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6 sex therapy questions answered

Mind Matters Psychology provides assessment and intervention for adults with psychosexual concerns. We have a team of qualified professionals with postgraduate qualifications who can help adults that are looking to undertake sex therapy.

What is psychosexual therapy?

Psychosexual therapy is a type of sex therapy that involves using evidence-based psychological interventions to address sexual concerns. Achieving sexual wellness is more than the absence of pain, discomfort or illness but focuses on feeling confidence, joy, and pleasure in your sexuality, body and sexual relationships with yourself and others.

Who can benefit from psychosexual therapy?

People of all sexes, genders, orientations, and relationship statuses can benefit from psychosexual therapy. Common concerns that are frequently treated with psychosexual therapy include:

  • Mismatched libidos/desire discrepancies
  • Painful sex
  • Vaginismus
  • Difficulties in reaching orgasm
  • Premature ejaculation
  • Delayed ejaculation
  • Porn dependency
  • Anxiety before or during sex
  • Low mood contributing to low sexual desire
  • Body image concerns
  • Adjusting to sex after pregnancy and childbirth
  • Adjustment to illness and disability
  • Adjustment to sexually transmitted infection
  • Recovering from sex related trauma

In addition to the these concerns, everyone can benefit from increased awareness of their own bodies, sexuality, and desire. As such, you should also come to therapy with no specific problem but a desire to learn more about your sexual anatomy, functioning or safe sex practices in a confidential and non-judgmental space.

Why would I come to see a psychologist for sex therapy?

There are many wonderful therapists, counsellors, coaches, and educators providing sex therapy services. However, as ‘sex therapy’ is not a regulated industry, they may not have received the level of in-depth training, supervision and continuing professional development that is required of a psychologist.

Furthermore, when you see a psychologist for your psychosexual concerns, you may be eligible to receive a Medicare rebate for your sessions. This is because of the increasing recognition of the psychological factors that contribute to sexual wellbeing. Your general practitioner can advise whether your concerns could be treated under the Better Access Mental Health Care Plan in which case you could be eligible for 10-20 rebated sessions with a psychologist per year.

What can I expect from my first session?

Sessions are conducted in-person or via telehealth.

The first session is an assessment session in which your psychologist will ask you a range of questions about your sexual activities, concerns, relationships, prior treatment experiences and current goals for therapy. They may also ask to see reports from previous health professionals that you have seen (e.g., gynaecologists, andrologists) to further develop your treatment plan.

Importantly, all of our sessions will be ‘clothes on and hands off,’ meaning that your psychologist will not touch you. There may be instances that they recommend seeking additional support from practitioners such as registered pelvic floor physiotherapists who are trained in providing evidence-based interventions that require physical touch.

What about subsequent sessions?

After a thorough assessment session, you and your psychologist will work together to create a ‘formulation’ of the psychological factors that are contributing to your sexual concerns. Based on this formulation, your psychologist will then flexibly draw upon techniques from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Mindfulness Informed Therapy and Schema Therapy to meet your unique therapeutic goals. Treatment will frequently involve exercise, activities, and strategies that you will apply in your sex life between sessions.

Will my partner come to the sessions?

After your individual assessment session, your psychologist may recommend that your partner attend a future session with you so that they can also learn skills and strategies to help you. Importantly, this is not ‘couples therapy’ and will remain focused on the concerns of the individual client rather than the couple.

Importantly, your partner does not have to attend or know about your sessions. Your confidentiality and privacy are of the utmost importance.

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