Psycho-sexual counselling or therapy is a process by which individuals or couples are helped to overcome sexual problems or difficulties that they have been unable to resolve by themselves.
Who might need psycho-sexual therapy?
Couples or individuals who require: Education and information to address doubts or queries regarding their sexual function or performance.
Relationship and sexual well-being advice including screening for sexually transmitted infections Advice for sexual problems which have lasted more than six months or those causing relationship problems
Advice for sexual problems coexisting with medical or surgical problems SARA – Sex and Relationship Advice deals with the following sexual problems.
- Male sexual problems – Erectile dysfunction, premature or early ejaculation, delayed ejaculation or anorgasmia, loss of desire, dyspareunia, doubts or fears around masturbation.
- Female sexual problems – Non consummation or vaginismus,loss of desire and arousal, anorgasmia, dyspareunia or pain with intercourse.
- Additional services include: Contraception advice, sexual well being, sexually transmitted infections and their prevention Adolescent and child sex education and help for parents Gynaecological problems causing difficulty with intercourse and relationships.
What does sex therapy involve?
The first step usually involves an initial assessment interview where the patient and doctor assess the nature of the problem together and the impact it is having on the patient's lives. Further assessment may be scheduled based on the outcome of the initial assessment and usually involves a detailed history taking session individually followed by a 'round table' session where the doctor gives feedback regarding the possible problems causing the sexual dysfunction as well as the ways it can be overcome. This usually includes a plan for sex therapy, its approximate duration and prerequisites for success.
If agreeable to the couple, a verbal contract is set and sex therapy begins. Therapy includes homework exercises for the couple as well as individual exercises and a weekly feedback session with the doctor to guide and overcome any difficulties with the homework exercises. Homework exercises for the couple typically require a time commitment of one and half hours three times a week and for individual homework an additional half an hour three times a week. The weekly feedback session can last up to an hour. No sexual exercises are required to be done in the clinic. Additional counselling sessions may be required for either individual to overcome psychological blocks to progress. A variety of techniques are used for this purpose including cognitive behavioural therapy, solution focused therapy, neuro-linguistic programming, Hypnotherapy, Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) and Emotional freedom technique (EFT).
Additional guidance can be provided through specifically selected books and websites. An application is being developed to facilitate the journey of couples going through sex therapy and will be available on Android/ iOS soon.