About this training
Overview / aims
Out of control sexual behaviour, including the excessive use of pornography, can be highly distressing and lead to secondary harmful consequences for health, relationships, work and emotional well-being. Nevertheless, a traditional addictions model seems ill suited to the task of helping clients express their sexual desire in ways that enrich rather than diminish their sexual and emotional health. CAT offers us many useful ways of mobilising our client’s resources to aid their understanding of the sexual, emotional and relational drivers behind their patterns of sexual behaviour that are limiting or harming them in some way. CAT can also empower clients to make new choices in how they connect with and express their sexual desire.
Working with out of control sexual behaviour is not without its challenges, however. Therapists need to feel confident to talk about sex and be prepared to adapt the CAT model by incorporating approaches from harm minimisation and motivational interviewing when needed. In addition, therapists need to be able to respond to the needs of gay clients who may be distressed by their use of sex and drugs; “Chemsex” as is commonly known. Fundamentally, interventions need to provide a space where sexual expression that is affirming and beneficial to emotional well-being can be nurtured, as much as they need to empower clients to find exits from patterns of sexual behaviour that harm them.
Drawing on clinical material throughout, this workshop covers the principal issues to consider through the stages of assessment, formulation, and intervention. It will highlight the key challenges and pitfalls to avoid during these stages when working with out of control sexual behaviour. Coverage will be given to the specific issues to consider when working with distress associated with “Chemsex” in gay men.
Provide participants with the key questions to consider during assessment, including when to decide to incorporate harm minimisation strategies at an early stage to reduce the risks associated with sexually transmitted infections and drug use.
Outline ways to increase motivation and reduce ambivalence towards change at an early stage.
Identify the common emotional, relational, and behavioural factors involved in out of control sexual behaviour, and how they can be incorporated within formulations.
Suggest strategies for addressing the common therapy interfering behaviours that appear during this kind of work.
Give examples of common relational themes that arise during therapy such as loneliness and suggest ideas of how to intervene.
Facilitate reflection on how to start the process of helping your clients develop an enjoyable and affirming relationship with their sexual desire, free of shame, enabling clients to express their sexual desires in a way that does not limit or harm them.
This is relevant to the following groups:
This workshop is aimed at CAT therapists and trainees, clinical/counselling psychologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists and counsellors who wish to develop their skills in this area of work and/ or deepen their relational understandings of the issues relevant to this client group.
Robert Watson is a Clinical Psychologist with 17 years’ experience in Sexual Health and has extensive experience in public and private settings working with clients with complex psychological presentations. He is an accredited CAT therapist and supervisor and is the vice-chair of ACAT. He has been working with clients with out of control sexual behavior, including gay men affected by “Chemsex” problems since the beginning of his CAT practice. He has published academic articles and presented at ACAT conferences on the issue of Out of Control Sexual Behaviour.