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Revalidating Sexuality for Couples with Chronic Pain and Illness

  • Friday, May 03, 2019
  • 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
  • Sunrise Senior Living 8300 Burdette Road | 7th Floor Activity Room| Bethesda , MD 20817


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Presenter: Melvin Lee Phillips, Jr., Ed.D., LCSW-C., LICSW, LCSW, CSAC |

Category 1 | 3 CEUs

Description: Individuals with chronic pain and illness can constantly experience emotional distress. It can also affect a person's ability to engage in occupational, social and recreational activities. Chronic pain and illness causes muscle tension, limited mobility, fatigue, and creates changes in appetite and sleep. Working with couples who experience problems related to chronic pain and illness may have a difficult time being sexually intimate. This workshop will provide graduate and independent clinical level practitioners with the tools on how to assess for pain and identify the skills clinicians can use in couples sex therapy to assist in processing the couples emotions centered on chronic pain and illness. This workshop will teach clinicians on how integrate various psychotherapy interventions used for pain management. Detailed descriptions will be presented on desire, arousal, and sexual dysfunction associated with chronic pain and illness, including the myths associated with chronic pain, illness and sex. The workshop will provide and engage attendees with treatment modalities used with couples in the treatment setting. This will include sex therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness and acceptance and commitment therapy.


By the conclusion of the class, participants should be able to understand the sexual response cycle, identify and understand the myths associated with chronic pain, illness and sex, identify ways to assess for chronic pain, describe the modalities in treating chronic pain and illness, and how to revalidate sexual intimacy with the couples that are affected with chronic pain and illness.


9:00am-9:30am- Identify the myths associated with chronic pain, illness and sex

9:30am-10:30am-Identify and understand the sexual response cycle

10:30am-10:45am- Break

10:45am-11:45am- Identifying the components in assessing for chronic pain

11:45am-12:15pm: Revalidating sexual intimacy with the couple

Recommended Reading

Arnold, L.M., Choy, E., Clauw, D., Goldenberg, D. L., Harris, R. E., Helfendsten, M., Jenson, T., Noguchi, Silverman, S., Ushida, T., and Wang, G., (2016). Fibromyalgia and chronic pain syndromes Pain 32(9), 737-746

Binik, Yitzchak M. and Hall, Kathryn, editors. The Principles and Practice of Sex Therapy, 5th Edition. New York: Guildford Press, 2014. An updated version of the diagnosis and treatment of sex therapy, by leading authorities in the field.

Eccleston, C., Morely, S. J., and Williams, C. (2013). Psychological approaches to chronic pain management: Evidence and challenges. British Journal of Anaesthesia, 111(59) 59-63.

Howard, H.H.(2012). Sexual adjustment counseling for women with chronic pelvic pain. JOGNN, 41, 692-702.

Kaplan, Helen Singer. The Illustrated Manual of Sex Therapy. Florence, Kentucky: Routledge Press, 1988. Reviews the nature and causes of male and female sexual dysfunctions, and describes and portrays the various erotic techniques and exercises employed in sex therapy.

Kaufman, M.D., Silverberg, C., Odette, F. (2007). The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability: For all of us who live with disabilities, chronic pain and illness.

Klein, Marty. Sexual Intelligence. California: Harper Collins, 2012. A guide to remove the obsession with sexual normalcy and teach people how to bring the focus back to intimacy.

Nagowski, Emily. Come as You Are. NY: Simon and Shuster, 2015. Research that normalizes and enhances female sexuality.

Schlesinger, L. (1996). Chronic pain, intimacy, and sexuality: A

qualitative study of women who live with pain. Journal of Sex Research, 33(3), 249-256.

Steinke, E. (2013). Sexuality and Chronic Illness. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 39(11), 18-27.
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