FAQs

1. What is Sex Therapy?

Sex Therapy is a counseling experience where the client has identified the problem as sexual.

Sex therapy is NOT about having sex in the office.

SEXUAL COMPLAINTS:

  • Desire: too little , too much, absent; discrepant desire; aversion; avoidance
  • Compulsive sexual behaviors
  • Preoccupation with or chronic use of pornographic materials
  • Inability to orgasm or ejaculate with a partner
  • Premature Ejaculation
  • Erection problems
  • Painful Intercourse
  • Intrusive negative fantasies
  • History of Sexual abuse/rape
  • Betrayal/affairs
  • Lack of Education

 

As I’ve said earlier, for me, sex therapy is but a part of the context in which it occurs -- the entire Marriage. Context is the information surrounding the identified “problem.”

It is all the details and seemingly unconnected data that are important to discuss. Some of these might be: what is the problem exactly, when did it start, why do you think it’s happening, how important is this to each spouse, what methods have you tried to correct the problem on your own.

People often have an intuitive insight when asked these seemingly obvious questions. Often they don’t say these things out loud to their partners, but they may with me in the room.  There is a safety in the therapy office that gives people the willingness to divulge, to express themselves rather than stay silent or unproductively angry.
Other areas of exploration that you might not think would be part of the problem are: what kind of family did you come from? What were the values? What was the history of your sexual experience? What are your expectations? What was going on around the time the symptoms began? Is this a life-long problem or a new problem?

Then there are the questions about the marriage?

How long is it? How good is it? How is conflict handled?

How has your sex life been with your partner in general? Has there been an attraction between you from the beginning? What is going on physically? How’s the financial stability? How’s the social network, the support network? How much are drugs or alcohol a part of your daily life?

A couple’s sex life is a mirror into who they are in total. Identifying the problem and figuring out how it is a symbolic picture of other issues that need be addressed is key. This is a journey and a process that takes some time.

I ask couples to practice sexually related tasks at home and then we talk about them when we get together.  Often it takes a lot of time to even begin to feel safe enough to do the task at all.  This becomes a discussion about why that is and how it brings to the table other issues like trust, or anger, or even fear.

We try again.

I help couples decide what they are willing to begin doing, what is the smallest piece that will help them just take a first step.

The process is a gentle one but one that requires courage and a willingness to consider change.

Sex Therapy is part of Marital Therapy for me.

The uniqueness of my training is expertise in both areas. I am one of few professionals in the Connecticut area who has these credentials.

2. How Do Good Marriages Work?

Marriages need work to work.  My efforts over the last 30 years have focused on educating and nurturing the skills that help people understand what the work is about. To think only about visual reality – like “”what you see is what you get,” makes it impossible to interpret behavior, communicate or understand feelings.  The conscious mind is only the lid on top of a very deep vessel.  Words and behaviors are hints, maps, and guides to much more valuable information.

Here are the most important beliefs I have about my practice: The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Context is everything. Trust the process of learning and focus. Ask for help.

If a person is unaware of the power held by the families in which they grew up, they are quite simply, unaware of how to change.  None of us get through things as simple as a work- day, a social engagement, a snuggle in bed with a partner, without utilizing some of the baggage we drag along with us – everywhere.

If you don’t know your history, you will repeat it.  And if you don’t respect its power, life will likely be a continuing saga of identical mistakes –over and over.

Some people see me because they cannot “communicate”; Some because they want to have sex, don’t want to have sex, don’t have enough sex.  Some come because their relationships with children, parents, and friends are an ongoing source of conflict and dissatisfaction.  The pieces of all relationships cannot be separated from the foundations on which they were built. They are, in my opinion, all about intimacy. All of them. Our ability to share, and touch, and feel good in relation to another is what being intimate is about.  Closeness/distance.

Couples and individuals need to have Curiosity to find the common threads that have quilted their lives. Once they have done that, they can begin to make clear and strong efforts to change.  Not before.

I help design road maps—we start here, we end in a place you have thoughtfully and carefully decided to go.  When there are detours or unexpected divergence, there are strategies and efforts in place to help steer more expertly.

3. What Can A Child Custody Coach Do For Me And My Spouse?

I can bring light into the very dark process. As a coach I help organize the data and piece together the story of why couples are so combative. I help them see the larger picture to choose what is really right for their kids and the new family they will create.

4. When Should I Consider Therapy?

Simply put, when you need help.

Life is very complicated and we all have soft spots of indecision, anxiety, sadness and  depression. Depending on the your world at the time, these feelings can become overwhelming. Talking to family, friends and spouses is helpful but not objective and not supported by clinical practice. Often we become aware of emotional states that have lingered throughout life and seem to be getting away from us.  Even those dreaded TV commercials may spark a thought that the person on the screen is  YOU.

When your head gets damaged from walking into the same wall, it’s time.

For some, therapy may feel like a fall from grace.  It may seem to you a sign of weakness. I believe it’s a sign of courage.  When we cam look at ourselves and recognize that we are a little lost, in pain, or just need a clearer vision of a problem, therapy can be a life-saver. 

5. How Does Therapy Work?

Therapy can be looked at as a facilitated conversation.  It is not meant to be an activity where a professional tells you what is right to do or feel. It is meant to be an exploration of yourself with the guidance of someone who is trained to ask the right questions and help you to challenge your own inner dialogue.

6. What Is The Purpose Of Therapy?

I think therapy is helpful for two main reasons.

The first is when there is crisis and people become fearful and sometimes irrational. They need someone to help them sort out the problem and move through it.

