Therapy for dyspareunia involves a collaborative and comprehensive approach to address the physical, emotional, and relational aspects of the condition.
Here’s what individuals can generally expect during therapy for dyspareunia:
The first one to three sessions will involve a comprehensive assessment. The therapist will ask you to share your medical history, sexual history, and any emotional or psychological factors that may be contributing to dyspareunia. You will also be asked about the pain that you are experiencing, when it happens, does anything make it better or worse, where it hurts, and how it hurts. It may feel uncomfortable to talk about these things – our sex therapists will go at your pace so that you feel comfortable.
This assessment is important because it allows the therapist to understand your unique situation which will enable them to tailor a treatment plan to meet your specific needs.
You and your therapist will work collaboratively to set treatment goals. These goals will be tailored to your needs and may include improving your understanding of dyspareunia, relaxation exercises, communication skills training, addressing relationship issues, and/or teaching different ways to engage sexually and not trigger pain.
We truly believe that knowledge is power!
The sex therapist may provide information to help you understand your body, pain, and treatment options.
Most commonly, the information shared includes:
- potential causes of dyspareunia,
- impact of dyspareunia,
- available treatment options,
- education about anatomy and the physiology of sexual responses,
- exploring healthy sexual functioning,
- navigating sexual activity while avoiding pain triggers,
- dispelling myths and misinformation that may contribute to anxiety and tension in relationships.
Identifying Contributing Factors
During sex therapy, the therapist works collaboratively with individuals and/or couples to identify physical, medical, psychological, and relational factors that may be contributing to pain during sexual activity.
This process typically entails a referral to a medical doctor (ie. family doctor, gynecologist, urologist, etc.) and a physical practitioner (ie. Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist).
Exercises and Homework
You may be assigned exercises to practice at home in between sessions. The purpose of these exercises is to master the strategies and techniques that you are learning in therapy. This will make it more likely that you will use what you’ve learned in real life situations and get the most out of therapy.
Throughout the therapy process, your therapist will monitor your progress towards your treatment goals. They will make adjustments to the treatment plan to ensure that you’re on the right track and that the treatment plan is suitable to you.
Support and Encouragement
One of the most important aspects of sex therapy is providing you with emotional support and encouragement. The sex therapists at New Moon Psychotherapy aim to provide you with a non judgmental, empathic, and understanding environment in which you can openly discuss your concerns and experiences. It is normal to feel uncomfortable talking about sex and sex related difficulties. This gets easier with time.
Duration and Frequency
The number of sessions and their frequency can vary depending on your individual needs and progress. Some people may benefit from a relatively short-term therapy approach, while others may require longer-term support. The therapist will be able to provide you with more information after the initial assessment.
Your privacy is a top priority in sex therapy. Rest assured that all sessions are conducted in strict confidence. The sex therapist will help you understand limits to confidentiality at your first appointment.
Overall, sex therapy for pain during sexual activity/dyspareunia intends to provide you with the tools, knowledge, and support that will help you overcome your condition and improve your sexual health and satisfaction.
Sex therapy is a collaborative, empowering and transformative process. With the guidance of a trained sex therapist, you can work towards achieving a more satisfying and fulfilling sex life, free from pain and discomfort.
A Treatment Team Approach
The effective treatment of dyspareunia often involves a multidisciplinary approach (psychotherapy, gynecology, urology, pharmacology, pelvic floor physiotherapy, etc). Treatment efficacy improves with collaboration among treating professionals. At New Moon Psychotherapy, our team regularly collaborates with other treating professionals.
* Individuals experiencing pain with sexual activity should always consult with a medical professional. Often, underlaying medical conditions or physical factors are associated with dyspareunia. Psychotherapy should be only used as a complement to medical and physical intervention or when underlaying physical causes have been ruled out.
Therapy for dyspareunia/pain during sexual activity, often takes a holistic approach, recognizing the interconnectedness of physical, emotional, and relational aspects. This approach allows for tailored interventions that address the unique needs of each individual.
It’s important to note that therapy for dyspareunia is personalized, and the specific approach may vary based on individual needs and circumstances.
Open communication with the therapist, active participation in the process, and a commitment to the treatment plan are crucial for positive outcomes.
Individuals are encouraged to seek support from healthcare professionals, including psychotherapists and gynecologists, to determine the most appropriate and effective treatment plan for their specific situation.