Getting Started in Sex Therapy
When reaching out to begin therapy it is usually to help manage and work on personal issues in your life that you may not be able to work through yourself. The same approach can be taken to your sexual health, you may try to find a sex therapist when you are experiencing issues within your sex life that are causing distress and anxiety. These issues can range from being physical, psychological to emotional. If you are part of a couple you may want to work with your partner to understand the intimacy of your relationship better.
The topic of your sex life can be a very private matter. If you are to open yourself up in such a personal way, you will want to know that you will feel safe and supported by your sex therapist. If this is a process you would like to start you might try looking for “how to find a sex therapist near me” but the choice of options can seem overwhelming.
Here are five points that can help you to make an informed decision to know how to find a sex therapist.
1. Understand the issues sex therapists work with
All our sex therapists working with us in Mind and Body Works have a personal biography on our website for you to read through the issues they work with and to find somebody that you think you would feel comfortable working with. It can feel isolating if you do not know how to approach somebody about a sexual issue and you may feel like you are the only person experiencing it. By engaging with a sex therapist you can understand the category of your sexual issue and also how you can work through it. Your sex therapist will try to help you understand your issue better, and work with you to resolve whatever you feel is limiting you from enjoying a healthy sex life. It is important to find the best sex therapist to suit your needs. If the relationship is right they will be working with and encouraging you to understand the best version of yourself.
2. Find someone who will meet your needs
When entering into sex therapy either individually or as part of a couple it is important to work with a sex therapist that you feel comfortable and safe with. As you are speaking about issues of a more sexually intimate nature than general psychotherapy, the space needs to be open and judgement free to allow the issues to be resolved. You may have some top questions that sex therapists get asked in mind, and it’s important to choose a therapist who can address those questions effectively. The issues presented in a sex therapy session can include both emotional and physical factors so the presenting issue may involve some self-reflection. This is where the importance of trust between the therapist and client is highlighted. You may be expected to reflect on your life and past sexual history to see if there is any connection, either conscious or unconscious, that may be causing dysregulation in your sexual life.
There can be elements of secrecy or embarrassment when talking publicly about sex, especially your own relationship to it. The therapeutic space should be used for open expression to really understand your own relationship to your sexual life. Much like with other anxieties, issues that are not fully expressed can show themselves in the body. We may fear being judged if we were to talk about our sex lives publicly and this can add to the pressure of trying to find a solution. Your therapist will work with you in a guided way to relieve you of these anxieties and allow you space to explore them.
3. Ensure they are fully qualified
When trying to find the best sex therapist it is important to know that your sex therapist has the necessary training and accreditation to complete this work. Most psychotherapists will have some training in sexuality and relationship dynamics however what differentiates a sex therapist is their level of training and clinical experience. Most sex therapists undergo extra post-graduate training in this specialised area. Along with their training, they are required to undergo clinical experience while studying and continuous personal development training after they have qualified.
In Mind and Body Works all our psychosexual therapists are graduates of the College of Sex and Relationship Therapy (CORST). This is the main accreditation body for sex therapists in the United Kingdom and Ireland. This postgraduate training will ensure that your sex therapist is trained to work with both the emotional and physical issues that can contribute to a dysfunction in sexual life, such as erectile dysfunction, vaginismus, performance anxiety and intimacy issues.
Each sex therapist is trained to work with individuals and couples however their work with couples is different in many ways to general couples therapy. There is a greater understanding in sex therapy of the sexual dynamics within a relationship and it allows a couple to explore their intimacy in a non-judgemental space.
4. Understand your required commitments
One of the main questions when trying to find a sex therapist is around how long the process will take. You may also wonder, “What is involved in the sex therapy process?“. There is no set number of sessions to say you have worked through your issues as this depends on your engagement within the sessions and your willingness to engage in home practice. To find the best sex therapist for you as an individual or for your relationship it is important to be open to input from an external source. There needs to be trust within the therapeutic relationship to get the best experience. If you feel comfortable enough to open up within the session to your therapist, the likelihood is that you will be open to trying to apply the work done in the sessions to real life situations.
The therapist is not there to shame you in any way around your sexuality, they are there to help you guide your way to resolution. Both therapist and client are learning from each other in the sessions so the work that is to be done both in and out of the sessions should reflect what has been learnt in the sessions. Progress can be made from small changes, but it does need to come from a willingness to explore options.
5. Explore therapy options
As the content within a sex therapy session can be considered a bit more exposing than a regular psychotherapy session, the first choice may be to attend the sessions with your sex therapist in person. There can be a comfort in knowing that you have a space to talk with somebody about something so personal to you. At Mind and Body Works our psychosexual therapists work both in person and online, all our online and in-person sex therapists have their training from a CORST accredited course. The delivery of the sessions may have different approaches and while some people would prefer an in-person sessions the sex therapists working with us in an online capacity have the same standard and quality of training that is required for this work.
Whether you are starting the journey on your own or with your partner, sex therapy will allow you to become more honest with yourself about your sexual enjoyment and come to realise there is no shame in being open about how you want to enjoy it. It is important that your sex therapy process is a sex positive experience for you and that you learn to bring the enjoyment back into your sexual life. An open experience is one of the key corner stones of the therapeutic situation and working with a trained psychosexual therapist will help you to understand what sex means to you.
We have a number of other articles on our website about what to expect in sex therapy. It can help to have a reference point of what to expect in the sessions so you know how to prepare yourself before beginning your journey.