Posted on July 7th, 2024 in Therapy by

Debunking Sex Therapy Myths

Sex therapy is often misunderstood, surrounded by myths and misconceptions that can deter people from seeking help. Whether you’re experiencing sexual issues or simply looking to enhance your intimacy and relationship satisfaction, understanding the truths about sex therapy can be enlightening and empowering. Here, we will be debunking sex therapy myths and highlight the importance of choosing a certified professional.

Myth 1: Sex Therapy is Only for People with Serious Sexual Problems

Reality: Sex therapy is for anyone interested in improving their sexual health and intimacy, regardless of the severity of their issues. While it’s true that sex therapists often work with individuals and couples facing significant challenges, they also support those seeking to enhance their sexual experiences, better understand their desires, or navigate changes in their sexual relationships. From improving communication about sexual needs to exploring new dimensions of intimacy, sex therapy can benefit a wide range of clients.

Myth 2: All Sex Therapists are the Same

Reality: This myth can be particularly misleading and potentially harmful. The term “sex therapist” isn’t regulated, meaning anyone can call themselves a sex therapist without specialized training. However, certified sex therapists, especially those certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT), have completed rigorous training in human sexuality. This certification ensures they are well-equipped to address various sexual issues and distinguish between normal and abnormal sexual behavior, which may be influenced by medical or mental health conditions. AASECT-certified therapists undergo extensive education and ongoing professional development, making them the gold standard in the field.

Myth 3: Sex Therapy is Just About Sex

Reality: While sex is a primary focus, sex therapy often addresses a wide array of emotional, psychological, and relational factors that influence sexual health and intimacy. Issues such as anxiety, depression, trauma, relationship dynamics, and communication challenges frequently arise in sessions. A certified sex therapist helps clients explore these areas, offering strategies to enhance overall well-being and intimacy beyond the physical aspects of sex.

Myth 4: Sex Therapy Involves Physical Contact

Reality: Sex therapy is a talk-based therapy. There is no physical contact or sexual activity between the therapist and the client during sessions. Instead, sessions focus on open dialogue, education, and developing strategies to improve sexual health and relationships. The safe, professional environment allows clients to discuss their concerns and goals without fear of judgment or inappropriate behavior.

Myth 5: You Need a Medical Problem to See a Sex Therapist

Reality: Sex therapy isn’t limited to addressing medical or physical issues. It also encompasses emotional and psychological aspects of sexual well-being, including relationship dynamics, communication, self-esteem, and sexual identity. Whether dealing with stress, relationship conflicts, or exploring alternative relationship styles, sex therapy can provide valuable support and guidance.

Myth 6: Sex Therapists Only See Clients with Sexual Issues

Reality: Sex therapists also work with individuals and couples exploring alternative relationship styles and those with sexual interests outside societal norms. This includes consensually non-monogamous relationships, polyamorous arrangements, kink-related interests, and LGBTQIA+ concerns. Certified sex therapists can help clients understand and accept their sexual interests, maintain physical and sexual safety in potentially risky situations, and determine the best relationship styles for their needs.

Myth 7: Sex Therapy Can Fix Any Sexual Issue

Reality: While sex therapy can address many issues, it is not a guaranteed fix for every problem. Some sexual issues may require a combination of medical, psychological, and relational interventions. A certified sex therapist can work collaboratively with other healthcare providers to create a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to each client’s unique needs.

Choosing the Right Sex Therapist

Given the unregulated use of the term “sex therapist,” it’s crucial to choose a certified professional. AASECT certification is a mark of excellence, indicating that the therapist has met high standards of education and training in human sexuality. This certification provides clients with confidence that they are working with a knowledgeable and ethical professional.

When selecting a sex therapist, consider the following:

1. Credentials: Look for AASECT certification or certification from other reputable organizations.
2. Experience: Seek a therapist with experience addressing your specific concerns or interests.
3. Comfort: Choose someone with whom you feel comfortable discussing intimate topics.
4. Approach: Ensure their therapeutic approach aligns with your values and goals.

Finding Support With Northside Mental Health

In conclusion, sex therapy is a valuable resource for anyone looking to enhance their sexual health and intimacy. By debunking common myths and emphasizing the importance of certification, we hope to encourage more individuals to seek the support they need. Whether facing significant challenges or simply looking to explore new dimensions of your sexuality, a certified sex therapist can provide the guidance and support necessary for a fulfilling and healthy sexual life.

