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Conversation With A Sex Therapist
Rebel Black with Christina Spaccavento
1. What is the primary reason people come to visit you
People choose to see a sex therapist for a whole host of reasons. They may be experiencing sexual, relationship or emotional difficulties in any of the following areas.
* Sex Addiction/Compulsive Sexual Behaviours
* Relationship and Marriage Counselling
* Intimacy Issues
* Couples Communication
* Female and Male Desire Problems/Issues
* Orgasm and Related Issues
* Depression and Anxiety
* Gay and lesbian sexuality
* Gender Identity Issues
* Illness and Sexuality
* Painful Intercourse
* Performance Anxiety
* Premature Ejaculation
* Delayed Ejaculation
* Post Prostatectomy Surgery
2. Do people come individually or as couples?
This really depends, there are many people that present as individuals but if they are in a relationship with someone, then as a Sex Therapist we usually suggest that the partner come along as well, as the old saying goes "It takes two to tango"
3. How can you help people?
As a Sex Therapist, I use my specialised clinical skills and theoretical knowledge to help people deal with their sexual difficulties or concerns. Many people can often struggle with feelings of embarrassment when it comes to talking about sex. Seeing a Sex Therapist gives them them permission in a safe and supported environment to raise any sexual concerns that they may have.
When people come to see me, the first consultation is about understanding what the client's concerns are. I will then take a detailed sexual history by asking questions. This usually involves asking questions about current sexual function and satisfaction, their partner's function and satisfaction, relationship history, effects of contraception, pregnancy, illness, medication and ageing on sexual response. And of course, consultations are always confidential.
4. What advice would you give someone who is struggling in their relationship, but emotionally and sexually?
The advice I would give depends on the nature of the client's concerns. But if you are struggling, then this is a good time to seek some help and discuss your concerns. And it is important to remember that by working through your issues with a therapist you CAN improve both your emotional and sexual relationship with your partner. This then will have a positive impact on your general quality of life.
5. How do people find a sex therapist or relationship counsellor
There are various ways that people can find a Sex Therapist or Relationship Counsellor. I get referrals directly from GPs, gynecologists, psychologists, psychiatrists chiropractors, osteopaths and naturopaths and often clients self refer. Contacting ASSERT NSW, the Australian Society of Sex Educators, Researchers and Therapists NSW (email@example.com, www.assertnsw.org.au) is also good way to find professional, qualified and ethical practitioners. Some people also find therapists through google searches but using referral networks is a more targeted way to find the right therapist for your concern.
6. What questions do you ask when you get there
Here are some questions clients might ask a prospective therapist:
• What experience and professional support does the therapist have around your sexual concern?
• Is the therapist a member of a professional body?
• What model or type of therapy will the therapist use?
• What are the therapist's qualifications and level of experience?
'It is a good idea for clients to write down the questions they have before presenting to the therapist, this way they don’t forget what they want to talk about , as well as, this helps them get the session started.