Sex Therapy, Marriage Counseling, Or Psychotherapy – Which Do You Need Now?

Sex Therapy, Marriage Counseling, Or Psychotherapy – Which Do You Need Now?

A qualified, licensed, and experienced psychotherapist, regardless of their identified specialty, has probably dealt with sexual concerns, love relationship and marriage problems, overcoming addictions, and various and sundry emotional and psychological issues. The question you might want to ask is:

How do I know what type of therapy and which specific therapist will help me to resolve and overcome my most pressing problems and concerns?

Begin by making a crude and elementary diagnosis of your main problem as well as some probably causes and contributing factors. For example, if you or your partner is currently having a sexual dysfunction (lack of desire, arousal problems, orgasmic difficulties), ask yourself these basic questions:

o Has the problem started recently because of some current stressor or changing circumstances – or – has this problem always been part of your relationship but is suddenly more apparent, more urgent, and more upsetting.

o Is there anything my partner or I can do differently that might improve or even resolve the problem?

Perhaps sexual issues are not the most pressing problem in your life. Maybe the sexual aspect seems to be working just fine for you, yet you or your partner did not grow up having good role models for how to create a satisfying relationship. You might want to ask yourself these questions:

o Are my partner and I happy together most of the time?

o Do we both add stability, pleasure, activity, intellectual stimulation, and emotional security to each other’s daily lives?

o Do we boost or lower each other’s self-esteem and sense of well being?

Maybe your sexual relationship is fine for you and your communication with your partner is also okay, but you keep feeling that something is missing, something isn’t right or you’re just not in love. For you, the questions to ask yourself might be:

o Have I chosen to be with this person because I feel intense desire and passion or because he or she provides security and comfort for me?

o Do I want to be in a steady, ongoing, and committed relationship or am I really wanting to be free and single and not tied down to anyone?

o Am I being unreasonable or have I settled for less than my heart’s desire?

Perhaps your problem is not really about sexuality, love relationships, or even communication with your partner. What if your problem is caused by a chemical imbalance, chemical addiction, bouts of depression, anxiety, rage, insecurity, panic, fluctuating moods and erratic behaviors. Ask yourself these questions:

o Are my attitudes and behaviors helping me to create what I truly desire in my life or is my own behavior causing me to sabotage my potential for attaining my dreams?

o Are my behaviors bringing me close or creating distance between myself and those I say I love?

Once you have clarified for yourself what you believe your real problem is, then your next step is to do some research into the problem. Go online and find out what the experts (sex therapists, marriage counselors, other psychotherapists, medical doctors, authors, researchers) are saying about your specific problem. Read about what non-professionals are also saying about this problem.

Now choose a few web sites that explain how a sex therapist, a marriage counselor, and a general psychotherapist might work with someone who has your type of problem. Discover what types of techniques they might utilize (e.g., Cognitive Behavioral approach, Gestalt Therapy, Hypnosis, EMDR, Imago Therapy, Somatic Body Psychotherapy).

Finally, you are ready to focus on locating a specific type of therapist, preferably one who has taken specialized training, has written peer reviewed articles, book chapters or successful books on the subject. Don’t just jump at the first few web sites that appear on a Google or Yahoo search for that problem area keyword. Take a careful look at those first few sites but then locate the directories of the major certifying boards in that discipline. For example, for a sexual problem check out AASECT (American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists) or ABS (American Board of Sexology); for a relationship or marriage problem, check out AAMFT (American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy). There are a host of other directories that offer you the opportunity to evaluate and compare the credentials, background, training, experience, affiliations, fees, and style of therapy that might suit your specific needs.

Now you are ready to contact a few potential therapists. Notice how quickly the individual therapist responds and whether the therapist or an assistant actually contacts you. Observe whether the therapist has taken adequate time to respond to your questions and concerns. Yes, finding the right therapist for your particular problem and situation can feel like a daunting task. And this task is even more difficult because you are probably at your lowest emotional state – or you would probably not even consider seeking therapy.

If searching for the appropriate therapist feels too difficult for you to handle just when you need to talk to someone very soon, then ask someone else to help you or to actually do the research for you. There are many, many qualified therapists out there, but finding the one who can really help you with your specific problem can make all the difference.

What are you waiting for? You don’t have to do it all alone. You can solve your problems and improve your state of mind and your life with the right therapeutic help right now.

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