For those seeking professional help, Northside Mental Health offers experienced and certified sex therapists who can assist you in navigating your sexual health and relationship needs with compassion and expertise. Reach out to Northside Mental Health to start your journey towards better sexual health and intimacy here today!

Emotional abuse, especially from narcissistic individuals, can leave deep scars that impact self-esteem, trust, and overall mental health. Recognizing the signs of this abuse and understanding how to navigate the healing journey are essential steps toward reclaiming your life and well-being. Let’s take a deep dive into navigating healing from narcissistic and emotional abuse:

Understanding Narcissistic and Emotional Abuse

Narcissistic abuse is a form of emotional abuse perpetrated by individuals with antagonistic or narcissistic personalities. These individuals may or may not have Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), however, their diagnosis (or non-diagnosis) is not what is important. What matters is how the abuse you are experiencing is affecting your life and well-being. Victims of narcissistic abuse frequently experience gaslighting, where their reality is distorted, leading them to doubt their perceptions and feelings rather than the actual issue at hand. Emotional abuse can manifest in various forms, including verbal assaults, constant criticism, controlling behaviors, and isolation. The impact of such abuse is quite extreme, often resulting in anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a diminished sense of self-worth and self-trust, an inability to trust others, little to no confidence, and many other mental and physical health concerns. Many people don’t even realize how their physical health is being affected. Some people experience things such as sleep disturbances, high blood pressure, and auto-immune conditions.

The Impact of Narcissistic and Emotional Abuse

The aftermath of narcissistic and emotional abuse can be devastating on anyone. Victims often struggle with feelings of shame, guilt, confidence and confusion. Those who were in a relationship with a narcissist may find it difficult to trust others or themselves in the aftermath. Their self-esteem is also commonly severely damaged from dealing with the many negative narcissism and emotional abuse. The long-term effects can include difficulty forming healthy relationships, persistent fear or anxiety, and a permeating sense of unworthiness. Understanding the impact of this abuse is crucial in validating your experiences and recognizing the need for professional help. Healing from narcissistic and emotional abuse is not about erasing the past but rather, practicing radical acceptance and learning to navigate life in a way that prioritizes your well-being. A therapist who has experience working with individuals who have been affected by this type of abuse is crucial in the process of healing.

Steps to Healing

Through the process of counseling, a safe and supportive environment is created to aid in healing from narcissistic and emotional abuse. Working with a therapist who will validate your experience is a crucial first step in beginning to understand and heal your emotional scars. Learning how to establish and maintain healthy boundaries is another critical step. Establishing boundaries helps protect yourself from further abuse. This may involve limiting or cutting off contact with the abuser and learning to say no without guilt. With a therapist’s help developing and implementing these boundaries effectively can be more easily achieved. Emotional abuse often erodes self-esteem, so engaging in activities that promote self-worth and confidence, and surrounding yourself with supportive and positive people who affirm your value, are essential. Therapeutic exercises such as affirmations and self-compassion practices can also aid in rebuilding your self-esteem.

Northside Mental Health

Navigating healing from narcissistic and emotional abuse is a journey that requires patience, self-compassion, and professional support. It involves acknowledging the abuse, seeking help, setting boundaries, and rebuilding self-esteem. Northside Mental Health is dedicated to supporting individuals on this path to recovery. With the right help and resources, you can navigate this challenging journey and emerge stronger, more resilient, and empowered to live a life free from the shadows of abuse. Click HERE to contact Northside Mental Health today!

Posted on April 20th, 2023 in Codependency by

By Lindsey Goergen, LMHCA, NCC

You’ve heard the term “codependency”.  But what does it really mean and how does it affect your life?  Codependency is a very complex and difficult issue that affects many people in different ways. It is usually characterized by individuals who have an excessive emotional or psychological dependence on another person, often to the point of sacrificing their own needs and wants in order to please or accommodate that person.

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by Lauren Harding, Eating Recovery Coach and Counseling Intern

The holiday season can bring a significant amount of joy; however, it also presents its fair share of challenges. There is an expectation that the next few months are the best time of the year, which can be especially daunting for those who struggle with mental health issues.

