The topic of sexuality within the therapeutic encounter : the therapists experience and viewpoint

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McArdle, Siobhan
Issue Date
MA in Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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This research study seeks to explore psychotherapists’ management of the topic of sexuality in the therapeutic dyad. Specific interest is directed toward the real, authentic and ‘felt’ experiences of the psychotherapist in working with this topic in the therapeutic relationship. Much of the existing research regarding the clinicians’ perspective on the subject of sex and sexuality in the counselling room is quantitative in nature. Qualitative data on this topic is finite. As such, a gap emerges in the research. This dissertation goes somewhat towards addressing that gap by conducting a qualitative study using the insight of five practicing clinicians. The methodology used is semi-structured interviews. The data is codified and collated into a thematic analysis. The focal points of interest gleaned in the existing and current research include the therapist’s training, supervision, transgressions, erotic transference, attitudes, morals beliefs and comfort levels in managing this delicate topic with clients. However, this study found that early formation of attitudes and beliefs in addition to the different disciplines of psychotherapy that therapists were trained in significantly influences their management of sexuality in the therapy room. Author keywords: Therapist, experience, erotic transference, values, beliefs, attitudes