The physiotherapist in a psychosexual consultation
Psychosexual medicine is the application of psychosomatic medicine to sexual disorders. Emotional factors are not always experienced at a conscious level, and may present as physical problems in patients. Psychosexual medicine is a brief form of therapy, and the use of psychodynamic principles within a consultation may create a moment of awareness for the patient that can result in understanding and change. Physiotherapy, which was established as a profession in 1894, involves the creation of a therapeutic alliance between the patient and the physiotherapist, who
work together to achieve rehabilitation and restoration of function. The key skills of listening, observation and touch are used to develop a trusting and empathetic consultation. Physiotherapists working in the field of pelvic health in the broadest sense, which includes women’s and men’s health, and pelvic floor dysfunction, routinely conduct examinations and physical assessments that require a high level of trust and intimacy. An understanding of and further training in psychosexual medicine can help physiotherapists to use the consultation and examination to raise
patients’ awareness of the emotional factors if they present with a sexual problem or reveal one over the course of the conversation. This insight may help patients to acknowledge hitherto unexpressed emotions, and begin the process of change and health acquisition.
Keywords: physiotherapists, psychosexual medicine, therapeutic relationship, touch.