even if it doesn't solve the problem immediately - as this has to come from within each person according to different circumstances of each case - then at least it identifies the problem, tells you what you need to know about the fight you found yourself in, and leads you to mend your heart and soul that were badly hurt and injured. It was a very useful read in the absence of any help in my country including therapy groups. The subject of sex addiction seems to be new to the whole world, and the few therapist who know about it in Egypt were very hard to locate.
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I think the best way I can be helpful with this review is to simply tell you what's inside. This book is based on insights taken from the 12-step program. It's written for the partner of the sex addict. The focus is squarely on taking charge of one's own life, and realizing that the sex addict must make the changes in their own life.

This is not a couple's workbook. It's a workbook for one person -- the partner of the sex addict. Part I is meant for all such partners to read. Part II contains information relevant to specific situations: for example, when kids are involved, for gay couples, and when the sex addict is a man attracted to other men.

Chapter 2, "I Need to Know Everything that Happened... Or Do I?" is an especially helpful chapter. It takes a straightforward look at the frequent compulsion of non-addict partners to ask about every single detail of the betrayal, to leave no transgression unturned. The authors take the interesting perspective that a more general outline may be wiser. Using the "real estate" metaphor, the authors suggest that there is only so much emotional room in the mind, and that filling it up with too much detail might lead to more pain and hurt than is necessary. It also might make it harder to move on and forward, by creating associations and imagined memories that take longer to heal. It's an interesting and powerful chapter.

The Table of Contents gives you a clear outline of what else you'll find in the book:


Part I -- For All Partners of Sex Addicts
1. What Is Sex Addiction
2. I Need to Know Everything that Happened... Or Do I?
3. Is This Going to Get Better
4. Should I Stay Or Should I Go?
5. How Do I Set Boundaries and Keep Myself Safe?
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The only useful (and non-harming) chapter in this book is Chapter 4: "What About My Sexuality" by Omar Minwalla. Through the use of the inappropriate "co-addict" label by all of the other contributing authors, further harm is done to any partner who seeks potential comfort and guidance from this book. To label a partner a co-addict just because she/he unknowingly ended up in a relationship with a sex addict (all of which are accomplished compulsive liars!) and imply that they have any role in the sex addiction of their spouse or are in anyway "diseased" because of this relationship, is treatment induced trauma and it must STOP! Not one of the listed references provided in this book sites research findings that validates the use of this label in any situation. And that is because there is NO research based evidence that justifies the use of this very damaging label. Mental Health professionals have an inherent responsibility to do no harm. Therefore, the use of the co-addiction model in the treatment of partners suffering from a devastating relational trauma, which was induced by the sexual addiction of their spouse, has to stop. In its place, the evidenced based trauma model must be employed by all mental health professionals when treating the traumatized partner in order for there to be therapeutic healing, not harming, from sex addiction induced trauma. I encourage all partners and anyone who treats them to read "Your Sexually Addicted Spouse: How Partners Can Cope and Heal" by Barbara Steffens and Marsha Means. The paradigm shift that their book describes should immediately become the gold standard in partner treatment!
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