Incorporating sense and sexuality in couple therapy – Is integration possible?

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Organised by:

Tavistock Relationships

08 December 2023

Time: 18:00 - 19:00

Price: £15 (£11.75 Trainee/NHS/Subscriber)

Location: online


With Susan Pacey

From the series: Lectures from the Tavistock Relationships Model

In this seminar, Susan Pacey will offer therapists insights into the challenges of working with body, mind and relationship when couples present with sexual problems. Currently clients seeking help must choose between a psychoanalytic/psychodynamic approach, which mostly addresses unconscious mental models of relating, and psychosexual therapy, which focuses primarily on the body and conscious couple interaction. In this way the profession seems to mirror the psychic splitting of sex and love, which Freud first identified and which is a common phenomenon in clinical work. There is a growing number of psychotherapists, however, who are working with both approaches and Pacey will discuss psychological barriers to and benefits of integration.

Pacey will draw on nearly thirty years’ clinical experience as well as research undertaken as part of the Doctor of Couple Psychotherapy Programme at Tavistock Relationships, proposing that the major psychosexual therapy intervention known as sensate focus, a programme of tactile exercises given to couples as ‘homework’, has the potential to help integrate couple dynamics and sexual behaviour. This famous intervention illuminates for therapist and client alike the multitude of existential anxieties and defences that interfere with partners’ shared desire and lead to sexual avoidance in the consulting room and in the bedroom.

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