As a sex and narrative therapist, developing a collaborative therapeutic relationship is highly important to me because it allows me to assist my clients in a process of re-authoring their sexual identities. A competent sex therapist must be able to address the unique nature of the various aspects of clients’ sexuality and the difficulties for which they seek assistance.
Human sexuality is a complex and important subject to explore in therapy. For this reason, the therapist must approach therapeutic conversations openly and curiously. Sexuality involves sensations, identities, past experiences, health, pleasure, body image, gender identity, sexual orientation and attraction, sexual response cycle, sexualization practices, personal and cultural values, and much more. Sex therapists can engage their clients in exploring these aspects of sexuality, focusing on the meanings attributed to sexual experiences and the potentially harmful effects of these experiences on current sexual functioning, sexual intimacy, relationships, pleasure, and desire.
In addition to exploring the above topics, sex therapy typically involves a component of sexual education to create awareness around aspects of sexuality about which a person may have received misinformation. Sex education is often used in conjunction with a variety of practices such as deconstruction of lived experiences and stories that relate to people’s sexualization process. This is important because the lens through which people interpret their and others’ sexuality is typically shaped by their personal and sexual histories. Moreover, a “narrative sex therapist” may invite their client to participate in a deconstructive exploration of social and cultural discourses that may have contributed to the shaping of values and attitudes around sex.
The process of deconstruction might involve the telling and re-telling of stories, especially those that relate to particular sexual experiences. In sex therapy conversations, clients will explore and unpack lived experiences such as their first sexual encounter, how they first learned about sex and sexuality, past and current relational patterns, and if ready and willing, also potential traumatic sexual experiences. Unpacking these stories can help people to understand different aspects of their sexual life, and as a result, develop more accurate interpretations of these stories and obtain clarity regarding their preferences for their sexual lives.
In my experience providing sex therapy services, it is often in the telling and retelling of stories that the magic happens. When alternative interpretations become visible to people, they are then able to re-author their present and future relationship with their sexuality.
Narrative Conversations Denver
I believe that human sexuality is more than just a physical experience. Sexuality can also be emotional, relational, biological, psychological, and most importantly cultural. I view people’s sexual difficulties from a holistic perspective and I place great value on the relationship between person and environment. While exploring sexuality-related issues with my clients, I look for comments, personal choices or actions, and stories that may speak of their values, intentions, hopes, and commitments. The stories and lived experiences that support these intentions might present opportunities for change or improvement. Therefore, examining the stories that have shaped people’s meanings regarding different aspects of sexuality and intimacy, is an essential part of sex therapy.