Working with Sexual Attraction in Therapy ↓
I’m too sexy for my therapist!
In our work with clients, an intimate and exclusive relationship will often be created, and - whether we want it or not - sexual and/or romantic feelings can arise and prove challenging for many of us. So how do you respond when……….
- A client or supervisee expresses being attracted to you
- You feel a sexual charge between yourself and your client
- Your client is flirtatious in sessions and you don’t know how to react?
- You start taking more care of how you dress and move when you see a particular client/supervisee
- You feel aroused when your client describes a sexual dream/fantasy
- You feel so petrified of getting it wrong, feeling vulnerable or getting into trouble, that you avoid all references or suggestions of sexual attraction when it occurs in your work.
The aim of this CPD day is to offer counsellors and therapists an opportunity to immerse themselves in not just talking and thinking about the subject of sexual attraction in therapy…….but also getting in touch with how we actually feel about this topic, how we resonant with it, in a more embodied and relational way.
With this intention, the day will emphasise experiential learning; from pair work, small and larger group exercises and client/therapist role plays, to help us grapple with the complexities of responding to sexual attraction in our work with more confidence.
An existential perspective will allow us to regard sexuality from an ontological prism, as one way of responding to life’s givens of embodiment, relatedness and uncertainty/temporality. The psychodynamic notion of erotic transference and countertransference will be challenged, as we explore how to respond ethically and therapeutically to our own and our client’s erotic feelings, rather than from a place of shame, denial or blind panic!
Addressing Sexuality in Relationship Therapy ↓
Pandora’s Box of Sex and Relationships
This CPD day is aimed at therapists working with couples who want to develop their awareness and confidence in supporting their clients to explore sex and sexuality in sessions.
How do we help a couple to open the Pandora box of sex and sexuality in their relationship? How do we respond to the multitude of emotions and experiences that can tumble out?
The fear, desires, shame, delights, insecurities, confusions, longings and fantasies that may have never been spoken about before?
We will explore our own barriers to facilitating an open conversation about this often nuanced and complex topic with the couples we see? Do we have a sexual Pandora box which we also keep tightly shut?
Over the day we will address the following areas of sex and sexuality that may present in relationship therapy:
- developing physical, sexual and emotional intimacy in a relationship
- helping overcoming shame and embarrassment of sexual desires and sexual problems
- improving sexual communication and understanding consent in relationships
- helping couples make sex enjoyable and safe when there is a history of child sexual abuse
- developing confidence to work with same sex couples and mixed sex couples
- gaining awareness to work effectively with clients who live or play with BDSM/kink
- negotiating monogamous relationships
- negotiating non-monogamous relationships (open, poly, swingers)
The workshop will be a mix of presentation, experiential exercises, small group role play and peer collaboration
Relationship Therapy with Non-Monogamous Clients ↓
In Western minority societies, a perception of monogamy as superior to consensual non-monogamous relationships still reigns supreme. In such a mononormative culture, relationship commitment and relationship health is judged as sexual and romantic exclusivity to one person at a time. Those that journey beyond this prescribed relationship model are likely to encounter prejudice, misunderstanding and condescension.
As psychotherapists, we are as seeped in dominant cultural and political values as our clients. These social contexts inform – and misinform – our beliefs, norms, values and standards of relationship ideals.
Adopting a non-judgemental, but unreflected and uninformed position on relationship diversity, is the very least we can offer our clients.
However, to really support and understand clients in open and polyamorous relationships what is called for is an awareness of the variance of consensual non-monogamy, and knowledge about the specific challenges and delights of our clients living and loving in such expansive ways.
We may also need to adapt existing narrow therapeutic frames in relationship therapy to meet the unique needs of polyamorous relationship constellations. We may be required to see three or more people in sessions and arrange for various solo and paired sessions to allow for the dilemma’s to be addressed within the poly set up
Mind/body connection – using the body in therapeutic work ↓
Details to follow.
I will at times invite other therapists to deliver training for Rooftop Training.