When the underlying cause of sexual dysfunction is found to be physical, then your doctor will provide the required treatment or arrange specialist involvement for this purpose. This will also be the case when the underlying cause is decided to be psychological, or there are significant psychological effects resulting from a dysfunction.
A thorough medical examination is usually made, if this has not already been done by your own doctor. Background history will be taken from you in order for a full assessment of your situation to be made and it is on the basis of the information gathered that a suitable treatment plan will be made up for you.
There is a wide range of therapies which have been developed or adapted specifically to deal with sexual dysfunction and its emotional side-effects. Although some therapists may confine themselves to only one particular method of treatment, others are more likely to incorporate aspects of different therapies where they feel it necessary.
They may change approach during therapy if they find this to be required, or they may even refer you on to a different type of therapist. Therapy can consist of the long and involved process of self-exploration that is called psychoanalysis, but this is unlikely to be the case in most instances. More often than not, it will include elements of behaviour and cognitive therapies and psychotherapy, perhaps under the general title of Psycho-sexual or Sex Therapy. Behaviour therapy tends to target specific learned behaviours to change these with specially developed techniques such as desensitisation or relaxation. Cognitive therapy and psychotherapy are more directed towards the exploration and explanation of behaviour by discussion, with intervention based upon what is uncovered in the process.
Exploration of underlying issues might be undertaken on an individual basis or with a partner, since there are usually relationship difficulties involved, but you don’t have to be married to use these services. Working within groups can also be helpful under the supervision of a professional worker and this approach may be considered if appropriate. Self support groups may prove useful where common issues are explored, but these tend not to be guided by a professional.
The therapist to whom you might be referred can be anyone who has undergone officially recognised training, and may be a psycho-sexual therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, or other trained counsellor. If you are referred to a therapist by your doctor you can be sure that their credentials and capabilities have been examined and found appropriate. If you seek out private therapy, then you should ensure that the therapist you see is qualified to provide the treatment being given.
Some difficulties are more responsive to one form of treatment than others. For example, premature ejaculation might be treated using behavioural modification techniques while others such as relationship issues are more amenable to counselling. A therapist will determine what is the most suitable approach for the treatment of an individual and undertake to have it provided. Happily, most psychology-based treatments are successful to some degree if not completely so, and therefore should not be automatically dismissed if offered to you.
Therapies do tend to require a lot of involvement and commitment – far more than many medical treatments might, but the effects can be surprisingly beneficial generally and not simply for your condition. You may be required to expand your knowledge of the body’s physiology, develop assertiveness or improve your communication skills. It is important to realise that psychological difficulties can be just as disabling as physical difficulties. Although it is probably true that you will receive more sympathy and help from people generally for a broken leg than for a “broken” emotion, you will certainly receive understanding and support from those professionals who provide therapy to you.