For individuals who struggle with eating disorders or disordered eating, the holidays pose unique difficulties. Between the strong emphasis on food, diet talk, and that uncle who comments on your weight each year, the holiday season may be something that you are dreading. The “busy-ness” of this time of year, lack of routine, social experiences, and painful memories can further exacerbate disordered eating, anxiety, or depressive symptoms.

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By Kate Fisch, LCSW

Because we stereotype individuals suffering with an eating disorder as teenage girls, adolescent boys with eating disorders often go overlooked.  This is further exacerbated by the fact that eating disorder commonly manifest differently in boys than they do in girls.  Typically, eating disordered girls describe an obsession with being thin and an irrational fear of gaining weight.  Indeed, eating disordered boys can also have similar focus but often their eating disordered goals are to increase muscle and achieve a more “chiseled” physique. This is sometimes referred to as “reverse anorexia” or “bigorexia.”  A physical “façade” reinforced by our sociocultural messages of masculinity.

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By Lauren Harding, Eating Recovery Coach

Often in eating disorder treatment, the eating disorder is interpreted as some outside entity, external from the individual struggling with an eating disorder. I view the eating disorder self a little bit differently. An old Cherokee Indian legend illustrates the most important battle of our lives between the good wolf and bad wolf inside of us. The wolf that ultimately wins is the one that we choose to feed. YOU are the one who has the power to either strengthen the eating disorder self or to defeat the eating disorder self, because the eating disorder is a part of YOU. You were born with a healthy core self that has been taken over by the eating disorder self over time. Clients typically describe the eating disorder self as a “monster that takes over” or the “demon inside of them”, I refer to the eating disorder self as ED- the abusive partner. The abusive partner, although toxic provides, a sense of stability for you. It promises a better future if you listen to it. It lures you in but continues to hurt you, while telling you that it will get better if you just stay. The longer you stay with an abusive partner, the stronger the abusive partner becomes. And ultimately, it is you that has the power to say goodbye to that abusive partner inside of you.

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By Lauren Harding, Recovery Coach

Disordered eating is NOT “less serious” than an eating disorder. And BOTH are deserving of support and treatment. Eating disorders are a pattern of behavioral, physical and psychological signs and symptoms that fit into the specific criteria outlined by the DSM. Disordered eating is a pattern of behavioral, physical and psychological signs and symptoms that do not clearly fit into a diagnosis outlined in the DSM. Disordered eating may be harder to detect due to a society that is obsessed with the pursuit of “wellness” and that celebrates disordered eating behaviors.

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By Lauren Harding, Recovery Coach

Warmer weather and the coming of summer often exacerbate worries about food and our bodies. This is especially challenging for those who are struggling with an eating disorder or who are in recovery. For many of these individuals wearing more revealing clothing such as shorts, sleeveless tops, or swimming suits can be a source of anxiety.  Avoidance tends to be the initial response when approaching summer. Unfortunately, advertisers don’t recognize the impact terms like the “summer body” can have on someone’s perception of themselves.

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By Lauren Harding, Eating Recovery Coach

The Facts

Dieting is linked to disordered eating attitudes and behaviors. Research shows that girls who diet are seven to eight times more likely to develop an eating disorder compared to those who do not diet. Furthermore, cross-cultural studies reveal an increase in eating disorders with an increase of urbanization. In Fiji, before television, dieting did not exist and there were no eating disorders. After television was introduced, Fijian women were for the first-time dieting, reportedly, as a way to “gain status”. Within 3 years 11% of these women reported vomiting in order to lose weight. “Without our cultural preoccupation with dieting, there would be no epidemic of eating disorders” (Gordon, 2000). An estimated 45 million Americans go on a diet each year, and Americans spend $33 billion each year on weight loss products. In 2017 the US dieting industry alone was worth $68.2 billion dollars. Yet, nearly two-thirds of Americans are classified as “obese”. With the increase of western civilization and dieting, there is also an increase of “obesity” and of eating disorders.

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Posted on February 15th, 2021 in Communication, Parenting by

Original article by Jennifer Thompson from Indy’s Child: 

Happy.  Angry.  Frustrated.  Scared.  Excited.  These are just a few of the many emotions that cab be felt in a day.  It isn’t always easy to identify and articulate how we are feeling, and frustrations can build the more we feel misunderstood.  This can be ever more so for children with special needs.

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