When most people think of intimacy, romantic and sexual relationships usually come to mind. While sex can build intimacy with a partner, there’s more to it than just physical attraction. Real intimacy is the closeness that develops between two or more people and isn’t restricted to romantic relationships — it’s about sharing a physical or emotional connection with someone. It’s a feeling of comfort and familiarity characterized by the ability to be open, honest and vulnerable with others, usually close friends, family members or romantic partners.
At Valiant Living, we understand that relationships are a core part of our existence. As social beings, humans have a deep-seated need for love and intimacy, but sometimes our relationships with others can go off track and become dysfunctional. When this happens, the emotional toll can impact future relationships and lead to intimacy disorders, making it difficult to form meaningful connections with others. Since intimacy is a key component for a happy, fulfilling life, addressing the underlying issues that interfere with forming healthy emotional attachments can help build the meaningful connections that everyone deserves.
Intimacy disorders happen when an individual has problems maintaining close, personal relationships and feels uncomfortable sharing their thoughts or feelings with others. This can stem from attachment trauma, which happens when a parent, sibling, caregiver or other important figure breaks a person’s trust or cannot provide an adequate amount of care and affection, especially early in life. Examples of attachment trauma also include neglect, abandonment, and abuse. Regardless of the cause, the end result is a fear of intimacy that disrupts the ability to form normal, healthy relationships.
Intimacy disorders can materialize in several ways and include a full range of sexual and emotional issues, such as compulsive sexual behavior, inappropriate relationships, infidelity, pornography addiction, risk-taking and overuse of electronic communications. Although it manifests differently for each person, a fear of intimacy can cause individuals to sabotage their personal relationships or push others away to avoid getting close to anyone. To fill the void, some may turn to substance abuse or engage in disruptive behaviors, making those with intimacy problems more susceptible to other issues like addiction or mental illness.
At Valiant Living, we understand the impact that intimacy disorders can have on a person’s life and mental wellness. Although those with intimacy problems may enjoy professional or financial success and otherwise function normally, an inability to truly love themselves or others will stall their life in other ways. That’s why we offer highly-personalized treatment options for men with intimacy disorders — to help them overcome a fear of intimacy and discover the value of closeness so they can finally experience the joys of an open, honest relationship with their loved ones.
Many men whose lives have been unmoored by addiction, trauma or mental illness also struggle with a co-occurring intimacy disorder. But intimacy disorders can affect anyone, and the warning signs are as varied as the individual experiencing them. Although it’s necessary to see a professional for a proper diagnosis, a consistent pattern of unstable relationships, fear of commitment and keeping others at a distance may point to an intimacy disorder. Some other signs to look for include:
The goal of intimacy disorder treatment is to remove the roadblocks that prevent an individual from getting close to others and establish a foundation for healthy, fulfilling relationships. Left untreated, those with intimacy disorders will never experience deep emotional bonding or feel safe sharing their thoughts, feelings or needs with loved ones, so we utilize a number of therapeutic techniques to ignite the healing process, including:
This integrative, holistic approach is available across all levels of care, including outpatient treatment, partial hospitalization programming (PHP) and intensive outpatient programming (IOP). The Intimacy Disorders Track at Valiant Living is typically a 90-day program that begins in PHP and steps down into an IOP or outpatient program, but we base each individual’s recovery progress on clinical milestones rather than strict timelines.
Although it varies, most clients are ready to transition into IOP after four to five weeks, where they’ll resume their daily lives with ongoing support. Upon completing the 90-day program, local clients have the opportunity to continue working with our staff on an outpatient basis and attend therapy sessions after they return home. To ensure lasting recovery with out-of-state clients, we will continue to work with them remotely via Zoom for up to 30 days while we connect them with providers in their area.
Intimacy disorders are often rooted in early attachment trauma, abuse or neglect, but can affect anyone who has had their trust betrayed by someone close to them. And since the internet has opened up a whole new world of fantasy, pornography and addictive dysfunction, more people than ever are experiencing increased problems with intimacy. Despite being overshadowed by other concerns like the opioid epidemic or COVID-19, intimacy disorders remain an important issue to address to ensure a fulfilling, balanced life for those affected.
If you or someone you care about is struggling with an intimacy disorder, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. At Valiant Living, we can help repair dysfunctional or maladaptive relationships so clients and their loved ones can begin forming healthy, authentic emotional bonds built on real intimacy. To learn more about our Intimacy Disorder Track and how it can help, contact or call us today at 720-319-7384.
Valiant Living’s Restorations Therapy Center offers therapy for addictions, sexual issues, and affair recovery in the Denver area. A range of services is offered including individual counseling, group counseling, couples therapy, marriage intensives, weekend intensives, and more, to provide customized treatment programs for every individual. to learn more, contact us today.