Secondly, for the longer perspective, therapy is the best way I know to “grow yourself up.” It is about bringing unconscious belief systems to consciousness so that choices we make are from an “adult” brain rather than a child’s.  We all learn so much as kids by example, by direct instruction from caregivers, school, church, etc. As youngsters we mostly accept these teachings and react to them – positively or negatively.  The idea is to respond to life rather than react. To be able to evaluate a situation with purpose and objectivity.  It is only then that the choices we make become manageable. It is the only way that mistakes can be corrected and life can be truly satisfying. It is the only way to be in control of yourself.

For me, that is the true meaning of maturity. We are no longer ruled by unexamined values and principles of the past nor are we living someone else’s reality.

7. Can A Sex Therapist Teach Me How To Have Sex?

Not really. A sex therapist in the past was much more behaviorally focused when it came to technique and specific details. Today there are a number of excellent books and tapes that will provide that level of instruction. I use book references often and can guide you to the best material.

What I can do is provide accurate information, talk easily about sexual matters, and most importantly, help to facilitate your ability to be intimate.  As I said previously, assuming there is no physical problem (if there is I can refer and provide introduction to professionals who can help), most sexual problems come from lack of knowledge, poor self-esteem, and unhealthy relationship skills.  And again, there is never any value in assigning blame. We all bring our own deficits to the problem and we need to learn to be accountable and introspective to be better partners.

8. How Do I Dnow The Right Therapist For Me?

Truth is, after you’ve looked at a professional’s training and experience, which can usually be seen on-line, it’s probably your gut reaction.  That would seem easy but sometimes your immediate reaction is more an indication of some kind of connection you’re making with them that you don’t understand.

In other words, don’t jump too fast to dismiss someone right away. I would advise giving it a couple of times and even trying to discuss your reactions with the therapist. Try to address it. It might be a very valuable exercise.

Having said that, use your gut also to steer you away from someone who brings out a strong dislike by their tone, their office, and their responses to questions.

Most people do not seem to like therapy with someone who sits motionless and says “ah, hah.” All the time.  For me, having someone with whom I can interact and who is willing to comment and engage is very important.

9. How Long Does Therapy Take?

Therapy, the kind that helps personal growth and resolves difficult issues, requires commitment and thoughtfulness. What happens during a session should be continued outside the door. Some clients never think about a thing, or bring up any of the subjects talked about, unless at the appointed therapy hour. This slows the work down and makes the effectiveness less successful.  It is not a meaningless exercise to analyze why the material is being sidelined.

Therapy is work. It’s not just a news report of the week passed. It is a planned time to sit down and focus on whatever you decide on that day. Generally, the way I see it, there is nothing un-important. Every subject is connected in some way to a core issue. So if you think you’ve nothing to talk about, just see what comes up. Trust the Process.

10. How Long Can I Expect To Wait To See Results?

You should be able to set some goals with your therapist in the early meetings.

Those are not goals that are necessarily static.  They will likely change as you move through the process.  Often a goal that is stated in the beginning becomes not the “real” one at all.  I call them “stand-ins.” These are the disguises, the easier details to confront.  Often, we keep the more difficult, ie painful, scary, issues buried more deeply.

Good therapy requires serious curiosity on your part to get the best result.

If you’re not willing to participate with intent, don’t waste your time or money.  I should add that the value doesn’t come immediately; it comes with time and deepening the relationship you have with your therapist.  It’s very much a two-way street. Therapy should also be fun and funny. It is a shared and rich experience.

Your therapy can take any length of time. It depends on you and your interest.

Many clients stay for some time and then leave and come back over the years.

Your therapist becomes an important person on your resource list.

11. Who Should Be In The Therapy Session, My Partner Or Me?

Difficult question.  For me, a family therapist by training, I prefer to see a couple together unless there is very strong resistance. It’s startling to hear two individuals talk about their marriage and wonder if they share the same one!

Also, partners often hear things over and over and suddenly, in the therapy office they hear it differently for the first time.  For me, it’s a way more powerful method of working.

However, sometimes one partner requires individual attention because they are not “ready” for couples work.  They may have so many unresolved issues around their early experiences that it’s unproductive to get them to share what they do not yet know about themselves.

Still, if the partners are in “good shape” two is always better than one.

12. How Your Therapy Can Build A Child's Self-Esteem

One of the best reasons to pursue your own therapy is to provide an environment in which your children get the best odds to a good life.  Surprise, it’s not only about you but you do hold the key. This is one of the least spoken about and most powerful reasons to follow through.

Every interaction you have with your partner, family, grocery clerk, etc. creates a relational imprint on your child.  You were imprinted   too!!

If you want to learn how this happens and how it created your own relational understanding, therapy is a very dependable vehicle.  It should not only help you sort out what is often called your “life script,” but help you learn ways to monitor and intervene to keep your kids on track.  In other words, you can have a great influence in their future.

Parents for instance, are often afraid to allow affection or physical playfulness between them in front of the children.  I am very pro visual and sensory modeling. If your children do not see love but only hear you speak about it and if they do not see you hug, laugh, smooch, they will not learn to do anything   differently.  You are the key to their future choice of partner.  Profound, right?

Additionally, therapy is the one place in your world where you can speak about absolutely anything and not be judged or fear a threat to your privacy. What happens in that space of 45 minutes, on a regular basis, allows the exchange of valuable information in a supportive and sensitive way.  You need not feel embarrassed, insensitive, angry, sad – you learn to have feelings without apology and, really importantly, the best way to express those feelings in the world. The puzzle is about how to speak and validate your most intense feelings without blowing anyone up.  Where else can you learn that?

The bond you develop with your therapist can last a lifetime.  Clients come and go, one generation often to the next; the circle gets wider and always more relevant.

Please call for a free phone consultation: 203-661-7227