Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Psychosexual Therapy?

Psychosexual Therapy is a talking therapy. It a specialist form of counselling which helps people to understand their sexual difficulties, what the underlying causes and influencing factors are, with the aim of helping people to overcome them.

  • What is the difference between a Psychosexual Therapist and a General Therapist?

Whereas general Counsellors/Psychotherapists can help people with a wide range of issues, many therapists choose to specialise in certain areas such as bereavement, trauma, anxiety or depression, and some choose to train in and use certain techniques such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).  A Psychosexual Therapist is a therapist who specialises in helping people with sexual problems. Many Psychosexual Therapists are also trained Couples Therapists/Relationship Counsellors. Psychosexual Therapists undergo specific training, usually in addition to their core counselling skills and qualifications, and have in-depth knowledge of the common sexual issues and how to help people to overcome them. Importantly, Psychosexual Therapists understand the relevant anatomy and physiology of sex, and have a knowledge of pharmacology (prescription drugs), which means they are trained to recognise when a sexual problem might have a physical, organic cause that needs investigating.

  • Is it unusual or abnormal to have problems with sex?

Absolutely not. Most people will have problems with sex at some point in their lives, and the causes of these problems are extremely varied. People/the media, talk about sex a lot. Most people, however, don’t talk about their sexual problems as they feel too ashamed or embarrassed. This can give the impression that everybody else is functioning well sexually, so that when you have an issue with sex, it can feel like you are the only one. We can reassure you that this is not the case.

  • What should I/we look for when choosing a Psychosexual/Couples Therapist?

If a therapist is stating that they deal with sexual issues or provide couples counselling, it is important to check that firstly, they have a specialist qualification in Psychosexual Therapy or Couples Counselling. This means that they have undertaken proper training in this area and have the necessary skills to help you with your particular problem. Secondly, check that they are either  an Accredited Member of the College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists (COSRT), or a General Member of COSRT who is working towards accreditation. COSRT accreditation is awarded to Psychosexual Therapists who have met strict criteria in respect of training, experience, knowledge, ethical standards, clinical skills and commitment to continuous professional development; this is audited annually. They are bound by and work to the Codes of Ethics and Practice for General and Accredited Members.

  • What happens in Therapy?

An Initial Assessment session lasting up to 1 hour, is arranged. The initial Assessment usually lasts slightly longer than regular sessions as your Therapist will need to take the time to explain the therapy process in detail with you and will need to complete some important paperwork.  There is no physical or medical examination involved. The Therapist will ask you questions about your current problems, how long they have been troubling you, and any other relevant issues in your life. They may ask you about your family history, previous relationships and sexual partners, and relevant medical history and medication. They will also ask you about any previous mental health issues that they need to understand. Your Therapist will then be able to help you to decide how you would like to move forward and what it is that you would like to achieve from therapy, setting goals as necessary. Some people are very clear about what they want to achieve from the process, and some people just want to talk to someone who will understand and listen. Both are absolutely fine. If you decide that you are happy to work with you Therapist for regular sessions, you will normally decide to meet at the same day and time every week. You will decide between you as to how many sessions you think would be appropriate, and this can be reviewed on an ongoing basis. Regular sessions usually last for 50 minutes. If you are being seen as a couple you will normally attend all sessions together from the very beginning.

  • I have problems with sex which are affecting my relationship. Should I have individual therapy or couples therapy?

Sometimes it is difficult to separate out problems with sex from the issues within a relationship. That is because in most cases, issues with sex can lead to problems in the relationship. And sometimes, issues within the relationship can lead to problems with sex. For some people, individual therapy works well because they can focus on working on their own issues, which leads to an improvement in the quality of their relationship. Some people choose to start off with individual therapy and move on to couples therapy when they feel they have gone as far as they can individually and any remaining problems are within the relationship. And some people start off with couples therapy and decide that they would like to work on individual issues either instead of, or alongside, couples therapy. You may already have an idea as to whether you want to explore these issues individually in therapy, or with your partner in couples therapy. However for some people, this is less clear. If in doubt, do not hesitate to ask, as Psychosexual Therapists and Couples Counsellors are experienced in these areas and will be able to advise you of the best way forward.

