My education, development, and contribution to the sex therapy and the broader mental health fields continue. Some recent forms of my expansion include:
- listening to the Esther Perel podcast, “Where Shall we Begin?” Esther Perel is one of the most prominent modern sex therapists. Her podcast includes extended audio clips from her real sex therapy meetings. It’s incredibly relevant and inspiring.
- a week-long Internal Family Systems training. Although I decided not to continue part II of this course, it gave me an opportunity to further discern my core assumptions and therapeutic skills. I am grateful for the understanding & commitments I developed from this extended exploration.
- defining the concept of “Sexual Deviance” with other mental health professionals. We explored several case studies to identify best practices for therapeutic conceptualization and treatment.
- reading Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World. You can expect a future book report on this blog!
Summer semester is over. It’s always fun teaching Theories & Methods of Sexual Counseling–and a lot of work on top of a full client load. I work late hours during the summer–but getting to know the students is worth it! UMKC graduates plenty of competent, inspiring Counseling students. These interactions give me great hope and faith for the Counseling profession. Most of my work in private practice is one-on-one or with couples. It’s something special to see 20+ Counseling students apply themselves to clinical case examples.
Every year I squeeze additional information into the course. This year we fit in brief discussions of Intersex clients and Sex with Spinal Cord Injuries. We also expanded our conceptualization of “Sex Addiction” into Out-of-Control Sexual Behavior treatment.
I’ve organized extra time in my schedule each week for proactive research & development! Stay tuned!
I attended the AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists) Annual Conference. Of course it was a good time! Here’s what I studied:
- Combating Sexual Misconduct in our Schools
- Bringing Perimenopause into the Light
- Sexual Education & Ethical Decision-Making
- Coping with Jealousy
- Strategies of Human Mating
- Envisioning Sexual Health
- The Art of Brief Sexual Assessment
- Black & Sexual with a Disability
- Transgender Hormone Referral Letters
- Interdisciplinary Approach to Sexual Pain
I’ve immersed myself in several continuing education experiences over the last several months. Some highlights:
- Treatment of Borderline, Narcissistic, and Histrionic Personality disorders with Daniel J. Fox
- The 6th Annual Sexuality Conference at KU Med
- Genital Pain: Pelvic Floor Function & Health with Foundation Concepts Physical Therapy (for cooperative physical & mental health treatment of genital pain)
If you’re feeling distant from a partner or loved one and want to reconnect–you may need to:
- look at your partner with beginner’s mind
- do the scary work of emotional vulnerability
36 Questions is structure that can help you with these common sense, yet often elusive practices. These questions were developed and tested by psychologists. The results? A pair of strangers fell in love.
I work with many clients who suffer from gender dysphoria. During any given week, I host several conversations regarding clients’ gender expression as related to their sense of self and well-being. There are several means, depending on the situation, to bolster client efforts in synchronizing their gender expression (cues visible to others) with their gender identity (their self-experienced gender).
Some people seek an official assessment for potential hormone referral therapy. These assessments include an intake of the client’s life history including child & adolescent development; transition goals; coping resources; and any co-occurring problems (such as depression or trauma histories). During later stages in the process, I may invite clients to bring family members into the meetings for increased social support (this part is required earlier for adolescents).
Other clients, such as gender non-conforming people, benefit from deconstructing any unhelpful gender associations & roles they internalized from developmental and social contexts. Then, therapeutic techniques such as assertiveness training help privilege their own unique identity and facilitate choices & empowerment.
I purchased a subscription to SexSmartFilms.com, a collection of hundreds of educational and therapeutic videos for common sex therapy concerns. I look forward to providing customized video recommendations to clients. Without a subscription, each video can be viewed one time for about $1.00.
Wow, time flies when you’re having fun! Here are my major business updates for November and December 2016, I:
This October I completed another step towards my Sex Therapist certification. I traveled to Washington DC to complete the Sexual Attitude Reassessment training. The SAR is a 10 hour intensive small group course for psychotherapists. We processed our reactions to various sexual materials–in order to discover and manage any personal biases that may otherwise interfere with successful therapy.
At a time when people are gaining awareness about the dynamics & negative effects of sexual abuse AND deconstructing puritanical sexual beliefs & misinformation, Doug Braun-Harvey offers us six principles of sexual health. These principles are important guideposts in a frequently neglected and obscured corner of mental health treatment–as well as human lifespan development more generally.
- pleasure: healthy sexuality leads to joy and/or empowerment (rather than detachment, and/or shame)
- consent: participants should be in full, active agreement to the particular sexual acts, time, place, people, etc.
- non-exploitation: secrecy and betrayal prevent partners from engaging in a psychologically-safe intimacy
- protection: healthy partners collaborate in preventing transmission of STI’s and unwanted pregnancies
- honesty: healthy partners voice their desires, limits, and ambivalence
- shared values: connections are built on common meanings
If you would like to examine how your life interfaces with these principles, please contact me. BTW, imagine how much psychological pain would be eliminated and how much pleasure would increase if adolescent sexual education raised conscientiousness about these intra-personal and interpersonal factors.