Well, this is a wonderful question. What you should expect is good, open, and authentic conversation with someone who will do their very best to understand you and thereby help you understand yourself. Awareness of our internal processes is everything. Through awareness we have choice and then through choice we can change. All I ask of you is that you are present and are willing to engage. Perhaps there is also something to think about when it comes to the subject of psychological suffering and the process of healing, which I have adapted from the writings of the psychoanalyst, James Hollis:
You may have to deal with your core issue/concern for the rest of your life. You may even start to win more of the battles you have in your ongoing conflict with yourself. Decades from now you will be fighting on your familiar battlefields, although the terrain may have shifted so much that you bearly recognise the same old, same old.
You will probably have to disassemble some of the many forces you have gathered to defend yourself against your wound. It is likely that your defences, not your wound, cause the problem and hinder your journey. However, removing defences means you may have to feel the discomfort of that wound again. Then the process of healing can begin as you re-experience the wound in the safety of the healing relationship with your therapist and as you construct and tell a new narrative for your life.
You will not be spared psychological pain, granted extraordinary wisdom, or be graciously given exemption from future suffering, although you might be armed with far better tools for regulating your emotions and keeping yourself grounded in the future.
This is at the heart of what it means to be human. We are in a constant and ever changing subjective relationship with ourselves, in our environment. It takes an enormous amount of courage to engage in psychotherapy – but let’s be honest, what’s the alternative?
This is a fabulous question as it seems like there are so many types of psychological therapies. There are counsellors, psychotherapists, clinical psychologists, psychoanalysts, and psychiatrists. Even within psychotherapy there are different schools, such as traditional Freudian or Jungian Psychoanalysis, Psychodynamic therapy, Humanistic therapy, TA, Psychosexual and Relationships, Family Therapy, and even behavioural therapies like CBT and DBT, and on and on and on. To be honest, I don’t think they differ that much. They have different models, different words, and different but fundamentally (apart from perhaps the behavioural therapies) they look at the unconscious, they look at trauma, loss, life events, family patterns, the way you relate to yourself and to others, your feelings and emotions, your intimate relationships, your choices, etc. My personal toolkit is integrative and is formed through a lens of modern adult attachment theory and neuroscience through the work of Allan Schore and Glyn Hudson-Allez, and I draw upon models from the Gestalt school, Transactional Analysis, Internal Family Systems, the Psychodynamic school, Psychosexual and Relationship Therapy, and from the hundreds of books in my library that I’ve learned from and the hundreds of amazing people I have worked with who continue to teach me and amaze me.
Usually, yes. Naturally, it would be ideal if both of you were able to attend, but I appreciate it’s not always possible. The two people in a relationship are both responsible for the relationship they’ve created. You taking responsibility and dealing with your part of the relationship can have a dramatic impact on your partner and on the relationship. It also means you get to grow and develop and become a better version of yourself in the process. Your growth and development will not go unnoticed by your partner and who knows what affect it will have on them?
I care very much about vulvas and vaginas and I enjoy working with women as much as men. However, there are not many male psychosexual therapists and many men who need this type of help, often find it easier with a male therapist, which means the majority of my clients just happen to be male. But I also work with females too.
This is a great question. We often think like this, don’t we, because our day-to-day experience is that we go to the doctor with a problem and he ‘fixes’ it. Actually, if we look closer, that’s not quite true. Our broken leg doesn’t get fixed by the doctors, nurses, radiographer, and orthopaedic plastering technician. The team all work together to provide the attention and create the necessary environment for your body to do the actual healing of the bone. They treat it, but you heal it. And you do the healing in your own time, outside of the time you spent in the emergency department.
Psychotherapy is similar. I may be seen as ‘treating’ your concern but actually in the time we have together I am providing the attention and creating the necessary environment for you to do the healing. The healing of your broken leg is dependant upon you resting it in the following months. If you walk on it every day, it’s not going to mend well. In the same way, you need to attend to the work we do together in therapy. I will provide the space and the context and ‘hold you’ whilst you do your healing.
That doesn’t really matter. We like labels and an accurate diagnosis, don’t we? Penis issues like Erectile Dysfunction, Premature Ejaculation, or Delayed Ejaculation; and indeed vulva and vagina issues like Vaginismus, Vulvodynia, and Dyspareunia, often have some overlap and they’re not always as clearly defined as we’d like them to be. If I am in any doubt about your condition, I will send you to the appropriate doctor to get checked out anyway. If the doctor is of the opinion that the root of your condition is not physical, then I will use my working definitions of what Premature Ejaculation is, for example, even if it doesn’t match perfectly with what the diagnostic manuals and guidelines suggest.
I generally have limited space but I will try and work with you and my schedule is often changing and evolving anyway. Please contact me and I will do my very best. If I am unable to see you, I will gladly refer you to a colleague whom I trust.
Unfortunately not. When I reserve a slot in my schedule, it’s yours for the same time every week. Rhythm, consistency, and the depth of our relationship are important in psychotherapy, and we simply cannot build the type of relationship that is necessary for it to be therapeutic, if I see you sporadically.
No, I don’t do that. If you need guidance, perhaps a sex coach might be better for you?
Absolutely, and many people do. It takes energy, commitment, imagination, and creativity. Above all though, it takes a desire to want to nurture this aspect of your relationship. Esther Perel is superb on this topic and her wonderful book Mating in Captivity should be on every couple’s bookshelf.
This is fairly common and we sometimes refer to the condition as anorgasmia. There is often a psychological reason for both men and women. Please contact me to discuss.
It’s a fascinating subject and I am open to the entire range of sexual experiences. I may not have direct experience of your particular interest, but I have a good understanding of these subjects and the psychology that perhaps drives some of them. If you have an interest that is bothering you and causing you distress, please contact me. Be aware that there are some practices that are illegal, however, and I am obliged by a strict code of ethics, to act appropriately and professionally within the law.
- Fear, tells us to escape or hide. It’s for self-preservation.
- Anger, enables us to push back and protect our boundaries. It’s for self-preservation.
- Love, drives us to connect with other people and to care for – and to be cared for – by our tribe, partner, children, etc. This is for our sense of belonging and overall well-being.
- Passion, drives us to create, procreate, develop, and invent. This is for the development and continuation of our species.
- Hurt/pain, pushes us to correct a situation, which is detrimental to our survival.
- Sadness, tells us we are losing, or have lost, something important to us.
- Compassion, enables us to help others, which is vital to the survival of our tribe.
- Disgust, tells us to avoid something that might be potentially harmful or poisonous. This is for our survival.
- Curiosity, is driven by dopamine, and helps us to explore and learn.