The Brook’s Psychosexual Clinic is led by Dr Emily Simon who is a Consultant in psychosexual medicine, having trained and attained membership from the Institute of Psychosexual Medicine.
What is Psychosexual Counselling?
Sex is a psychological as well as physical experience, and sexual pain and difficulties are often multifactorial in nature. Factors which can contribute to these problems may include gynaecological or obstetric issues, traumatic past experiences, assault, sexual abuse, or unpleasant examinations. Previous relationships, expectations of sexuality and wider cultural influences can also contribute. These factors may be subconscious, and an individual may not be aware that they are having an impact on their sexual and emotional life.
The aim of psychosexual counselling is to explore the patient’s past experience and current issues to help facilitate understanding, acceptance and recovery. The therapy is not CBT nor in-depth psychotherapy, it offers a ‘psychosomatic’ approach – which means discussing and looking at the connection between body and mind.
Things that it can help with includes but is not limited to loss of desire, low libido, inability to orgasm and pain during sex. In women it can include pelvic pain, vaginismus and difficulty in achieving penetrative sex. In men it can include erectile dysfunction and ejaculation disorders.
What will happen in the sessions?
You will be asked to tell your story and share some personal questions about your sex life and your feelings about this area of your life. You may be asked about your relationship and other issues which may (or may not) be relevant.
One of the sessions will typically include an examination as this is sometimes helpful in revealing factors or emotions which may be related to the problem. This is not mandatory,and it is fine for you to decline if you feel it would not be helpful for you.
Usually, the patient and doctor will meet for around 6 sessions of 50 minutes. In some patients they may meet for more and in others for less. The process is very much patient led and will continue for as long as it is beneficial for the patient. In some cases, where appropriate, medication might be prescribed.
Each session is £160.
For more information on the IPM see www.ipm.org.uk
The Vulval Pain Society is a charity which provides information for women with vulval pain and has a very useful website at www.vulvalpainsociety.org
The College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists website includes information on sexual problems and how to access relationship counselling. www.cosrt.org.uk
The Sexual advice association has some helpful tips and leaflets www.sexualadviceassociation.co.uk