Welcome to Living in Freedom! We have a passion to restore and strengthen marriages. One of the most effective modes we use is by healing the sexual and intimacy brokenness of the husband and the wife individually and together, since statistics show that 66% of men and 27% of woman actively seek out pornography. We have been helping men and women slay addictions and solidify marriages for almost 10 years now with miraculous results. After helping over 1000 people navigate struggles in life, we’ve seen patterns that can be dealt with utilizing tried, tested and True methods over time. It would be our honour and privilege to help you get your lives back on track and start living life to the full!
Hello everyone! My name is Gerry Pettyjohn. I am a professional Christian therapist specializing in sex addiction and infidelity counselling. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology, a Master of Arts degree in counselling, a certification for sexual recovery therapy (CSRT) and I am a member of the Professional Association of Christian Counsellors and Psychotherapists with the designation of "Certified Professional Counsellor." My counselling practice is located in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I offer individual counselling and marriage counselling by telephone or in-person.
As a professional counsellor, I have the privilege of guiding people through a process of understanding sex addiction, utilizing tools to escape the trap, repairing damage caused by unhealthy sexual behaviours and healing past hurts to achieve long-term mental health. Every day, it amazes me how God takes the explosive consequences of sex addiction and infidelity and uses them as opportunities for people to obtain personal and relational healing. I have witnessed many people break free of unhealthy sexual behaviours. Not only that, marriages that looked impossible to repair have been miraculously healed and made stronger than they were previously. Marriage counselling has become a passion of mine. My therapeutic approach has been shaped from several perspectives.
First is my personal perspective. I was caught up in a world of unhealthy sexuality for 24 years. Sexual addiction and intimacy anorexia eroded our marriage to a point where my wife was ready to take our children and leave. I entered a recovery process and escaped the trap with some hard work and commitment. Additionally, my wife participated in partner’s recovery. A dual devotion to the recovery process transformed our marriage into something beautiful which continues to grow in a fulfilling and desirable direction. It was such an overwhelming experience, I was inspired to return to school to attain a master’s degree in counselling so I would be qualified to help others escape the bondages of sex addiction and infidelity. I believe my personal experience in and out of sex addiction (along with a saved marriage) adds depth to my counselling ability.
A second perspective is my educational background. Since entering recovery, I have become a student of sex addiction by following researchers, authors and clinicians such as Dr. Doug Weiss, Dr. Patrick Carnes and Dr. Mark Laaser. In addition, I have a certification for sexual recovery therapy through the American Association for Sex Addiction Therapy (AASAT). Dr. Doug Weiss is the president of AASAT and the executive director of Heart to Heart Counselling in Colorado Springs, Colorado. As a clinical psychologist, he has guided thousands of people through the sex addiction recovery process and has written over 35 books on sexual addiction and marriage.
Dr. Weiss first entered my life through two audio-cassette tapes in 2003. My wife was at work one day when a co-worker handed her these tapes. She listened to them and thought, “Maybe this is what is wrong with my husband!” She confronted me about my sexual behaviours and I admitted the problem. However, I did not enter into a true recovery process. I tried to quit on my own without the help of other people. There were moments of success where I maintained “sexual sobriety” for months at a time but then I would fall and binge. This is called “white knuckle recovery” and it does not work. True recovery only occurs when you involve other people in your healing journey. In February of 2007, I smashed into rock bottom and had no other choice but to do recovery in a way that has been proven to work. That is, I began going to weekly counselling sessions, attending a sex addiction recovery group, utilizing accountability, reading recovery materials and submitting myself to God.
One year later I was attending school at Providence Theological Seminary obtaining a masters degree when Dr. Weiss established AASAT. I was one of the first students to enroll in the course and complete the six months of supervision to obtain certification as a sexual recovery therapist. The influence of Dr. Weiss’ training is evident in my therapeutic approach, my speaking style and my writing style. I owe a great debt of gratitude to his teaching and supervision.
A third factor that has influenced my recovery approach with people is my clinical experience and observation. I have clocked thousands of hours sitting in proximity to sexually addicted people and their partners. The journey with each individual is a roller coaster ride of highs and lows which primarily revolve around successes or failures in their relationships. The view from my counselling chair provides confirmation that experts such as Dr. Patrick Carnes and Dr. Doug Weiss know what they are talking about. Sexual behaviours truly have the potential to become addictions. When sex is engaged for physical purposes alone (without spiritual and emotional connection), it is one-dimensional and there is a high probability that people will become addicted. Tolerance builds over time where there is a pattern of increasing frequency and/or intensity of behaviours. When sexual behaviours are stopped, there are withdrawal symptoms. Often, sexually addicted people intend to spend just a few minutes on a sexual activity but suddenly many hours are consumed. There is a desire to stop but they cannot seem to resist and they succumb to the impulses time after time. Social, occupational and recreational activities are negatively affected. In many instances, there is a threat of losing a marriage, a job, one’s health or one’s freedom but the sexually addictive behaviours continue despite the consequences.
The most obvious victims of sexual addictions are the partners who have been sexually betrayed. Following the wedding vows, partners expect 100% of their spouses’ sexuality. Sex addicts woefully under-estimate the negative power that sexuality has when they give a portion of it to themselves (by viewing pornography and masturbating) or if they give their sexuality to someone other than their spouse (in extra-marital affairs or using prostitutes). The exposure or disclosure of the sexual unfaithfulness ignites an explosion within the marriage relationship. The betrayed partner experiences trauma that manifests in rage, anger, sorrow, shattered trust and insecurity. As a therapist, I have learned how to sit with empathy in the intensity of partners’ emotions and guide them in a process of healing.
A final perspective of the sex addiction recovery process emanates from my Christian worldview. At age 26, I became a Christian and began a spiritual journey of understanding God and where I fit into His plan. For those of you who are reading this who are not Christian, I want to encourage you to keep an open mind. My therapeutic approach is not an “in your face” legalistic Christian style. About 70% of my clientele are agnostic or “lukewarm” Christians. I will not attempt to force Christianity down your throat. I respect my clients enough to realize they may have some differing opinions and values. In fact, because I believe everything and everyone has been created by God, I think all people should be treated with dignity, respect and value regardless of their belief system or lifestyle choices. With that being said, God has been a huge part of my personal recovery process and I cannot help but mention how prayers have been answered, fellowship and counsel of believers has been vital to my personal growth, and Biblical scriptures have inspired me to move forward.
If these words have given you hope, please give me a call or text at 204-292-5058 and begin your recovery process. This number is my cell phone and, if I am available, I will answer it any day of the week. I offer sex addiction counselling, sexual betrayal trauma therapy, and marriage counselling. May God bless your day!
"I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself" (Exodus 19:4).