Frequently Asked Questions

What is coaching, and how is it different from therapy?


As a recovery coach, I help you discover new ways to achieve your desired outcome: radical freedom from unwanted sexual behavior. I do that by listening deeply to your reality, asking powerful questions that shift your perspective, and helping you create an attainable action plan to rewire your addicted brain, heal your wounded heart, connect intimately with God, and build healthy relationships. What I don't do is fix broken people. We're all broken (Romans 3:23), but we're also all made in the image of God. (Geneses 1:27) I believe with all my heart that you are a good person, no matter what type of unwanted sexual behavior you have been unable to outgrow on your own. At your core, you still embody the image of God. Your decision to face your struggle with vulnerability and courage means you are doing well. You're right where our Great Physician wants you because in our weakness, He is strong! (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) Unlike a therapist, my job is not to diagnose and treat mental illness. My job is to help guide you to a better place, where you know God's will for your life and have discovered the "good works" God has prepared in advance for you to do. (Ephesians 2:10) I'm also not going to give you all the answers. I have valuable knowledge that will help guide you to freedom, but I'll ask questions that allow you to discover these truths on your own. Self-discovery is so much more powerful. Whether you are seeing me individually or in a group, you can work concurrently with me and a therapist to add to your support system. My focus will be on recovery and helping you reach your goals. A therapist may be needed for mental illness or to help you heal from deep trauma, using treatment modalities such as EMDR or Internal Family Systems therapy. Your best interest is my chief concern. If I feel a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT) or other counselor can serve you better, I won't hesitate to refer you to a trusted provider. I am not a state-licensed counselor, therapist, or other mental health professional. I adhere to a similar code of ethics and conduct, but I am not governed by those same state licensing authorities.

While coaching can help you identify and reach life goals, it does not address mental illness, such as depression and anxiety. If you are facing issues like these, seek medical attention from a physician or a mental health professional in your area.




I've tried everything and none of it worked. How is this different?


If you've ever confessed sexual sin to a pastor and asked for help, it's likely you were told to ask God for the strength to stop your unwanted sexual behavior, sign up for an internet monitoring service, and get an accountability partner. These are all good things, and they're often necessary for recovery from an addiction to pornography or sex. But ... they're not enough. Many men have prayed earnestly for freedom, dutifully subscribed to Covenant Eyes, and asked a friend to help keep them honest, only to find themselves slipping back into old addictive patterns a few weeks, months, or years later. So what's the problem? Well, this approach is missing some key ingredients. Managing lust by locking down your phone is not a long-term solution. Likewise, prayer without a total surrender of the heart is insufficient. So is an accountability group that provides a place to confess your struggles without challenging you to make heart-level changes. Instead, a holistic approach to recovery is required to find radical freedom. Your ability to outgrow pornography and other unwanted sexual behaviors will hinge on your passion for building a new life based on these four foundations: physical freedom, emotional freedom, spiritual freedom, and relational freedom. This isn't a journey for the faint of heart. Freedom requires hard work and total commitment. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous explains it this way: “Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.” Are you ready to surrender your pride and your selfishness with complete abandon, replacing them with humility, honesty, and selflessness? If so, you can read more about my approach to recovery here.




How much does coaching cost?


My standard rate is $120 for a 50-minute coaching session. For those who commit to one of my individual coaching programs, that rate is discounted to $100 a session. I also regularly offer a seven-month group coaching package that costs $99 a month. You can learn more about each of these options on my Services page. As part of my tithe to God, I give away 10 percent of my coaching to individuals with low incomes who can't otherwise afford my services. To apply for reduced-cost or free coaching, please click here. You might be asking yourself, "Is coaching really worth the investment?" I believe freedom from unwanted sexual behavior is priceless, but it also makes financial sense on a more practical level. Take a moment and calculate in your head how much your sexual compulsions have cost you in just the past 12 months. Have you paid for access to pornography? Have you paid people for sex? Have you used gasoline and put miles on your vehicle driving to anonymous hookups? Have you bought gifts for an affair partner? Has your income been threatened after being discovered acting out using company resources or time? Will you have to pay a divorce lawyer if you're caught again by your spouse? Have you been passed over for a promotion because you're always preoccupied with your sexual fantasies instead of focusing on work? These are just a few of the ways your sexual addiction might impact your finances. Now take a moment to think about all the other non-financial costs of acting out. Have you stolen irreplaceable time from your children in order to pursue selfish sexual behavior? Have you lost sleep or developed an ulcer as you worry about the consequences of getting caught by your spouse? Have you grown distant from God as you repeatedly choose the comforts of this world over an authentic relationship with your creator? Have you risked exposing your partner to potentially incurable sexually transmitted infections? When you count the true cost of your unwanted sexual behavior, the cost of coaching pales in comparison. You can't afford to not seek radical freedom.




Do I need individual coaching or group coaching?


