What’s the difference between seeing a counsellor and a psychologist?

As a counsellor, I take into account the physical, social, emotional, psychological, and occasionally spiritual contexts within which we live. I draw from a wide range of modalities and select from among these, depending on your needs and personality. Many psychologists work within a CBT model. CBT stands for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. There are definite benefits to this approach, although it doesn’t suit and work for everyone. Similarly, I steer away from diagnosing and tend to look at the whole person and their experience, rather than labelling someone with an illness or dysfunction.

What’s the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?

In a lot of ways there is no difference. However, counselling is often thought of as more practical and life-skills based, whereas psychotherapy can involve the unconscious and getting to know yourself at a deeper level.

What is sex therapy/sexual counselling?

Sex therapy and sex counselling are two terms that really mean the same thing. Sex therapy is a specialised form of counselling, which takes into account physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual well-being in relation to sexuality. Sex therapy also acknowledges the interaction of biological, psychological, social, economic, political, cultural, ethical, legal, historical, religious and spiritual factors. Sex therapy works to develop not just the absence of a problem or issue, but a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships. Sex therapy can be for people of all ages, sexual orientations, genders, religions, and ethnicities.

What happens in a sex therapy session?

The first step in sex therapy is evaluating and assessing the presenting problem or problems. A sexual history is discussed, which gathers information about the client’s sexual experiences. For couples, each partner’s sexual history is collected. The following sessions, depending on the issue, may involve a treatment plan and goal oriented work and/or working through an issue with varied approaches in counselling.

Special exercises for the individual or the couple to practice at home may be devised. The homework exercises are followed up and any difficulties are explored. The exercises help the individual or couple re-learn more satisfying sexual behaviour.
Sex education and understanding the physiological processes are also addressed, and we may also work collaboratively with other practitioners such as your GP, physiotherapists, gynaecologists and physicians to address the entirety of the causes of the sexual concern.

Why go to sex therapy?

When dealing with issues around sexuality, and when sexuality seems a central part of an issue, a sex therapist may be more appropriate than a general psychotherapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, or other helping professionals. If you think you may be interested in talking with a sex therapist, but are unsure, a short phone conversation with me may help you to determine whether sex therapy is the right approach for you.

What about confidentiality?

Everything shared in the room stays in the room. I don’t share information from or about you, unless I think that someone is at risk of serious harm. In this instance, I would seek to discuss it with you first.

Do you abide by a code of ethics?

Yes, I sure do. I abide by the Australian Counselling and Association and Australian Society of Sex Educators Codes of Ethics and principles of good practice.

How many sessions will I need?

That greatly depends on the nature of our work. Some clients feel better after one session, some around 6-12 sessions, and others a couple of years. The benefits of persisting with therapy can create a lifetime of change. On conclusion of our initial session, we will discuss the therapy and make agreements around details like frequency of sessions. Each session we’ll review progress and explore challenges, to enable us to review our direction and modify the plan accordingly.

Other questions?

Please feel free to send me a question or call me if you have any other questions you’d like answered.