Psychosexual therapy, known as PST, is treatment by a qualified practitioner which addresses a sexual dysfunction or emotional block within a relationship.
PST has a proven success rate and takes referrals from GPs and counsellors to look at physiological and psychological problems which are causing distress. Any physical cause such as medication, alcohol, stress or illness will also be considered.
PST is a behavioural programme which openly explores and discusses the sexual problem and looks at emotional blocks for the couple.
The main dysfunctions for men
- Erectile failure - the inability to maintain an erection sufficiently to allow penetration.
- Premature ejaculation - this is the inability to control the timing so ejaculation occurs too soon.
- Retarded ejaculation - an inability to ejaculate at all or intercourse taking too long before ejaculation takes place.
The main dysfunctions for women
- Vaginismus - involuntary spasm of the muscles around the vagina, which make sexual intercourse impossible.
- Dyspareunia - penetration is painful.
- Orgasmic Dysfunction - an inability to experience an orgasm.
There are five distinctive stages of arousal which are a combination of the emotional and physical communication between the couple. The timing and the meaning can be quite different for each partner. For example where anger and resentment are major issues within a relationship the excitement phase may be problem-free but the resolution stage may be disappointing. Such a couple may rely on pornography or arousing jealousy in the other.
Intensive therapy, using a behavioural approach, should only be attempted by a suitably qualified therapist. Inappropriate sex therapy can reinforce problems in a relationship rather than help the situation. Dealing with physiological or emotional difficulties must be sensitively and skilfully managed.
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Content written/edited by Denise Pickup BACP (Accred) in 2008. All content displayed on Counselling Directory is provided for general information purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for advice given by your GP or any other healthcare professional.
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