One-to-one coaching and group coaching both have advantages and disadvantages that are suited for specific types of individuals and for specific problems. One isn't better than the other, but they are different. I invite you to consider the following pros and cons of each type of coaching as you decide which would help you the most. Of course, if you have the time and resources, you can combine individual and group coaching. You can develop needed skills and benefit from supporting others within a group, then go deeper into your own issues in individual coaching sessions. Individual Coaching Pros:

  • Client confidentiality is most easily maintained in individual coaching.
  • The client receives one-on-one attention from the coach, allowing the coach to be very thorough in understanding the specific problems of the client and in developing an individualized approach to helping the client.
  • The level of support can be much more intense and comprehensive, especially for those who already have a lot of education but aren’t making any headway in accomplishing their goals.
  • It might be easier to develop a strong relationship with your coach.
  • The pace of recovery can be tailored to the specific client. It can be sped up in cases where clients can handle more focused and intense interventions, or it can be slowed down in cases where clients need time to adjust and move slowly.
  • Individual coaching allows for the development of self-awareness by discussing issues and getting feedback from the coach.
  • The client can arrange a time for the coaching sessions that is best for their schedule.
  • Coaching sessions can be arranged rather quickly, if needed.
  • Individual coaching allows for the development of communication skills in a completely safe environment for individuals who need help in this area.
Cons:
  • Individual coaching is typically more expensive than group coaching.
  • Some clients may have a strong need to identify with other individuals who share similar problems/issues. This need can be best addressed in a group situation.
  • Some people find it stressful to sit in a one-on-one conversation with a coach because the spotlight is always on them.
  • Clients who are not committed to changing, doing the work, and applying principles learned in coaching may struggle when they are the center of attention.
Group Coaching Pros:
  • Group coaching is typically less expensive than individual coaching.

  • Group coaching assures individuals that they are not alone and that other individuals share similar problems and struggles.

  • Group coaching offers the opportunity to both receive support from others and to give support to others. Both of these notions are important in recovery. Receiving support from others is part of the bonding that occurs in groups, whereas giving support to others allows for growth and learning. This give and take helps the client incorporate many different points of view into their recovery.

  • Group coaching helps individuals develop communication skills and socialization skills, and allows clients to learn how to express their issues and accept criticism from others.

  • Group coaching allows individuals to develop self-awareness by listening to others with similar issues. Sharing one’s experiences with others with similar problems is often itself therapeutic.

  • Group coaching provides a broad safety net for individuals who may otherwise be hesitant to discuss their feelings, perceived weaknesses, etc. Individuals in group coaching can model the successful behaviors of other individuals who have gone through similar experiences.

  • Group therapy offers a bit of downtime to focus on other people, which can be a relief at times.

Cons:
  • The client is not the sole focus of attention. The level of intervention is not as focused and intense for any single person as individual coaching.
  • The level of confidentiality in groups is less secure than in individual coaching.
  • It might be harder to develop a strong relationship with your coach.
  • Groups may allow unmotivated individuals to hide their issues and avoid accountability.
  • Groups typically meet at specific times. This can make it harder to fit coaching into your personal schedule.
  • Group coaching may be inappropriate for certain types of individuals, such as individuals who are extremely antisocial, extremely shy, impulsive, passive-aggressive, etc.
  • A group will likely contain a wide variety of different personalities. They may trigger you.




Do I have to be a Christian to be coached by John?


No, you don't have to be a Christian to benefit from my coaching. That said, if you are not open to exploring the possibility of developing a relationship with God, my coaching probably isn't a good fit for you. Sex Addicts Anonymous (and all other 12-step recovery programs) are based on the belief that "a Power greater than ourselves can accomplish for us what we could not do alone. By surrendering our addiction to a Higher Power, we receive the gift of recovery, one day at a time." (Sex Addicts Anonymous, pages 1-2) If you'd like to know more about my personal faith beliefs, please send me an email at john@radicallyfree.life. I'd love to discuss it with you




What if I struggle with unwanted same-sex attraction?


You are welcome here and this is a safe and confidential place to be known. Many Christians who struggle with unwanted same-sex attraction have never had a place that feels safe to verbalize their thoughts and fears. Is that you? Or maybe you've tried to tell someone your secrets and the conversation didn't go well, ending in more shame and condemnation instead of encouragement and hope? You are not alone, my friend. Whether you're confused about your sexual identity, or have questions about your choice to identify as homosexual or bisexual, I'd be honored to walk alongside you as you courageously seek resolution to the emotional turmoil within your heart. You don't have to hide in isolation anymore. I have real-world experience in helping men address their internal conflicts over same-sex attractions and resolve distress related to those attractions. A common and attainable goal of people I coach is to bring all aspects of life, including sexuality, into harmony with closely held religious beliefs. I believe you are a whole person and that you have the right to seek change in your life. You are lovable, of value, and not defective. You should be supported in your effort to explore, define, and articulate your own identity. It would be my privilege to help you examine and modify any of your unhealthy expressions of sexuality and/or faith. Regardless of a person’s sexual attractions, individuals have the capacity to live in healthy as well as unhealthy ways. The focus of our work together will be to decrease the distress you feel from same-sex attraction and to change any expressions of your sexuality that are unhealthy for you. I will support and guide you as you explore assumptions and values that may be causing unintended distress or harm. To be clear, I do not consider homosexuality to be a mental illness, mental disorder or disease. I also do not provide therapy, including "conversion therapy" or "reparative therapy," nor do I promise a "cure" for unwanted same-sex attraction. I abide by the Reconciliation and Growth Project's Declaration on Avoiding Harm.




