Obviously no day in the life of a sex therapist can go by without tremendous variety and a large dollop of non-judgemental curiosity. How could you not be?
Clients are referred into our service by GPs, nurses, health workers, from in-house relationship therapists; and many self-refer so please do get in touch (shameless plug intended).
A referral shows very brief details of the issue affecting clients which can be indicative of the awkwardness often experienced in discussing sex. A level of narcissism is necessary for good self-esteem; but when we convince ourselves that we’re the only one ever to have suffered from erectile difficulty, painful sex, or loss of desire it can often inhibit us from seeking help.
(In terms of sexual myths, that last one, ‘loss of desire’, is the biggest one out there by a country mile. “Everyone is having sex more often, AND better, than me!” Please. Don’t worry. We’re all making it up as we go along…..)
Client’s initial meetings are our first opportunity to invite them to relax. Most of the presenting issues we encounter are based in anxiety and so addressing this is pivotal. Clients describe what troubles them in different ways. For example using innuendo, speaking graphically, hoping you’ll guess (!). Often by being explicit, using metaphor, or humour.
All of these give direction to the therapist about what language to use with clients to make it easier for them, so that the therapist can get as much information as possible. Clients are invited in so that we can go through a history taking with them and explore why it is that they may have been psychologically pre-disposed to a sexual difficulty, what might have set it off for them, and, in some cases why it has been maintained for so long. With a couple, the enigmatic nature of their dynamics and interactions are fascinating and impossible to ignore.
In the sessions
Many of our clients have been living with a sexual dysfunction that causes them real distress as they meditate or catastrophise on possibly losing their partner, or never being able to have children, or missing out on pleasure. These are enormous issues in anybody’s life.
Much of the work we undertake originates in the view that sex is about getting to the ‘main event’ which most people see as orgasm or ejaculation. When an uncertainty or anxiety arises around that not happening (through either stress, tiredness, illness, life-stages – things that none of us are immune from), self-doubt and stress often take over and the cycle becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Sex therapy puts the brakes on all of this as it seeks to reframe sex as a fuller and more relaxing experience, and fundamentally a more thoughtful one. Asking clients to really put thought and time into what drives their desire is often something they have never done before, and can be life changing purely for the pleasure derived. But if it results in a much wanted pregnancy so much the better.
In terms of how we interpret life, we have, as a point of survival, a tendency towards a negativity bias and what we do when thinking about sex can be no different. We suspect our inadequacies and avoid them becoming exposed! In sex therapy we explore the joys of exploration, fumbling, and curiosity. That sex is a recreational past-time to be given time to and not goal oriented but rather more thoughtful, unpredictable, and creative.
Are you a highly motivated and skilled senior leader, with a passion for making a difference in the third sector? If so, we want to hear from you.
We are recruiting a Head of Service Delivery and Development, to work 37 hours a week, with a competitive salary, of £30,507.
Reporting directly to the Chief Executive, you will support the Chief Executive in the efficient running and development of Relate Bradford’s services in Bradford and will assist the further development of our new offer in Leeds. You will ensure the efficient delivery of safe, high quality, evidence-based services in accordance with Relate Bradford’s policies and procedures. Leading the development and delivery of Relate Bradford’s services, you will ensure we are seen by all, as industry experts in our approach to healthy relationship building.
You will play a key role in commissions, contracts and bids, and in scanning for activity and opportunities.
You will have a leadership role, providing effective management, supervision and support to the team, underlining and promoting our values, principles and behaviours at all times. Responsible for developing and implementing a marketing strategy, you will help to grow the business with due regard to delivering a broad based class-leading relationship focussed counselling service.
My time at Relate has opened me up to the different type of work they do here and what working is actually all about. I have realised that my idea of counselling was very different to what counselling here at relate was all about.
I couldn’t be happier that I have met such lovely staff whilst been here and they have made me feel welcome since the minute I walked in.
Whilst been here at relate I have experienced some of the many tasks that the receptionist staff have to do here and I have done research towards linking companies that work with relate and been involved in meetings with staff who are helping build connections with the company. I am glad that I have been able to be involved with different tasks at relate and been shown the different type of work that they do here.
I would feel comfortable with accessing the services at relate Bradford as all the staff I have met have been an absolute pleasure to be around.
I also got the experience of speaking with a counsellor supervisor who talked to me in depth about the different types of counselling here and I got to ask questions so I could find out any information that I wanted to know. This was very helpful for me as I am interested in studying subjects that link with the work they do here so this give me some idea of the actual work I wanted to go into.
I think my time here at relate has helped me with what I would like to do as a career but also to see what working in the real world is actually like. I have enjoyed my time here at relate.
Because the relationships we have with ourselves and others matter and good relationships help us all to live more fulfilled, healthier and happier lives.
What we do
As a caring organisation, we give you the time, space and support to explore relationships and help you see how you might be able to work through and overcome relationship challenges in order to move forward positively.
Our values, principles and behaviours
o We put you at the heart of all that we do, by providing a confidential, ethical and professional counselling service of the highest quality, exploring options, individually tailored to your current situation
o We enable you to be more aware of feelings, to explore options and to improve coping skills
o We work in partnership with others
o We place kindness at our core and always strive to be respectful, supportive, professional, dependable and empowering
o As a passionate, curious and creative organisation looking to the future, we endeavour to develop innovative and dynamic interventions, continually championing the importance of healthy relationships and the role they play in ensuring good mental health
o With our partner organisations, we will be helpful, responsible, collaborative and dynamic
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