Polygraphs Help Define What Is True
Truth is important. It helps us know what is real.
We can trust truthful information.
We use truth as a starting place to define our world, environment, and perspective.
Truth is even more important when treating sex addiction.
Sex addiction is a secret world that is usually locked away to everyone except for the addict.
Sure, you may get a glimpse here and there. You might see a text message, phone call, email, or receipt, but the majority of the sexual behavior is never going to come into the light without finding out the truth.
When you are dealing with hidden sexual behavior, addiction, manipulation, and deceptiveness, it can be hard to get to the bottom of what is actually going on.
Polygraphs help you discern the truth between what you think is going on, what your partner or spouse tells you is going on, and what is actually going on.
What Is A Polygraph?
Polygraphs (aka lie detectors) are machines that monitor and compare elements of the autonomic nervous system.
The autonomic nervous system is made up of the body’s sensory inputs and outputs that you cannot consciously control.
How Do Polygraphs Work?
The polygraph measures things like a person’s heart rate, breathing patterns, blood pressure, sweat glands, and other similar elements.
After a person’s baseline measurements are recorded, they are asked sets of questions that are known to be true and false.
This establishes how they respond to the baseline control questions and how their body’s autonomic nervous system reacts to those questions.
Next, the person is asked several more series of questions which have unknown answers.
Based on the measurements from those questions, a person’s responses can be matched to their baseline responses to see if it matches a truthful answer or untruthful answer.
Polygraphs and Sex Addiction
I was the first therapist in the field of sexual addiction recovery to use polygraphs to help sex addicts begin their journeys to recovery.
Both sex addicts and their partners or spouses benefit from using polygraphs. This is because they help both people in the marriage or relationship.
Sex Addicts and Polygraphs
For the sex addict, polygraphs destroy their secret world because sex addiction needs both opportunity and secrecy.
We cannot get rid of the opportunity to fuel the addiction with the widespread availability of internet access, but we can get rid of secrecy.
Sex addiction loses its strength once the addict no longer has a secret world to hide in.
This is because sex addicts used to hold on to the fact that no one was going to know about their sexual behavior.
Now by using polygraphs, their partner or spouse will definitely know. This creates an entirely new dynamic. It gives them an opportunity to come clean.
The results of the polygraph help the addict remove the guilt, shame, and fear of discovery from their life.
I was working with an addict in recovery recently, and he told me, “Thank you Dr. Weiss. I’ve been in counseling for a couple years. My counselor was letting me get away with not doing this (recovery work). You allowed me to take a polygraph and today is the first day I am not a liar. I feel good about myself.”
Now, when someone feels good about themselves, they are much less likely to act out and return to old behaviors.
Partners of Sex Addicts and Polygraphs
For partners of sex addicts, polygraphs are a way for them to be confident in finding out the truth. It is fair for you as a partner to have this information!
The partners or spouses, don’t have to be paranoid or obsess trying to check all of the addict’s emails, phone numbers, or try to control the situation.
The sex addict in their life can simply do a polygraph to verify the truth surrounding the sex addiction.
Finding out the truth helps the partner or spouse make decisions about the future and where to take their relationship.
I recommend that couples who are dedicated to recovery work on their future with ongoing polygraphs.
For example, polygraphs can be done every quarter for the first year to establish that the sex addiction has indeed ended. After that, it is good to take another polygraph every six months . during recovery year two and once a year moving forward until trust is reestablished.
What Can Polygraphs Discover About Sex Addiction?
Polygraphs can answer specific questions and discover things like:
- If there was sex outside of the marriage or relationship or not.
- If sex was paid for or not.
- If sex did occur, what type of sex was it.
- If a relationship in question stopped or verifying when it stopped.
- If masturbation occurs, how often it occurs or verifying when it stopped.
- If viewing pornography plays a part in the sex addiction or not.
For specific details about the polygraph questions, we have two DVDs specifically about this topic which are available through the American Association for Sex Addiction Training (AASAT).
The first DVD goes into great detail about what polygraphs are. The second DVD covers which questions to ask during the polygraph, how to word the questions, and what other information is helpful to know. You can view these DVDs using the links below.
This is the 31st DVD from the AASAT Sexual Recovery Training Program. Dr. Weiss discusses the important of using a polygraph when working with sex addicts and the techniques involved.
This is the 32nd DVD from the AASAT Sexual Recovery Training Program. Dr. Weiss discusses the important of using a polygraph when working with sex addicts and the techniques involved.
Polygraphs In Sex Addiction Treatment?
I want to encourage you to use polygraphs if you are thinking about getting treatment for sex addiction. Polygraphs are one of the best ways to verify truth when questioning someone’s behavior and get them the help they need after learning the truth.
I have worked with many men who were struggling with sex addiction who didn’t take polygraphs until they completed a Sex Addiction Intensive with me.
The sex addiction intensives are three to five days long and are focused around helping couples and individuals overcome sexual behaviors and addiction.
Myself and my team developed these intensives as custom treatment plans to help people who are struggling with sexual behaviors and addiction, and I have been helping people recover for over thirty years.
We use polygraphs in them because we care about the truth and helping them recover.
I have found polygraph results show a large percentage of the sex addicted men I work with were lying about significant things in their marriages and relationships.
If partners and spouses don’t have the truth about sexual addiction, they are literally “treading water” in their relationships, and their feet are not hitting the ground. This can go on for years and significantly hinder and hurt the relationship or marriage if it is not addressed.
What If My Counselor Doesn’t Support Polygraphs?
I want to focus on the importance of polygraphs for counselors and therapists for a minute.
Sex addiction is everywhere in our world today. I have seen doctors, lawyers, and pastors fall under the influence of pornography, masturbation, and emotional or physical affairs.
I have even seen counselors fall under the influence of sex addiction – the very thing they are trying to treat! If you are seeing a counselor for sex addiction treatment who doesn’t support polygraphs, you need to ask them several questions.
These questions include when was the last time they masturbated, viewed pornography, or cheated on their spouse?
You must be seeing a counselor who is “clean” to make sure you have a healthy relationship with them and that they can actually help you break free from your sexual addiction.
Myself and my team at Heart to Heart Counseling Center take annual polygraphs ourselves exactly for this purpose. We are dedicated to helping people recover and can prove that we are in control of our own lives and can help you do the same.
The Next Steps
Polygraphs can significantly help you if you or someone you love is struggling with sex addiction.
The end result of using polygraphs is behavioral transparency. A recovering sex addict will be less likely to act out because the shame is gone, their secret world is revealed, and they can feel good about themselves again.
Choose to be truthful. Make changes for the better. Take a polygraph.
For more information about polygraphs and sex addiction treatment, call us at 719-278-3708 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Douglas Weiss, Ph.D. is the founder of the Sexual Freedom Class and author of the Lust Free Living book. He is also the president of the American Association for Sex Addiction Therapy. He is also the executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs.