In my previous post, “What Is Sex Therapy”, I described what a sex therapist is and the conditions sex therapy can treat. Here I’d like to share the process in which a sex therapist assesses a client and how sex therapy actually works.
Initially, you’ll meet me at the MindnLife office for either 50 minutes for individual sessions or for 75 minutes for couples sessions. If couples therapy is requested, I’ll often meet with each individual alone, so that each person has an opportunity to share their sexual history and I can assess their individual history more deeply. This is not to create a sense of secrecy but to allow each person space to disclose personal details from their own backgrounds. People often feel more comfortable speaking about some topics one on one, especially at first. It is still encouraged to share as much personal information as is comfortable in the couples’ sessions, as that can help to facilitate a sense of intimacy within the relationship.
Our first session helps to clarify goals, answer questions, and create a framework around what will occur during the subsequent sessions. Usually, we start with questions about your health and sexual background, your sexual education, the beliefs you have about sex, your family and cultural messages about sex, your relational history, and your specific sexual concerns.
Clients may also have misinformation about what a sex therapist does or a lack of knowledge about sex therapy. Our first session opportunity to address those questions. You’ll find many of your concerns melt away once your questions are answered, and myths are busted! For example, it’s important to know that sex therapy sessions do not involve any sexual activity or physical contact of any sort. Sex therapy consists of talk therapy and at times, behavioral exercises that you can do at home. Other modes of education such as bibliotherapy – reading exercises, videos, apps, or journaling are also often recommended as homework.
It’s normal for clients to feel anxious when seeing a sex therapist. This is especially true the first time we meet. Many people also have difficulty talking about sex. It’s an unfamiliar experience for most people. My goal is to help you feel as comfortable as possible. We are a team in this process and I am here to help you gain knowledge, grow and live your best sexual and intimate life.
And of course, most clients wonder how likely it is that things will change in their sex lives. Success often depends on how committed clients are to the process. The work we do in our sessions is not the whole story, you need to do your homework and continue the work outside of our sessions! If clients are willing to put in the effort the more likely it is that they will reach their sexual goals.