Talking to a Fertility Counsellor About Fertility & Infertility Problems

Talking to a Fertility Counsellor About Fertility & Infertility Problems
As a fertility counsellor, I see all types of clients who come to talk about their fertility and infertility problems. Counselling is for anyone, male or female who would like to talk in confidence about any aspect of their fertility. Clients may come to therapy for just a few sessions to talk things through while others choose to attend more regularly depending on their circumstances.

Fertility counsellors provide professional experienced therapeutic support to women, men and couples who are affected by potential and existing infertility problems. They are also experienced in working through grief and loss, relationships problems and the many life circumstances which bring clients into therapy. Many of us are familiar with hearing about couples who are having difficulty conceiving or who are going through IVF treatment.

The reality is that there is a broad range of reasons clients come to talk about fertility, it is not just for couples who are having difficulty conceiving.

Therapy can be beneficial for anyone who would like to talk openly and honestly about their fertility plans or fears for the future at any stage. Getting support and guidance on lifestyle changes, reducing stress and addressing relationship problems ahead of getting pregnant is common. These days there is a range of options to contemplate when it comes to preparing and planning for a child depending on the circumstances. It can be difficult to talk openly about these options with family and friends. Natural conception, IVF, surrogacy, adoption, fostering and choosing not to have children are all choices that can be talked through with your therapist.

Other common reasons clients come to fertility counselling are related to physical, reproductive, psychological and sexual problems. Social factors such as career, relationship breakdown and the absence of a committed relationship also can have a direct effect on planning a family. Each person’s circumstances are unique to them and their relationship. Similarly, everyone copes and deals differently with life’s challenges particularly in a relationship where both people are trying to support each other. Understanding how to cope better and look after yourself with the support and guidance of a therapist can help make life feel less complicated.

Women may have a concern about fertility and having a child at any stage. This concern can come long before they are even ready to consider getting pregnant. This anticipatory worry can be linked to all types of life experiences such as relationships status, sexuality, sexual abuse, fear of pregnancy or sexual dysfunction i.e. vaginismus. For women who are having difficulty conceiving or staying pregnant, primary or secondary infertility is often an ongoing worry, something which they are trying to navigate through with little adequate support. The total loss of fertility on either side of a relationship may happen completely unexpectedly due to a sudden illness or accident and is often deeply traumatic and distressing.  

Infertility counselling also supports women who are experiencing chronic medical conditions, reproductive surgery, premature menopause and disability which may result in fertility complications. Coming to terms with the consequences of any of these conditions with the support of a therapist over time can be part of a healing and recovery process.    

Infertility often puts a natural strain on the strongest of relationships. Many couples feel that these challenges help to bring them closer together and give their relationship a deeper meaning. At the same time, they each may experience stress, tension, isolation and a range of complicated mixed emotions. Learning how to positively support and understand each other is important to the well-being of both individuals who will invariably be experiencing different things at different stages. Therapy can help couples to feel supported together and learn how to be emotionally more supportive to each other.

Parents, family, friends and even co-workers can be effected by infertility. Being able to talk freely in therapy about how best to deal with these extended relationships and situations can help to reduce stress and tension. Fertility counsellors are familiar with the many challenges that come with fertility problems and are there to help you through.  

If you or your partner are effected by any of the problems mentioned in this article or are concerned about anything relating to fertility then talk to your GP or local Fertility Counsellor. You can book an appointment online and find out more about fertility counselling and fertility reflexology in Co. Kildare, Ireland at www.orlaghgahan.ie 

The National Infertility Support and Information Group provide support meetings and information to anyone experiencing infertility in Ireland.

The British Infertility Counselling Association has helpful articles, information and links on their website and on all social media platforms.  

  

How Talking to a Sex Therapist Can Help With Erectile Dysfunction

How Talking to a Sex Therapist Can Help With Erectile Dysfunction

Sex and intimacy are an important part of sexual well-being and relationship health. Men can be affected by a range of conditions which may impact their sexual health and overall mental and emotional health and talking erectile dysfunction early is important.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a sexual dysfunction defined as the inability to maintain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse. Men may experience mild to moderate erectile dysfunction or complete erectile dysfunction and other problems associated with sexual performance. The prevalence of ED increases with age and may be symptomatic of other medical conditions such as diabetes, heart conditions and chronic stress. Research suggests prevalence may be as high as 15% in some countries. Seeking professional help early is important. If you are worried about erectile dysfunction the first step is to talk to your GP or a medical professional to rule out any potential health conditions.  The second step may be to talk to a professional sex therapist who can help you come to terms with the condition in a positive way.

There are a range of reasons a male may experience ED. These can include lifestyle, physical health, psychosexual problems, hormonal imbalance, health conditions, stress, prostate conditions, surgery, childhood trauma and relationship problems. Excessive use of pornography and drug abuse has also been linked to mild to moderate ED. Some men may experience ED causing difficulty climaxing with a partner but they may have no problem climaxing alone through masturbating.

In my experience as a Sex and Relationship Psychotherapist working with men, women and couples with sexual issues there is always a combination of factors causing sexual problems which at first appear unclear. Through the process of therapy these factors become more evident, allowing the client to make conscious and informed decisions about the next steps to take.

Experiencing ED particularly over a longer period can be distressing and traumatic effecting a man’s sense of masculinity, self-esteem and overall confidence. For some men, the fear and anxiety associated with sexual performance can prevent them from dating altogether ruling out the potential for secure and loving healthy relationships.

Erectile dysfunction can be the result of treatment and surgery following a diagnosis of prostate cancer. It can be beneficial for men and couples who are affected by a prostate cancer diagnosis to talk to an experienced therapist to help them adjust to the condition together. Experiencing ED does not have to mean the end of a couple’s sex life. It often means however that they need to redefine their association of sex as being focused on penetration and more towards a focus of experiencing pleasure, touch, foreplay, sensuality, arousal and a deeper intimate connection together.

Sexual problems can feel difficult and embarrassing to talk about but that can change over time the more you talk through problems with a therapist. It is important not to let fear of talking about any condition prevent you from getting the right type of help.

The good news is that there are a number of health professionals who have expertise and training specifically in sexual problems called Sex Therapists, Psychosexual Therapists or Sex & Relationship Psychotherapists.

Talking to a therapist can help in a number of ways to deal with ED.  They are professionally trained to help you talk more openly about sexual problems by making you feel comfortable and supported. Therapists guide clients through difficult conversations and work towards helping them come to terms with the condition. Therapy for ED may include completing an assessment questionnaire to understand the level of ED and explores the history and potential causes for the condition. Once the client has gained some insight into the reasons behind their condition therapy focuses on intervention, adjustment and recovery.

Take the time to find the right therapist for you and work through your problem to rule out potential causes and identify factors. Therapeutically your therapist should be focusing on many levels such as lifestyle, sex and intimacy, emotional health and relationship healing.

It may take a number of sessions to properly assess the various factors and history of the sexual problem before any intervention is discussed. I always invite partners to engage in therapy for sexual problems to discuss the relationship and help the couple come together to support each other in a positive way. Dealing with sexual problems often means addressing the impact on both people in the relationship and working out how they can adjust together.  I find many couples I work with never learned to talk openly about sex or intimacy together. When one partner opens up in a relationship it makes it more acceptable for both partners to talk more about their intimate relationship leading to an enhanced connection together.

An important part of therapy for ED is helping men of all ages to regain their confidence, self-esteem and masculinity and start to feel good about themselves again.

 

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