Charlene Lewis - LCSW, CAP, CSAT, AASECT
Thank you for visiting our website. My name is Charlene Lewis and I am a certified sex therapist, with over a decade of training in couples issues and sex addiction.
My career as a therapist began at the Addiction Treatment Center in Baptist Health System’s South Miami Hospital. I had the pleasure and honor to treat patients struggling with substance abuse issues for almost a decade. My own personal family experience with addiction, and clinical work, gave me a real world training in addiction which I am grateful for, and has served me well.
Many of my patients were struggling with sexual issues, and sexual compulsion, which led me to become certified as a sex therapist and sex addiction therapist.
My training in sex addiction was done under sex addiction pioneer and author Dr. Patrick Carnes.
I have come to learn that at its core, addiction is an intimacy disorder.
Healthy sex and sexuality, developing from secure attachment, are a critical component of what it is to be a human being experiencing true intimacy
Put simply, if we cannot securely attach to other human beings while growing up, it becomes difficult to trust that our needs will be met in a healthy way moving forward.
On some level an addict decides that they alone will need to be in charge of self-soothing, because those charged with that responsibility have not provided adequate safety and security (emotional, physical, or sexual). This choice is almost always made unconsciously, as a means of survival. It is a negative coping strategy.
With the advent of the internet, the ease with which people can engage in compulsive sexual activity has led to a serious health crisis; almost 20 million Americans would meet criteria for sex addiction.
The experience of love, healthy sexuality, and true connection in a relationship happens when there is a body of practical experience with healthy attachment. Being able to trust our partners, and more importantly trust ourselves with the body, mind, and spirit that we have been given, requires education. It requires self care and compassion. It requires open-mindedness. It requires work.
Starting with the work to be done within ourselves, and then with our partners, it begins to have an immediate impact on everyone that we love.
From both personal and clinical experience, I can tell you that even when you factor in the cost of suffering for so many years, the work pays out dividends which eventually seem staggering.
I would be honored to join you on your journey towards happy and healthy love.
A lack of connection seems to be a theme that is getting more attention in today’s media. Yet in this age of technological quickening, the gap between what humans truly want, and what they are habitually working towards, seems to be widening. Anxiety, a feeling of being less connected with our spouses, peers, friends, and our true selves, has become the norm.
There is a solution. Or we should say…..there are a set of solutions to greater intimacy with ourselves.
In her clinical work Charlene found that many of her patients experienced trauma, and disfunction which they were mostly unaware of. This was the case with her “non-addict” individuals and couples as well. Sometimes in the form of one “Big T” (catastrophic trauma) or many small “Little T’s” (negative experiences early on in life), this trauma would lead to addiction and intimacy issues that they experienced. Identifying and processing trauma and coping skills that no longer work, seemed to loosen the grip of addiction, denial, and begin the healing process for both the individual, couples, and immediate family members. Seeing the wellspring of recovery envelop individuals and entire family systems is what motivates us to continue to work develop our practice.
She will walk her patients through fear, self-doubt, negative self-talk, and negative self-fulfilling prophecy, to develop a more loving relationship with themselves, and consequently their partners. Intimacy and vulnerability can feel terrifyingly foreign at first. The process of learning how to reparent our inner child by way of reprocessing our past experiences, requires a safe environment and a well trained therapist. Among the many techniques that Charlene employs to treat past trauma and old constructs that no longer work, are EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy) talk therapy, and Imago therapy. With Charlene her patients seem to be able to uncover, discover, and discard negative thinking patterns and unhealthy coping mechanisms, in a safe environment without judgement.