Paraphilia is a disorder
May 14, 2019

Paraphilia means someone is sexually aroused by people or things that are unable to return their affection. A lot of people are struggling with this disorder and don't know where to turn for help.

Paraphilia comes in many forms. Here are a few:

  • Exhibitionism- wanting to expose oneself to strangers
  • Fetishism- sexual arousal by non-sexual objects
  • Frotteurism- sexual arousal by rubbing against strangers 
  • Masochism - wanting to be hurt physicallySadism - wanting to hurt people
  • Pedophilia - wanting to have sex with children

Individuals suffering from these psychological disorders  need to find a healthy place to learn how to control their urges. I recently started working with couples who are dealing with paraphilias. One partner doesn't want to give permission for the other partner's behavior. This is difficult. How do you find a compromise because there is no compromise. The goal of therapy is to help clients understand this disorder can lead to crossing the line into a criminal act and intervention is critical.

Treatment options for those with a paraphilia vary; it is all individually-based. Psychotherapy can be one effective treatment option. Cognitive behavioral therapy can be very effective. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) involves applying behavioral therapy techniques to modify sexual deviations by altering the individual's distorted thinking patterns, so the client becomes cognizant of the irrational justifications that lead to undesirable sexual behaviors. 

Relapse prevention techniques are an important part of the treatment process; they help the individual control the undesirable behaviors by avoiding situations that generate desires. 

If you are seeking help for a paraphilia, remember that not all therapists are equipped to treat these clients. Do your research first.

Rita Clark is trained in cognitive behavior therapy and will see patients who are experiencing a paraphilia disorder.


Rita Clark, LMSW, is a licensed social worker who sees clients at The Center for Relationship and Sexual Health in Royal Oak. She has more than 20 years of experience working in many areas, including early childhood development; juvenile delinquency;

prison re-entry; sexual health and education; individual, group, couples and family counseling; substance abuse and HIV. Rita received her master’s degree from the Eastern Michigan University School of Social Work, and she completed the University of Michigan Sexual Health Certificate Program in Sex Education, Counseling and Therapy. Rita is certified as a HIV testing counselor. Her treatment approaches are Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Reality Therapy (RT), Solution Focused-Brief Therapy, and Behavioral and Humanistic Therapies with an emphasis on using integrative approaches to maximize positive client outcomes. 

If you would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Clark, call The Center for Relationship and Sexual Health at 248.399.7447.

Download this blog: Paraphilia is a disorder. 

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