Will everything I tell John be confidential?


I adhere to the International Coach Federation's Code of Ethics. I am committed to protecting the confidentiality of any information obtained around the coaching engagement unless consent to release is given or one of the following circumstances exists:

  • I have a reasonable belief there is imminent or likely risk of danger to self or others.
  • Adherance to any applicable federal, state and/or local laws that require me to report current, ongoing criminal activity that I become aware of. Criminal activity includes sexual abuse, incest, rape, the use/possession/distribution of child pornography, and any other criminal offenses currently in progress.
  • If required by law, pursuant to valid court order or subpoena.
Where I reasonably believe one of the above circumstances is applicable, I may need to inform appropriate authorities.




How long will I need to be coached?


Many experts say that fully outgrowing unwanted sexual behavior generally takes between two and five years, depending on the individual and his circumstances. For someone whose only struggle is compulsively viewing internet pornography, the typical timeframe is shorter. In general, I believe it's wise to plan on meeting with your coach weekly for at least 12 months, although a coaching engagement might last 6 months or less depending on the client's goals, the depth of their struggle, and the personal work they've already been doing to heal. Ultimately, the length of time you'll need to receive coaching depends on a variety of factors, but you control many of them. Take a moment to consider your answers to these questions:

  • Are you willing to change your behavior? For example, if you often feel tempted to relapse after you've had a drink or two, are you willing to quit drinking?
  • How much effort are you willing to put into your recovery? Are you willing to throw yourself into recovery homework as though someone had offered you $1 million to stay sober from selfish sexual behavior?
  • Do you have a good support network? If not, are you willing to build one by making yourself vulnerable and sharing your needs, desires and hopes?
In a study of recovering sex addicts, Dr. Patrick Carnes identified these six unique stages of recovery from sex addiction.
  1. The Developing Stage (up to 2 years): During this period, the sexual addict’s problems mount and create an awareness that something needs to be done. The person may seek therapy or attend a 12-step group, then drop out.
  2. The Crisis/Decision Stage (1 day to 3 months): At some point, the addict crosses a line where there is a fundamental commitment to change. This is often precipitated by a personal crisis.
  3. The Shock Stage (first 6 to 8 months): Once they admit the problem, addicts enter a stage that parallels what happens to anyone who has experienced deep loss and change. Disbelief and numbness alternate with anger and feelings of separation. Addicts describe physical symptoms of withdrawal that are at times agonizing.
  4. The Grief Stage (6 months): As they emerge from their shock, patients become aware of their emotional pain.There is awareness of all the losses caused by their sexual addiction. Also, deeper hurts stemming from early childhood abuse or neglect rise to the surface since there is no longer an addiction to numb them.
  5. The Repair Stage (18 to 36 months): Sexual addicts who were successful in negotiating the rigors of the previous stage move from the pain into a deep, internal restructuring. Belief systems about self, sex, family, and values are overhauled. New patterns of behavior develop.
  6. The Growth Stage (2 plus years): As sexually compulsive persons achieve more balance in their lives and develop a greater sense of themselves, they become more available to others. Relationships with partners, friends, children, and family go through a period of renewal.




What happens in a typical coaching session?


24 hours beforehand, you'll receive a Pre-Session Worksheet. It's your responsibility to complete this worksheet before we meet. Don't stress about whether or not you're doing it correctly. We'll get to that later. On the day of the appointment, at the time you scheduled, we'll meet using Zoom. It's free, and it works great. You can download Zoom here. Here's how the 50-minute session will go: 1. Prayer: I'll lead us in a prayer. 2. Check-in: We'll review your week, using the worksheet as a starting point. 3. Conversation: During our first appointment, I'll explain the coaching process and answer your questions. But most weeks, we'll have a deeper conversation on a topic you want to explore. 4. Action: I'll invite you to develop a plan to take action on what you've discovered and learned during our discussion. After the session, you'll receive a Post-Session Worksheet to capture your learning.




What is sex addiction?


Sex addiction is the active use of a sexual behavior -- masturbation, pornography, fetishes, anonymous hookups, paying for sex, etc. -- with yourself or others in a compulsive, life-destroying pattern. At the root of these unwanted sexual behaviors is an intimacy disorder that often stems from trauma and emotional pain experienced earlier in life. “Sex addicts typically struggle with underlying emotional or psychological problems often stemming from early life abuse such as physical or sexual trauma or emotional neglect," says Robert Weiss, a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist and author on the subject of intimacy disorders. Does this sound like you? I encourage you to take this free Sex Addiction Screening Test and then share your responses with me in a free breakthrough coaching session.