Displaying items by tag: counseling

Tuesday, 29 August 2023 16:06

The Impact of Pornography on Couples: Part 1

“Is pornography use harmful to our relationship?” This is a common question for couples and has been of increasing interest in the field of couples therapy as pornography use has become more accepted and prevalent in today’s society, especially among young adults (Hesse & Floyd, 2019). The current literature reports somewhat mixed findings, and there are still gaps in the research as this area of study is relatively newer. Overall, the negative effects of pornography use on relationships appear to vastly outnumber any positive ones. However, every relationship is different and there are myriad factors to consider when assessing the impact of pornography use on your relationship. The goal of this brief piece is to provide you with knowledge of the most relevant and current research so that you can make an informed decision regarding the role of pornography in your relationship and in your personal life.

In terms of the positive impacts of watching pornography, the current literature has identified some positive effects for women, gay men, and couples. Within these populations, pornography use was found to be associated with increased relationship quality, sexual satisfaction, communication about sexual desires, partner sexual desire, and partnered sexual activity for women in both heterosexual and same-sex relationships (Huntington et al., 2021; Vaillancourt-Morel et al., 2020). An increase in partnered sexual activity was also found to be associated with pornography use for gay men (Vaillancourt-Morel et al., 2020). Interestingly, no positive impacts of pornography use were identified for heterosexual men. These findings indicate that the type of pornography being watched may be an important factor when it comes to predicting the impact of pornography on relationships, since men and women tend to watch very different types of pornography (Huntington et al., 2021).

To address the opening question, pornography use is consistently found to be associated with weaker relationship stability and commitment (Willoughby & Dover, 2022). Couples watching pornography together was associated with psychological and physical aggression, as well as contention. When people watch pornography, they are choosing to turn towards a screen for gratification and connection instead of their partner, resulting in increased feelings of loneliness and disconnection (Gottman, 2021; Hesse & Floyd, 2019). Even more concerning is the idea highlighted in the documentary Brain, heart, world that, in general, pornography use is associated with people viewing their partners – and the actors in pornography – as mere objects for sexual gratification. With more frequent use, pornography can alter individuals’ brain chemistry and lead to pornography (or other related) addictions. Eventually one’s brain can become excessively and exclusively preoccupied with viewing pornography, with any other stimulus holding increasingly little interest (Brain, heart, world). Needless to say, this change in brain chemistry is detrimental to relationships, interpersonal connection, and sexual intimacy.

Part two of this piece will explore ethical considerations as well as factors to keep in mind regarding pornography use in order to be aware of the potential negative effects on your relationship.

Written by Chloe Pimentel, Graduate Level Therapist of Wellington Counseling Group


Brain, heart, world - docuseries about the harmful effects of porn. Brain Heart World. (2022, June 23). https://brainheartworld.org/

Gottman, J. (2021, February 4). An open letter on Porn. The Gottman Institute. https://www.gottman.com/blog/an-open-letter-on-porn/

Hesse, C., & Floyd, K. (2019). Affection substitution: The effect of pornography consumption on close relationships. Journal of Social & Personal Relationships, 36(11–12), 3887–3907. https://doi-org.auth.lib.niu.edu/10.1177/0265407519841719

Huntington, C., Markman, H., & Rhoades, G. (2021). Watching Pornography Alone or Together: Longitudinal Associations With Romantic Relationship Quality. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 47(2), 130–146. https://doi-org.auth.lib.niu.edu/10.1080/0092623X.2020.1835760

Willoughby, B. J., & Dover, C. R. (2022). Context matters: Moderating effects in the associations between pornography use, perceived addiction, and relationship well-being. The Journal of Sex Research, 1–14. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2022.2148155

Vaillancourt-Morel, M.-P., Rosen, N. O., Willoughby, B. J., Leonhardt, N. D., & Bergeron, S. (2020). Pornography use and romantic relationships: A dyadic daily diary study.

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Marriage can be a beautiful journey, but it is not without its ups and downs. When issues arise and communication breaks down, seeking professional help can be instrumental in building and maintaining a lasting and meaningful union. Marriage therapy in Chicago is a wonderful tool for couples to navigate their challenges, improve communication, and reignite the spark in their relationship. Let's take a closer look at what marriage therapy entails and how it can benefit couples from all walks of life.

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In recent news, a group of parrots have found friendship and companionship through video chats during the pandemic. These parrots, who were once lonely and isolated due to COVID-19 restrictions, have been able to connect with other parrots through virtual hangouts. It’s an inspiring example of how technology can help us connect with others, even in times of isolation and loneliness. It also highlights the importance of social connections and the profound impact they have on our well-being. If you’re struggling with feelings of isolation or social anxiety, then therapy in Chicago can be a resource for regaining connection and confidence.

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Do you struggle to cope with big changes in your life? Whether it's starting a new job, getting married, or losing a loved one, major life transitions can be overwhelming. You may feel lost, anxious, or even depressed. Many people struggle to adapt to new situations and may feel stuck in a cycle of stress and worry. This is where life transitions therapy comes in.