  • I want couples therapy but my partner doesn’t – what should I do?

This is quite a common issue and it can be difficult when you want couples therapy but your partner doesn’t. For Couples Therapy to stand the best chance of helping your relationship, there needs to be commitment from both partners. Trying to force your partner in to Couples Therapy if they are reluctant is not recommended as putting them in a situation where they feel uncomfortable is unlikely to help matters. If one partner does not want to engage in therapy they will be unlikely to commit to it, and it might feel to the partner who wants therapy that they are the one putting all the hard work in.  Instead, if your partner is resistant to Couples Therapy, try asking them why that is. What are their fears or concerns about therapy? Perhaps they are worried about discussing such personal issues with a stranger. Or perhaps they don’t realise how much the relationship issues are affecting you? Maybe they don’t know what to expect and need more information about what is involved with Couples Therapy. We would be delighted to have an informal, absolutely no-obligation chat with your partner to help them decide if you both feel that would be helpful. Once you know what the fears or concerns are you can have an honest and open discussion about it.

  • Does needing couples therapy mean our relationship is doomed to fail?

No. Relationships fail for lots of different reasons. The fact that you are considering couples therapy in itself does not mean your relationship is doomed to “fail”. In fact, seeking help in order to improve areas of your relationship can be extremely useful in not only dealing with any problems you might have at the moment and therefore giving your relationship the best chance that you can, but the skills you will learn will help you to prevent potential future issues from developing. This means that your relationship can overcome issues and grow even stronger as a result.

  • We don’t know whether our relationship can be saved – is couples therapy still right for us?

If your relationship is in crisis, it can be very difficult to see clearly how to move things forward in a positive way. Sometimes couples come to see us when things have become so difficult, and communication has broken down so much, that they don’t know whether the relationship can be saved. A Couples Therapist will be able to see things objectively and in a balanced way, helping you to understand what is going on, what your relationship patterns are, why you each react the way you do, and why the same issues seem to come up over and over again. Underlying problems are explored and through clarifying what the issues are (making the unconscious conscious), you can then begin to work on them. Skills are taught so that you can work on your relationship in between sessions, putting in to practice techniques that you are given in the sessions. Going through this process and really putting those techniques into practice  can help you to decide whether the relationship can improve. If, however, it becomes clear that the relationship is just not going to work, and that parting ways might be the best option, a Couples Therapist can help you to part amicably and in the most constructive way possible. There are no guaranteed outcomes in any form of counselling, and a Couples Therapist will never try to encourage you to stay in a relationship that you don’t want to be in.

  • Surely if a relationship is “meant to be” we shouldn’t have to work on it?

Different couples’ relationships can vary hugely. Some couples seem to argue constantly, whereas  some couples appear to never have a cross word. We are all different. However, relationships can take work, compromise, collaboration and negotiation to stay healthy and overcome challenges.  Even the most outwardly peaceful relationships need care and attention. You wouldn’t hesitate to take your car for a service if you felt it wasn’t running as smoothly as you would like (!). So if you feel that there are things that could run more smoothly in your relationship and you decide that you want to work on these, that just means that you are ensuring you are taking responsibility to ensure that you are both getting the most from your relationship.

  • Does there have to be a problem in our relationship for us to benefit from couples therapy?

No! In fact, lots of couples find Couples Therapy very useful just to iron out minor concerns in a constructive way, or to find new and improved ways of communicating in order to prevent problems from developing in the first place. So whether you are considering general pre-marital or New Relationship Couples Counselling so that you can “start as you mean to go on”, or simply want to put a bit more focus in to your long-term relationship but don’t know where to start, Couples Therapy can be extremely helpful.

  • What if I feel too ashamed or embarrassed to talk about my problem with a stranger?

