Day 1 - Sat. June 13
Sue Johnson, Ed.D
Sanctuary is Sexy: The attachment view of sexuality — both splendid and vanilla.
This presentation will outline the attachment perspective on sexuality, which challenges many of the clichéd assumptions about sexuality that are currently in vogue. We will see specifically how emotional security enhances desire, arousal, orgasm and satisfaction. Sexual dysfunction and boredom, as well as optimal sexuality will be explored using an attachment lens. The implications of this orientation to sexuality for integrated couple therapy and for addressing sexual problems in couple therapy will be outlined.
Participants will be able to:
Gurit Birnbaum, Ph.D.
Inevitably connected: The joint operation of the attachment and sexual systems during relationship development.
Attachment and sexual mating are distinct behavioral systems that serve different evolutionary functions. Although their behavioral manifestations may occur in isolation, romantic partners typically function simultaneously as sexual partners and as attachment figures. In this talk, I will review research that points to a reciprocal relationship between the attachment and sexual systems. I will begin with an overview of the literature on the contribution of attachment processes to the appraisal of sexual interactions. In doing so, I will discuss the role of attachment processes in linking sexuality with relationship quality and in shaping sexual responses to relationship-threatening events. I will then focus on the role of sex as a promoter of emotional bonds and introduce a model of the functional significance of sex at different stages of relationship development. I will conclude by discussing the need for more research exploring the dual role of sex as a relationship maintenance mechanism and as a force.
Sharon J. Parish, M.D.
Current Medical Treatments for Male and Female Sexual Dysfunction: Impact on the Individual and Considerations for the Couple.
This presentation will give an evidenced-based overview of the current medical treatments for male and female sexual dysfunction. Female desire, arousal, orgasm and sexual pain disorders will be described, and non-pharmacological and pharmacological management approaches will be discussed. Male desire, arousal, and orgasm disorders will be defined, and pharmacological treatment options will be reviewed. The impact of these disorders and management and treatment options on the couple and their relationship will be explored. Strategies and indications for referral for more intensive therapy or specialty care will be presented.
Participants will be able to:
Cupid and Psyche: Integrating EFT with Sex Therapy.
This workshop will consider sexuality in the context of an attachment relationship. Relevant research will be reviewed regarding the interrelationship -of sexuality and attachment, with consideration of the impact of insecure attachment on sexual behavior. The integration of EFT for Couples with treatment of sexual dysfunctions and discrepancy of desire, as promoted by Johnson and Zuccarini, will be discussed. Drs. Fitzgerald and Rosoman will present case examples and show video recordings from EFT sessions demonstrating integration of EFT with treatment of sexual dysfunctions or paraphilias.
Assessment of Sexual Issues and Diagnostic Formulation through an Integrated Lens
Moderated by Ian Kerner, Ph.D.
Panel Discussion with Gurit Birnbaum, Jennifer Fitzgerald, Sue Johnson, Sharon Parish, and Clare Rosoman.
Day 2 - Sun, June 14
Suzanne Iasenza, Ph.D.
Desires Lost and Found: Expanding Sexual Frames in Theory and Practice.
This presentation will offer expansive ways of thinking about and working with sexuality including the development of inclusive models of sexual response, as well as new approaches to standard sex therapy techniques. Discussion will include how to conduct a thorough sexual history with attention to the development of early attachment issues that impact adult sexual relating. Case examples will be included.
Margaret Nichols, Ph.D.
Intimacy and Sex in Same-Sex Relationships: What We Can All Learn from Lesbian and Gay Relationships.
The last decade or so has seen a proliferation of research comparing gay, lesbian, and mixed-sex couples, perhaps spurred by the marriage equality movement. Some of this research has replicated the groundbreaking work done by Pepper Schwartz and Philip Blumberg in the early ‘80’s, some has come from John Gottman’s “Love Lab,” and some has compared sexual behavior, attitudes, and functioning.
This research has revealed that while there are many similarities between same and mixed sex couples, there are some startling differences. The ways that gay and lesbian couples express intimacy, resolve conflict, share parenting, and practice sex and sexual fidelity are described and explained. Finally, the implications of research findings for all couples are discussed, emphasizing how mixed sex couples can use these findings to enhance their sex lives and overall relationship health.
Rebecca Jorgensen, Ph.D.
Stronger Together: Strengthening Recovery of Compulsive Sexual Behavior Through Couple Therapy.
Compulsive Sexual Behavior, commonly referred to as ‘sexual addiction,’ will be reviewed as an intimacy disorder resulting from failed attachment. Sexual addiction has profound negative effects on the addict as well as the partner. Affective neuroscience combined with attachment theory allows for a new understanding of sexual addiction. The utilization of secretive sexual behavior forms the creation of a counterfeit attachment due to the high neurobiological and affective state reproduction that mimics the coregulatory effect of secure attachment. This new understanding supports the utilization of EFT couple treatment as the primary treatment modality in addiction recovery and sobriety maintenance. The implications are that couple treatment will improve the prognosis of sexual addiction recovery, provide a buffer against future relapse, and mitigate the initial craving for co-regulation, improving emotional regulation and cognitive functioning. Educational criteria will be met through the use of didactic instruction, video examples, and practice exercises.
This presentation will cover:
Marty Klein, PhD
The Therapist's Sexual Values--And How They Shape Diagnosis & Treatment
Most therapists grew up and live in a world that is conflicted about sexuality. We should therefore expect that we have internalized sex-negative values without realizing it.
As a result, many of us embrace assumptions about sexuality that include gender stereotypes, moralisms, misinformation, a focus on normality, and an emphasis on harm-reduction. When our assumptions about sex match our patients’ assumptions about sex, it becomes almost impossible to see how their assumptions drive their sexual and relationship problems. Unintentionally, we collude with patient's disempowerment around sexuality, leading to client drop-outs and treatment failures.
Our values become part of the patient’s problem.
So how do we manifest our principles of empathy and objectivity when the sexual content is challenging for us? How do we support both partners in a couple when we disapprove of the behavior or desires of one of them? In this talk we’ll examine—and challenge—common therapeutic approaches, including:
This workshop will suggest a model for becoming more comfortable and nonjudgmental about our patients’ (and perhaps our own) sexuality—allowing us to identify and challenge patients’ beliefs more effectively. After all, sex is more than a behavior—it’s an idea.
Designing sex therapy interventions that are consistent with an attachment-based couples therapy
Moderated by Ian Kerner, Ph.D.
Panel Discussion with Suzanne Iasenza, Rebecca Jorgensen, Marty Klein, and Margaret Nichols