WHAT HAPPENS IN SEX THERAPY?
"Wow, so glad about my relationship! I can't believe we feel in-love again. You helped me get over my past so that I can move on and be present." BC
Sex therapy is a useful tool that can treat a wide range of sexual issues. For most people, it may seem like a daunting venture, and it is not uncommon for people to feel uncomfortable talking about their sex life. In my professional experience, once you take the first step of coming in, the conversation starts to flow. Sex therapy by a licensed counselor trained in putting you at ease can be freeing and life-changing.
If you’re thinking about trying sex therapy or sex counseling, here is a brief outline of what you can expect from your sessions with me:
1. Identification of Issues and Goal Setting
The first phase of sex therapy focuses on identifying the issues, as well as setting realistic and doable goals. This phase will usually comprise of one or two sessions, but sometimes more depending on the complexity of the issues. Importantly, sometimes clients may focus on genital response; however, the truth is that there are many other dimensions to sexual problems. For instance, I had clients present with physical issues (e.g., premature ejaculation, vaginismus, etc.), then we find there is another layer (e.g., performance anxiety or other mental and emotional problems) that seems to be interfering with optimal sexual functioning. As a result, you must get assistance with the full scope of the sexual issue.
Also, during this phase, topics of medical history, psychosexual history, relationship history, and so on are discussed in brief during these sessions. If we find that you may be experiencing a medical issue, a referral will be made to your urologist, gynecologist, or another appropriate provider. But that doesn't mean I won't assist you with the process. More often then not, in cases where there is a medical and psychosocial issue present, sex counseling is an essential complement.
2. Assessment of Life Domains and Risk Factors
The second phase focuses on an in-depth assessment of various life domains (e.g., stress, relationships, etc.) and other risk factors that may contribute to the sexual problem. In addition, this phase includes education about the sexual response cycle, development of communication skills, along with any other needed knowledge and skills to enhance your sex life and your relationships.
If you are a couple, I may conduct meetings with each partner individually, discussing and assessing each of your perspectives, as well as general sexual and relationship concerns. As a couple or an individual, at this stage, other psychological, physiological, sociocultural, health issues, and relational issues that could contribute to the problem at hand are more thoroughly understood. These issues are then connected to the sexual problem, thus giving all involved in sex therapy a better and deeper understanding. In short, at this phase, you should be able to summarize and understand the issue, possible barriers, and treatment goals.
3. Improvement through Gradual and Practical Strategies
At this point, you will have typically been assigned behavioral strategies (e.g., relaxation, instructional masturbation, intercourse restrictions or advancements, sensate focus, etc.). Clients will usually reclaim or newly develop non-sexual and sexual intimacy.
Phase three is crucial as we monitor closely for any obstacles that present in using your new-found strategies. It is my experience that if there are any obstacles, they will typically present at this stage during the implementation of your homework. Personally, I dislike the term homework; I like to refer to it as self-work - less daunting. Barriers you may encounter can range from anxiety, fear of performance, unresolved sexual abuse, body image issues, to name a few. Taking obstacles into account is why it is essential to implement sex therapy with a trained, licensed sex therapist. A sex therapist with extensive training will be able to handle these types of issues if they arise.
In the event more complex issues (e.g., unresolved sexual trauma, etc.), my typical practice is to pause and talk with you about the best practice options. For example, in the case of unresolved sexual trauma, we might take several sessions to apply trauma treatment. Taking this time to tend to obstacles is necessary for real and sustained change. Do know that no licensed therapist can make any promises.
4. Assessment and Longer-term Strategies to Sustain Improvement
Finally, in the last phase, there is a focus on reassessment, long-term strategy, and solutions to maintain growth. You’ll want to prepare for potential relapse and regression into any default behaviors and old mindsets. Together, we will reassess and cement in real progress - moving through each aspect of the sexual response cycle, medical and medications, and sexual and relationship areas that still need improvement. Also, we will reassess and reinforce any new and beneficial skills. Then, we’ll schedule a tune-up or booster session. This last session is typically scheduled a month out or as needed depending on the identified needs.
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Mon - Friday: 9AM - 6PM
Hours by Appointment
Add: 2440 SE Federal Hwy, Stuart, Fl 34994