What is counselling?
Counselling is an opportunity to explore and enhance understanding through discussion in a safe, supportive and confidential setting. It’s an opportunity to examine what may be troubling you and your partner giving you the chance to work together. Sometimes this is helped by exploring how the past may impact on the present day. The aim is to increase self awareness enabling you to make informed choices in you life and to feel more confident in your future. It is an opportunity to talk issues through which may help to create clarity both for individuals and couples enabling you to improve your situation..
As a Counsellor I am committed to help in this process, believing strongly that if we are content in our personal relationships there is a positive impact on all other areas of our lives. Counselling can prevent the pain and anguish of separation and can benefit all those close to us.
However sometimes counselling can help us to unpick what has gone wrong in our relationships ensuring that we avoid a repeating pattern in the future.
Very often people struggle with their sexual difficulty in silence feeling embarrassed and ashamed unable to discuss their issues with anyone. Psychosexual Therapy helps both individuals and couples to overcome this.
I offer an initial assessment to talk through the problem and to decide the way forward. At this stage the aim is to give voice to what is happening and for me to inform you of your options. You could be offered a programme of therapy of Sensate Focus exercises which is based on behavioural change, practised in the privacy of your own home. It is designed to remove pressure on sexual performance and concentrates much more in the early stages on rebuilding intimacy. Sometimes I may suggest you visit your GP to examine other organic possibilities before engaging in Therapy.
What Sex Therapy is not
It is not a quick fix. Some problems take longer that others depending on your willingness to engage with the therapy. It is not ‘hands on’. You do the exercises at home alone or with your partner and bring your feed back to your appointment where we collaborate to analyse the information.
Programme of Therapy
It is a method of changing behaviour based in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy [CBT] but not exclusively, a skilled practitioner may draw on other modalities to increase the effectiveness of any particular area of focus. Whilst there are no guarantees of success the process produces positive change in most cases.
Below are medical definitions which you may or may not find helpful, please be kind to yourself and know that we are all different! These are common reasons for people to seek help but this is not an exhaustive list and one of the most common reasons for seeking help is that a couple's sexual relationship has 'dwindled away' over the lifespan of the relationship.
Sexual Disorder Definitions
Male Erectile Disorder
Persistent or recurrent inability to retain or maintain until completion an adequate erection.
Persistent or recurrent ejaculation with minimal sexual stimulation before, on, or shortly after penetration and before a person wishes it. The Clinician will take into account the contextual situation ie age, new relationship, and recent frequency of sexual activity.
Male Orgasmic Disorder
Persistent or recurrent delay in, or absence of orgasm following normal sexual stimulation. The Clinician will take into account age, adequate focus and intensity and duration of sexual activity.
Recurrent or persistent involuntary spasm of the musculature of the outer third of the vagina that interferes with sexual intercourse.
Recurrent or persistent genital pain associated with sexual intercourse in either male or female.
Female Orgasmic Disorder
Persistent or recurrent delay in, or absence of orgasm following a normal excitement phase. Women exhibit a wide variation in the type or intensity of stimulation that triggers orgasm.
Female Sexual Arousal Disorder
Persistent or recurrent inability to attain, or maintain until completion of sexual activity an adequate lubrication-swelling response to sexual excitement.
Sexual Aversion Disorder
Persistent or recurrent extreme aversion to, and avoidance of all [or almost all] genital sexual contact with a sexual partner.
What you discuss in your sessions is held in confidence by your therapist. There are, however, important exceptions to this rule. For example, if there is a risk to your personal safety or the safety of another person, or when required by law. Whenever possible and if it is considered appropriate your therapist will inform you of their concerns and seek with you the best way forward.
To ensure good practice, your therapist’s work is regularly monitored in clinical supervision where the same rules of confidentiality apply. This is a professional requirement. Any information that a supervisor receives is also treated as confidential and subject to the same ethical criteria as therapy.
Data Protection & Note keeping
Written notes are kept by your therapist, these are however, minimal in content and considered an 'aide memoire'. These are stored securely in a locked cabinet for 7 years after therapy has ended. In the event of the therapist being suddenly unavailable an appointed professional executor will contact you. These are the only two individuals who will have access to your notes.
Appointments and breaks
All appointments can be paid for at each session by cash or by card payment.
Cancellations made with under 48 hours notice will be charged at the full rate. Every effort is made to reschedule, space permitting.
If for any reason you do not attend a booked session, your therapist will contact you before the end of that working day, either by telephone or email, whichever is your agreed form of communication. They do this to ensure there has not been a misunderstanding about your appointment time and to acknowledge your absence.
Your therapist will give notice of any breaks they may require in your series of sessions.
Boundaries and sessions
Sessions will start and finish at the time agreed in advance and generally cannot be extended in the event of your late arrival. A counselling hour is 50 minutes, this is to enable the therapist to make any notes and book further sessions. Sessions take place, wherever possible, at the same time each week or fortnight. Please do not arrive early to ensure the previous clients have ended their session and the therapist is free to greet you.
When a session is arranged for both parties to attend, it will take place with both parties present; if one cannot attend, the session will not take place unless previously arranged.
Sessions are arranged with an individual only, and never with a third-party present.
It is important for the work to be reviewed at regular intervals to ensure you are getting what you want from therapy and that it is going in the direction you wish. Your therapist will suggest reviews periodically and invite you to instigate a review whenever you feel you would like one.
It is always preferable to end therapy with notice and during a session. Talking about, and preparing for, the ending will be part of the review process.
Under your therapist’s code of ethics, they cannot accept gifts or social invitations.
Face-to-face contact outside of sessions
Should you meet your therapist outside of sessions please be aware that your therapist will not greet you. This is to protect your privacy and maintain confidentiality. Responding in this way is especially important if you are with other people. If, however, you acknowledge your therapist openly, then they will respond in an appropriate professional manner.
Should you find yourself in a situation where you and your therapist are part of the same group, either social or professional, important consideration will be given to the complications of this dual role relationship. Where appropriate, and possible, your therapist will withdraw.
Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In and social media
Please do not invite your therapist to join you on social media. They are not permitted to do so under their strict code of ethics, and refusal might cause offence when none is intended.
It is expected that you will not bring children or pets to a session, drink alcohol or take recreational drugs before a therapy session or the session might be terminated.
All therapists carry professional indemnity insurance and hold a current Disclosure and Barring Service certificate.