As a counsellor specialising in sexual and relationship issues one would think that I hear all sorts of outrageous stories about my clients’ sexual experiences. And I do. Some would think it’s the dream job; talking about sex all day- what more could I want? And, well, yes it’s true, it is my dream job and I love it. But aside from all of this I also hear endless stories about individuals and couples that are looking for more in aspects of their lives that don’t seem to have anything to do with sex. They don’t just come to sessions wanting to heat things up in the bedroom but they often talk about issues that go much deeper.
Believe it or not a lot of the work I do involves the exploration of issues that go right to the core of my clients’ sense of existence on this earth. Deep huh? Yep. And they occur on multiple levels. The first level is clients’ dreams for their romantic relationships such as wanting a richer and deeper sexual connection with their partner, improving intimacy and exploring with their partner. The second level involves deeply personal issues such as the development of self-esteem, self-exploration (in whatever form that may take!), greater consciousness, spirituality, assertiveness skills, the search for happiness and even finding inner peace. And the third level deals with life skills and challenges such as reaching financial security, finding the dream job, achieving a balanced lifestyle, good health, pursuing studies, hobbies, travel and friendships. It’s a lot to deal with and I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all struggled with some, if not all of these issues in our lives.
What I’ve found is that for many of my clients (and myself included!) to feel truly empowered, inspired and creative in their sex lives they often need to work on many of the aspects just described. I’ll give you an example. John presents for counselling with erectile dysfunction. His wife complains that they don’t have sex any more and even when they try he struggles with his erections. Hmmm…seems a simple case of Erectile Dysfunction. But when I dig a little deeper, John reveals that he has been working 60-hour weeks in the same job for 15 years. When asked why he keeps doing it he answers “because, well, what else is there to do?” 6 months ago he was diagnosed with depression and his doctor warned him that if he didn’t change his eating and exercise habits he would become a candidate for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. After some time working with John and his wife, he was able to feel strong enough to change his work schedule, invest in his health, make more time for his family and have a healthier, more fulfilling and connected sexual and relationship with his wife. It took some time and lots of dedication, but John is a happier man for it now.
We all have room to grow, evolve and become more empowered, inspired and creative.