Talking about such sensitive and intimate issues with a stranger can feel very difficult at first, and as Psychosexual Therapists we completely understand this. For this reason we don’t usually expect you to go in to detailed information over the telephone when you call to make an initial appointment. Everything discussed in sessions is confidential, and hopefully, once you meet with your therapist you will eventually feel safe and comfortable enough to discuss your concerns. And just remember that we deal with such a wide variety of sexual and relationship issues, and all therapy is undertaken in an understanding and completely non-judgmental environment.

  • How can I be sure that everything is confidential?

At Woodbridge Therapy Ltd, all of our Therapists adhere to COSRT’s (College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists) code of ethics, and also to the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) Code of Ethics.  Confidentiality is a very important aspect of the counselling relationship.  Everything that is discussed with your Therapist in the counselling session is kept in the strictest confidence.  As members of their respective professional organisations, our Therapists are required to have regular supervision and your Therapist will need to discuss their work with their Supervisor from time to time.  However, they will not disclose your name or anything that would enable you to be identified. Any information that a Supervisor receives is also treated as confidential and subject to the same ethical criteria as counselling. If you are being treated by your Doctor for emotional difficulties, it is important that you inform him or her about your Counsellor, and vice versa.  Your Therapist will not confer with your Doctor without your knowledge and permission.  If there is convincing evidence that you intend to harm yourself or others, your Therapist will need to break confidentiality by informing your Doctor, or in serious cases the Police, emergency services, or other appropriate third party. Wherever possible, and if it is considered appropriate, you will be informed of this. Your Therapist may keep brief notes after a session, which will be securely stored.

  • What if I don’t feel my therapist is the right therapist for me?

The relationship between the Client/s and the Therapist is one of the most important factors in achieving a good outcome in therapy. At Woodbridge Therapy Ltd we completely understand that a good fit between Client and Therapist is very important. We always arrange an initial appointment at the start of therapy, which not only enables the therapist to gather important information, it also allows you the opportunity to meet with your Therapist and decide if you would like to work with them going forward.  If for any reason at all you do not wish to continue with the same Therapist, that is absolutely no problem, and every effort will be made to place you with an alternative Therapist.

  • How many sessions will I/we need?

This is something that you will negotiate with your Counsellor, as all clients have different needs.  Therapy can either be short term or long term, and you are not bound in to a minimum or maximum number of sessions. Your Therapist will be able to help guide you as to how many sessions are likely to be required once you have undergone an Initial Assessment and they have understood all of the issues that you are experiencing. They will then help you to formulate a plan going forward. You might agree to work together for an initial period of 6 weeks and then review things.  It is important for you to know that it is the Client/s who has the deciding say on whether or not to continue.

  • Do you offer Skype sessions?

Because of the intimate and specialist nature of Psychosexual Therapy, it is not always possible or appropriate to conduct therapy sessions via Skype. This is also the case for Couples Therapy, where it would be too difficult to build or maintain effective communication with the couple.  However in some circumstances, Skype sessions can be appropriate and helpful, so if you would like Skype sessions but are unsure as to whether this can be accommodated, just get in touch and we can help you to decide the best way forward.

  • How much do sessions cost?

The cost of sessions depends on a number of factors including location, whether you choose to see the Director or an Associate Therapist, or whether you want Individual or Couples Therapy. For further information on this, contact us on 01462 674671 for an informal discussion of your needs and we will be delighted to advise you.

  • What session times are available?

We understand that different clients have different needs – some people work 9 to 5 jobs and need evening or weekend appointments, and some people such as those who are self-employed, work from home or are stay-at-home parents, prefer daytime appointments. We recognise this at Woodbridge Therapy Ltd, and therefore having a range of Psychosexual and Relationship Therapists with a mixture of daytime, evening and weekend availability means that we can be reasonably flexible and offer clients a choice of appointments. If you are unsure if we can accomodate you, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01462 674671 for a free, no-obligation chat.