Patrick Carnes, Ph.D., is currently Director of the Gentle Path program at The Meadows in Wickenburg, Arizona and the primary architect of the Gentle Path treatment programs for the treatment of sexual and multiple addictive disorders. He is author of Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction (1983), the first work designed to help addicts deal with their sexual compulsions, and to examine the tangled web of trauma, love, addictive sex, hate, and fear often found in family relationships. He pioneered the founding of the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals which specializes in the Certified Sex Addiction Therapist program. This has evolved into a network of local, regional, and residential programs which specialize in this work.
He has published numerous works as well, including Contrary to Love: Helping the Sexual Addict (1989), A Gentle Path through the Twelve Steps (1994), The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships (1997), Open Hearts (1999), Facing the Shadow (2001), In the Shadows of the Net (2001), Recovery Zone (2009), and A Gentle Path through the Twelve Principles (2012).
The New Times suggested his book, Sexual Anorexia: Overcoming Sexual Self-Hatred (1997) “will create a new wave of understanding about sexuality and the dynamics in intimate sexual relationships.” Dr. Carnes is co-editor of Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention, a Taylor and Francis publication and the official journal of the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health.
With 30 years in the addiction field, Dr. Carnes is in high demand as a speaker, presenter, and interview subject and continues to be the leading voice in the field of sex addiction. In addition, his assessment tools related to sex addiction and trauma offer therapists a proven means to begin the treatment process with clients.
He has been awarded the distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH), and each year SASH (formerly known as the National Council on Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity) bestows a "Carnes Award" to deserving researchers and clinicians who have made outstanding contributions to the field of sexual medicine.
From 1996 until 2004, Dr. Carnes was Clinical Director for Sexual Disorder Services at The Meadows in Wickenburg, Arizona. While there, he developed a therapeutic technology based on his landmark study of the recoveries of 1,000 sex addicts. This work is summarized in Don’t Call It Love, which has been described by The New Age Journal as “the best book on the market about addiction and its costs and consequences.”
Previously, Dr. Carnes designed the sexual dependency unit at Golden Valley Health Center in Golden Valley, Minnesota. This unit was the country’s first in-patient facility for sexual addiction. Since that time, he has been instrumental in the development of treatment facilities across the country.
Dr. Carnes graduated in 1966 from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He received his Master’s degree in 1969 from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and a Ph.D. in counselor education and organizational development from the University of Minnesota in 1980.
His professional organization memberships include:
- American Academy of Health Care Providers in the Addictive Disorders
- American Psychological Association
- National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors
- Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health
- National Council on Family Relations
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