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Watching someone you love struggle with an eating disorder can be a heart-wrenching and overwhelming experience. You may feel helpless and unsure of how to best support them. However, there are steps you can take to assist your loved one on their journey towards recovery, even as they seek treatment. If someone you care about is in eating disorder treatment in Chicago, there are ways you can provide meaningful support. Our counselors have provided some suggestions on helping your loved one navigate the recovery process and offer guidance on how to be an ally in their journey towards a healthier life.

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So, you’re interested in pursuing a career in psychology in Chicago? With a thriving community of mental health professionals and organizations, the Windy City offers many opportunities for aspiring psychologists and counseling professionals. At Wellington Counseling Group, we’re dedicated to helping individuals build fulfilling and meaningful careers in the field of psychology, and we are currently looking for new therapists to join our team. If you’re looking to jumpstart your psychology career in Chicago, WCG may be the right place for you.

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Every romantic relationship will have struggles and hardships from time to time. But sometimes it makes sense for romantic partners to seek out professional counseling services to strengthen their bonds and work through issues. If you are thinking about getting couples counseling in Chicago, then this article has the information you need to know.

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Tuesday, 15 June 2021 17:20

5 Benefits of Group Therapy in Chicago

The thought of attending group therapy might sound intimidating at first. Sharing your story with strangers? It’s very personal, and to really benefit from the process, you’ll have to share things you aren’t inclined to tell even your closest friends and family. It’s enough to make anyone a little apprehensive. But group therapy can be extremely beneficial for plenty of people. Here are five reasons to consider attending group therapy in Chicago.

1. Understanding you are not alone

One of the biggest benefits of group therapy is learning that you are not alone in your struggles. Oftentimes, people struggling with mental health, self-destructive behaviors, or trauma feel alienated and isolated, which makes it difficult for them to seek treatment.

Attending group therapy can help connect you with people who are dealing with similar issues. This shared understanding of a difficult experience helps you build a sense of community with other trusting individuals, where you won’t be judged and you won’t be alone. Many people also report reduced stress and pain surrounding the condition they’re suffering from when attending group therapy.

2. Different perspectives

Group therapy, at its very core, is all about the input of different perspectives. When you’re surrounded by others with their own unique experiences, it can help you look at your issues differently and learn new coping mechanisms.

3. Accountability

In most scenarios, peer pressure is perceived as negative, but group therapy can lead to more accountability. You’ll be more motivated to manage your condition when you’re surrounded by others who are working hard day in and day out to heal.

The members in your group also act as a sounding board. Let’s say, for example, you are discussing a fight you had with your partner. Hearing from those around you about how you come across can be exceptionally powerful. They can help you see things you may not see at first because you are too close to the situation or issue at hand. Playing your part in that accountability by offering frank feedback to others that you likely wouldn’t feel comfortable saying to your own friends and family, can be more than edifying to their process; it can bring a sense of growth to you, as well, for being accountable to your group peers.

4. Empower your voice

Being aware of your feelings and knowing how to express them are two very different things. We’re often acutely aware of how we feel; it’s expressing those feelings and finding our voice that’s challenging. Group therapy provides you with the opportunity to practice this over and over again.

It also helps teach you a lot about yourself and become more self-aware and self-connected.

5. Group therapy costs less than individual therapy

Counseling can be expensive. And most likely, managing your condition even without therapy is a financial burden in and of itself. There is a common misconception that because group therapy is more affordable, it’s not as beneficial. That assumption couldn’t be further from the truth. Many people find group therapy to be even more beneficial than one-on-one counseling sessions. Most members of therapy groups find that it’s the combination of group and individual treatment that really moves the needle on living more authentically.

Learn more about group therapy in Chicago

If you’re interested in learning more about group therapy in Chicago, reach out to us today at Wellington Counseling Group. As a trusted counseling resource for adults, children, couples, and families, we specialize in treating mental health disorders, behavioral issues, life transitions, family dynamics, and trauma.

Contact us today to schedule your first group therapy session.

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Every family experiences challenges and conflicts from time to time. However, if your family is fighting more often than not, that’s a sign you should seek professional help. If you’re even considering family counseling, that in and of itself means it’s probably something you and your family members can benefit from. And although seeking counseling can sometimes initially feel like a sign of failure or defeat, it’s actually the first step towards helping your family improve communication and work through conflict to establish healthy and stable relationships. If you’re still on the fence, here’s how to determine if family counseling in Chicago is right for you. 

Monday, 11 January 2021 15:53

5 Reasons to Seek Couples Counseling in Chicago

Every romantic relationship experiences some level of conflict. For some, fights revolve around money. For others, a lack of communication can lead to never-ending arguments. Whether you’ve been with your partner for a month or a decade, all couples at some point can benefit from counseling. Therapy can provide a safe space to talk about scary things, pressing concerns, and other issues your relationship may be suffering from. Here are five reasons to seek couples counseling in Chicago. 

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