British Parents Paying Top Dollar To Send Teens On Specialist Therapy Courses To Stop Sexting

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The town of Hilvarenbeek has a new and quite extraordinary regime –exercise, rigorous scheduling, a careful diet and a complete ban on mobile phones.

There is a very good reason for this regime – it’s for young women who are addicted to ‘sexting’.

The Mail on Sunday has established and reported that increasing numbers of desperate British parents are spending in excess of £70,000 on specialist courses of therapy abroad at centres like these and it’s all because their daughters have become hopelessly hooked on sending naked photographs of themselves via their mobile phones and the internet.

The Yes We Can Youth Clinic in Holland say that the facility is inundated with enquiries from British families. Many British girls have already been booked in for addiction to sexting after suffering terrible mental breakdowns, including depression and suicidal feelings.

This phenomenon is escalating at an alarming rate and the number of counselling sessions it provides in relation to sexting is expected to increase significantly for 2016/17.

Many teenagers think that sexting it is just a high-tech way of fooling around however the founder of the clinic, Jan Willem Poot, said it can have the same destructive effects as drugs or gambling. It predominantly affects girls – who do it for the excitement and attention of exposing themselves online.

It is, in fact, the fastest-growing addiction among young women – matched only by addiction to computer games among young men.

Mr Poot is concerned that the consequences are long-term and says it can lead girls to indulge in serious risk-taking behaviour – and even prostitution. “In the search for a similar but ever-more intense ‘high’. young girls have been seriously affected by screen addiction in recent years – to social media and [encrypted texting service] WhatsApp,’ he explains.

This has become a way of living for many teenagers but the most extreme part of it is sending pictures.
Sexting has become such a big problem and we are treating many girls for it, now from Britain as well. It is attention-seeking at its most extreme. They send naked pictures to a friend or a group on WhatsApp, and the compliment – someone saying, “Wow, you look great” – is all they are thinking about. They want the response telling them that their body is beautiful. That is a stronger feeling than seeing the consequences.”

He added ‘At this point something more intensive needs to be done or their behaviour is at risk of getting worse,’ and that ‘It starts around the age of 13 and if it isn’t treated, it gets worse and some of them will end up offering or selling their bodies to get that same feeling – that “wow” feeling.’

The Yes We Can clinic, which also treats social media, gaming, drugs and alcohol addictions for young people between the ages of 13 and 25, has a strict daily regime where ‘fellows’ – as the patients are referred to – are given little free time.

The programme requires them to undergo 6 hours of therapy per day, both one-on-one and in group sessions.

The most popular way to treat screen-based addictions such as sexting is cognitive behavioural therapy, a talking therapy which aims to change the pattern of negative thoughts and behaviours. Participants are also required to engage in 3-and-a-half hours of sport, and complete homework assignments. It’s all healthy eating and no junk food, which is prepared by qualified chefs.

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