Connections: June 2004
© 2004 Hermes' Web Marketing Company
All Rights Reserved. Published in the USA.
Ed. Sarah Techau
Connections was originally published electronically
and distributed to members of the Hermes' Web
Community. We have included the majority of this
publication here, for your enjoyment. The Call For
Submissions email, which solicits members' input
on a specific topic for the upcoming issue, is also
Call For Submissions
For some clients, cybersex is an insatiable, powerful
force — one that overtakes and overwhelms until they
lose control. Like alcohol and drug addiction,
compulsive online sexual behavior ruins
relationships, destroys marriages, alienates families,
and sabotages careers...
Read the full Call For Submissions for this issue
In This Issue
The Q & A Forum:
Hermes’ Web and compulsive online sexual behavior
Hermes’ Web and sex offender treatment
Hermes’ Web Illustrates the Importance of Emotional
The Q & A Forum
In the Call for Submissions for this month’s issue, we asked you to submit questions about using Hermes’ Web to treat compulsive
online sexual behavior. Here’s what one member had to say, followed by a response from our founder Jerry Fjerkenstad, MA, LP.
“I’ve started working with a married couple whose relationship has been in trouble for years, due to many factors—the biggest of which
is the husband’s addiction to porn sites. He’s a very guarded individual who can talk his way out of anything. He’s very good at
minimizing and rationalizing—typical addictive behavior—and is in complete denial of how his online behavior is destroying his
relationship and chipping away what’s left of his wife’s trust in him. They’ve been to counseling on two different occasions and nothing
has gotten through to him so far. I really want to help them to finally make some real changes. There is a good, solid foundation there,
but so much garbage has piled up. You say that Hermes’ Web can help break through these types of barriers and really reach people.
How can I start using it with this particular client, as savvy and guarded as he is?”
Response From Jerry Fjerkenstad, MA, LP
Use Hermes’ Web to illustrate the following principles and lay them out for consideration. Offer some information and observations
about his situation to see if he bites. Don’t just try to prove he suffers from these principles. Let him “come to the Web” or he will
remain in denial.
First, use the Web and barrier to demonstrate the two worlds this man is living in—the ego on top of the barrier and the core below it.
He feels the need to create a separate world and likely feels ashamed to let his wife see what goes on there. So, he denies its
existence. His core, the center of the Web, gets his needs met through the online behavior—essential needs from his point of view.
These needs are not likely expressed, known, or honored in the current relationship. He has likely made overtures, peeking above the
barrier only to be rebuffed by his wife. How clear his message was and whether the “negative” response was purposeful are open to
Then, explain that addiction itself is a set of powerful needs that rule the core—needs that the ego denies or is unable to acknowledge.
Can the needs be acknowledged in some way? Can the wife even consider whether such powerful needs exist or whether they could
be legitimate? If she cannot consider their potential legitimacy, he will remain in denial.
Next, use the Web to explain the ego’s dystonic nature: what lies above the barrier is out of touch with what lies below it. When the
behavior from below is caught or suspected, the ego denies it and considers it “out of character.” The core-level behavior does not
match the image this man has crafted for people to see. This dystonic nature is a totally natural, human condition, and you should
initially approach it without blame. An effective way to do that is to discuss how the ego becomes a lawyer who protects the core at any
cost. The lawyer wants to push the truth away, intimidate, deny, attack the character of the accuser (the wife), and use the evidence to
create alternate scenarios—whatever it takes to vigorously protect the accused.
Finally, discuss the “core whore”—that sexual image, object, or facet that the human core worships more than any other (e.g., large
breasts, long legs). Not many men are married to their core whore and some may not have made a clear decision about whether they
can live with that or not. If this particular client can look at his situation openly and honestly, he will have to ask himself how important
his core whore is in relation to his marriage and make a clear decision. To ignore the core whore is to let it come from a hidden place
to exert its power and undermine the marriage. The core whore becomes competition in the relationship, whether it is an actual
woman or some concoction on the Internet.
Overall, the key here is to use Hermes’ Web to get acknowledgement of certain truths about the ego and the core. Leave room for this
client to respond in his own way, but (like Milton Erickson) you must create areas of agreement that are non-lethal and non-threatening
and work from there. Let him teach you what he knows about these principles from his own life experiences and what he sees in
Hermes’ Web. Essentially, the Web becomes a neutral meeting place where fingers aren’t pointed and where very sensitive issues
can be explored in a delicate, yet useful way.
