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Treatment of sexual dysfunction in the context of marital and couple therapy

12 December 2003


The current study was a survey of mental health practitioners' treatment of sexual dysfunction in the context of marital/couple therapy. Participants consisted of 35 mental health practitioners in the state of Oregon who work with couples. A 5-page survey was sent to participants via email to gather information about types of sexual dysfunctions treated, interventions used, and order of treatment progression. The most common sexual dysfunctions reported were sexual desire discrepancy problems, dissatisfaction without a specific disorder, and specific sexual desire dysfunction. Most commonly reported treatments were cognitive-behavioral, systems, and bibliotherapy. Respondents with special training in sexuality and/or sex therapy reported beginning treatment with a focus on relationship issues only 47% of the time, while those without special training began treatment focusing on relationship issues 62%of the time. Moreover, those with special training reported that they first focused on the specific sexual complaint on average 20% of the time, versus an average of only 10% of the time as reported by those without special training. Differences may exist in practitioners based upon specialized training and education in areas of sexuality and/or sex therapy.


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