Clinical and Ethical Considerations for the Treatment of Cybersex Addiction for Marriage and Family Therapists (2012)

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DOI: 10.1080/15332691.2012.718967

Kathryn E. Jonesa & Amelia E. Tuttlea

pages 274-290

Version of record first published: 23 Oct 2012


The Internet has become a forum for various kinds of sexual activity, and an addiction to sexual activities on the Internet has become increasingly common. Cybersex addiction is not currently included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision, and research on the ethical treatment of cybersex addiction is limited. As cybersex addiction is entering the therapeutic arena with more frequency, a myriad of clinical and ethical issues can pervade individual and couples counseling surrounding this issue. It benefits marriage and family therapists to be aware of the ethical issues that may arise in treatment. Common ethical issues include trivializing the effects the addiction has on couple and family cohesiveness, unconscious self-of-therapist values such as opinions toward pornography, and lack of therapeutic competence regarding cybersex addiction. These ethical concerns are not common within the literature and are not addressed in therapist training programs. Guidelines for ethical assessment and treatment and training suggestions for therapists are outlined.