The wife must also acknowledge these principles to create a platform of understanding in which the more troublesome behaviors can
be considered. The addiction would not have engaged in the first place if it didn’t represent essential, legitimate needs. How those
needs can be played out within the parameters of a committed, honest, and healthy relationship is another issue. Ultimately, Hermes’
Web helps set up the ground rules for in-depth and practical engagement.
Jerry Fjerkenstad, MA, LP offers the following testimonial about his experience introducing and using Hermes’ Web with a sex offender.
We encourage you to share your experiences in how Hermes’ Web has worked in your practice, school, or community.
“Jack* was a sex offender and was very defensive. He did not want to be in therapy, but the idea of going to prison was worse, so
grudgingly, he was in my office. We finished the preliminary paperwork and started talking about his account of the offense and
discrepancies between that and the victim’s account. He wasn’t hostile, but close to it. I wasn’t getting anywhere, so I took out Hermes’
Web and placed it on my desk.
Things changed right away. I used the Web to talk about and show how offenses work, about the function denial serves, and what
might have happened in his offense. I said over and over that I was just speculating and didn’t know for sure, but that I wanted to try
these ideas out on him. He offered some feedback, added his own ideas, and appeared to find it interesting. We also used the Web to
talk about the human experience, morals, and what puts people over the edge. These were experiences he could identify with in his
own life, so my credibility increased. I didn’t necessarily tie them directly to his offense, but took a more indirect approach.
Because we identified and agreed upon the basic ego-core dynamics via Hermes’ Web, we were able to discuss in later sessions
how those very dynamics could account for the offensive behavior or lead in that direction. We ended up having a good interaction—at
times intense—but he seemed relieved and was cooperative at the end. I also got a lot of information without him having to assent or
verify. His acknowledgment of the basic dynamics was more than enough at that stage of the game. Finally, we had a language in
common and a tool whose value we could both acknowledge.”
— Jerry Fjerkenstad, MA, LP
Hermes' Web Illustrates the Importance of Emotional Intelligence
— Connections staff
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is a measure of the degree of connection between a person’s ego (the part he or she shows the world)
and a person’s core (the soul, or center of the personality where all parts of the person come together). The typical relationship
between the ego and the core is that of separation, because people construct a barrier to keep underlying emotions, experiences, and
needs “under control.” On Hermes’ Web, the ego is represented by the portion of the yellow arm that extends upwards from the foam
barrier. The core is represented by the center below the barrier where all of the arms meet. Each arm represents a different part of the
personality that the ego keeps hidden or refuses to acknowledge.
When the ego can no longer control what’s kept hidden in the core, a person “flips” — acting out or offending to temporarily “feed” the
core. This can be shown on Hermes’ Web by flipping it upside-down so the arms underneath snap to the top. After the flip, the person
returns to “normal” — shown by flipping the Web back over with the barrier intact — and the ego either pretends nothing happened or
works to explain the situation away and clean up the mess. In treatment, this continuous cycle is seen in clients such as sex offenders,
domestic abusers, and addicts. Outside of treatment, many people suffer this same cycle at work or at home, burying their emotions
and letting stress build until they flip.
In order to prevent the flip and begin to make core-level changes, a person must develop EQ. This means a person must be able to
venture past the barrier and go into the depths of the core, while still maintaining sanity, integrity, and values. A person with EQ can
build a stable bridge between the ego and the core to weave in those parts of the psyche that formerly rebelled and that compromised,
undermined, and perhaps overthrew personal integrity. Developing and maintaining EQ is no easy task. It takes courage and hard
work to build that bridge, change at a core level, and ultimately make the right choices — informed choices — over and over again,
Hermes’ Web Marketing Company has compiled several therapeutic toys that, in conjunction with Hermes’ Web, help illustrate the
importance of EQ and the devastation that results from lack of EQ. Hermes’ Web practitioner and workshop facilitator Saundra Bryant
uses these toys in her work with school administrators, teachers, managers, and employees to underline the importance of EQ in
schools and in the workplace.
Connections: June 2004
Browse 2004 issues of
Connections by selecting a link
below or click here to return to the
September — Open forum!
August — Stories, films, and
cultural examples enhance
Hermes' Web use
July — The challenge female
professionals face in
communicating with well-
defended males in treatment
June — Hermes' Web and
compulsive online sexual behavior
May — Hermes' Web and
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