There are a number of counselling strategies which can be used in sex therapy.
These may include relationship counselling, problem solving activities, behavioural strategies and education. Some couples benefit from a combination of counselling and self-help activities. Often educational information on how couples manage sexual difficulties can help.
Discussing sexual issues in counselling helps to alleviate the feeling of stigma or shame.
Sometimes counselling can involve couples taking workbook activities home and this will usually involve talking about personal needs and desires with your partner.
You are welcome to request information or worksheets that you can complete with your partner at home if they are unable to attend with you.
Many sexual problems can be related to a breakdown in the relationship and a decrease in feelings of trust, love and attraction. Men and women differ in their needs and understanding the other gender can often help to improve things in the bedroom!
You may consider discussing your partner’s expectations and needs versus yours, and how the mismatch may be managed for the benefit of both in the relationship.
Sexual activities meet basic needs for closeness and enjoyment of a partner. Like eating, sleeping and other such routine activities, it can be easy to get into a bad habit and not realise what causes our emotions or behaviours to occur.
Discussion of the sequence of events leading to intimate encounters can help to identify key thoughts and emotions that help to build desire and heighten pleasure. Most couples and individuals will find that simple changes in behaviour can improve sexual intimacy and their relationship bond.
Some sexual problems occur for simple reasons that can be addressed with a problem solving approach. For example, a young couple may find late night sex enjoyable, but after having children, they may find they are too tired of an evening and the morning may be a better time. Some individuals have a high libido and others low. There are different strategies to manage mismatched libido, and often couples are relieved to know that it’s a very common scenario!
Many couples are unaware of the normal challenges faced by most couples. What is “normal” can depend on many factors such as gender, culture, age, health and individual likes and dislikes. Information on the biological, hormonal and age-related changes in the body can help to improve sexual functioning. Your therapist will sometimes offer you information brochures to read at home.
Some therapists will use libido or personality profiling to help a couple to discover their strengths and areas of vulnerability. Sometimes it can be easier to work with your strengths to improve your sex life, or for others it can help to problem solve areas of vulnerability.
Counselling that involves changing your thoughts about sex can help in many ways, especially when you have negative thoughts that interfere with your enjoyment.
Usually it is helpful to say the problem aloud and have emotional support from your therapist to manage the emotions that are generated by sharing the issue.
Mindfulness and Relaxation
Sex involves a balance of being relaxed and aroused at the same time. Some individuals find that they are over-anxious and can’t relax enough to enjoy sex. Many individuals with high levels of anxiety will avoid sex to prevent disappointment.
Relaxation and mindfulness strategies can offer considerable help for anxious individuals. You may find that a relaxation activity combined with guided imagery of places or your partner can help to create a more peaceful, enjoyable and safe place that can be repeated with your partner or when alone.
For some individuals, past trauma (especially past sexual abuse) can prevent intimacy and sexual enjoyment. Individuals may have negative emotions or flashbacks, anxiety and feel overwhelmed when engaging in sexual activities. Some individuals have triggers associated with physical body parts and find it difficult to adjust to feeling loved and safe during sex.
Discussing the past trauma can be a very appropriate treatment as it helps to process the past memories, so the new relationship can develop without triggering the past. Often the past traumas are not suitable events to discuss with a partner and discussing the event in the privacy of a counselling session with a trained therapist can be a great relief. Confidentiality is the hallmark of professional counselling, and our therapists work to provide your complete privacy.
There are many items for bedroom play, and some are useful to treat sexual problems such as painful intercourse. Therapists will be able to work with other health professionals if needed.
Free free to bring medical reports or scans if you have a health issue that is complex. For rare medical conditions your therapist will consult with their medical colleagues and will return with informed approaches to improve your situation in the next session.
Just knowing there are so many approaches to counselling in this area can be really helpful. Often couples or individuals feel like nothing will help, when the problem may in fact be simple.
In our society we have so many images of sexual activity but little real life information on what is a good enough relationship. We hope that reading through this website will be helpful, and please call or book to see one of our therapists if you think we might be able to help. The majority of couples find that it is much easier to visit for a check-up earlier rather than later, and it can help immensely to work on your sex life and intimacy from the beginning.
To make an appointment try Online Booking. Alternatively, you can call Vision Psychology Brisbane on (07) 3088 5422 or M1 Psychology Loganholme on (07) 3067 9129.