WHAT IS PSYCHOSEXUAL THERAPY?
Psychosexual therapy, commonly known as sex therapy, plays a crucial role in assisting individuals or couples dealing with issues in their sex life. This specialised form of therapy involves open conversations aiming to address and resolve a spectrum of problems, from sexual function and intimacy to self-esteem and confidence.
Many individuals may encounter challenges in their sex lives, and while some issues may naturally resolve, others may have underlying and undetected causes leading to distress and unhappiness. In such cases, seeking guidance from a sex therapist or psychosexual therapist can be invaluable. Sex therapists are trained mental health professionals, including psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, or counsellors specialising in human sexuality.
Psychosexual therapy is designed to help individuals or couples navigate and resolve various aspects impacting their sex life, with a primary focus on enhancing physical intimacy. A sex therapist or psychosexual therapist can address concerns such as erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, sexual pain disorders, low libido, or difficulties with intimacy.
Initially, discussing intimate and private details about your life, especially related to sex, may seem challenging and awkward. However, like any therapist, a sex therapist or psychosexual therapist is committed to providing a safe, non-judgmental space to address issues affecting your sex life, whether in individual or couples’ sessions.
How does PSYCHOSEXUAL THERAPY Work?
A sex therapist or psychosexual therapist initiates the process by assessing whether the described problems have psychological, physical, or both origins before proceeding with structured sessions. The confidential nature of these sessions creates a non-judgmental and supportive environment for expressing intense and intimate emotions and addressing them in a healthy manner. Here are key aspects of psychosexual therapy:
Education: After assessment and goal-setting, the therapist introduces education about sexual anatomy, physiology, and common sexual concerns. This educational component fosters a comfortable and communicative environment.
Communication: Psychosexual therapy aims to improve communication skills, enabling clients to discuss and communicate their sexual needs, desires, and concerns with their partner. Effective communication acts as a tool to express and resolve common sexual issues.
Exploration of Attitudes and Beliefs: Addressing negative beliefs or attitudes about sex is crucial. This involves tackling cultural, religious, or personal factors influencing perceptions of sexuality.
Sensate Focus Exercises: These exercises increase body awareness and pleasure without the pressure of sexual performance, reducing performance anxiety related to sexual activities. Sensate focus exercises enhance intimacy and communication between partners.
Behavioural Interventions: Therapists use techniques like systematic desensitisation and communication training to modify behaviours linked to sexual issues, addressing specific concerns related to anxiety and dysfunction.
Homework Assignments: Clients receive homework assignments to practice therapeutic strategies between sessions, reinforcing the application of new skills.
Regular Sessions: Psychosexual therapy typically involves regular sessions, the frequency of which may vary based on client needs. Consistent attendance allows ongoing support and progress monitoring.
Evaluation and Adjustment: As therapy progresses, therapist and clients regularly evaluate progress, adjusting approaches and strategies as needed to tailor sessions to evolving needs.
INVEST IN YOURSELF AND YOUR WELLBEING
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF PSYCHOSEXUAL THERAPY?
Improved sexual function
Enhanced and healthy communication
Resolution in sexual concerns
Increase in confidence and self-esteem
Increased comfort discussing sexual needs and desires with your partner
WHAT ISSUES CAN PSYCHOSEXUAL THERAPY HELP WITH?
Low Sexual Desire
Body Image Concerns
Sex Compulsivity (Addiction)
Sexual Orientation and Identity Concerns
Are sexologists psychologists?
Though sexology and psychology are related, not all sexologists are psychologists, and vice versa. Sexologists can be medical doctors, social workers, or psychologists, specialising in sexual health and problems.
What is the difference between a sexologist and a sex therapist?
A sex therapist is a mental health professional addressing psychological, emotional, and mental aspects of sexual difficulties. A sexologist may focus on information, research, or education in the broader field of sex and sexuality.
What can cause sexual difficulties?
Factors like medical conditions, stress, anxiety, relationship problems, hormonal imbalances, trauma, cultural influences, or certain medications can contribute to sexual difficulties.
What are some common sexual problems?
Common issues include Erectile Dysfunction, Low Libido, Premature Ejaculation, Sex Compulsivity, Orgasmic Disorders, Painful Intercourse, Vaginismus, Relationship Problems, and effects of Past Trauma.
Does psychosexual therapy really work?
Success depends on open communication, willingness to explore and implement strategies, and developing a trusting therapeutic relationship. Individual experiences vary.