- Sexual Attachment Cycle
- Sexual Pursuers and Withdrawers
- Bringing up Sex
- Double Tango Around Sexuality
- Four sexual issues: ED, PE, Anorgasmia, Low Libido
When: Friday, April 21, 9am – 5pm
Presenter: Laurie Watson
Early-bird Rate: $250 (before February 17, 2023)
Equity Rate: click for information
6 NBCC approved CE hours
Presenter: Laurie Watson, PhD in Sexology, LMFT, AASECT certified sex therapist, EFT certified therapist
She is the co-host of the popular podcast Foreplay – Couples and Sex Therapy with 10 million downloads, author of Wanting Sex Again: How to Rediscover Desire and Heal a Sexless Marriage and blogger for Psychology Today in Married and Still Doing It. Passionate about helping therapists feel at ease working in the sexual attachment cycle, Laurie also directs two North Carolina clinics Awakenings Center and Counseling Near Me where she has a diverse staff of 33 clinicians trained in sex therapy and completed Core Skills in EFT.
The Sexual Attachment Cycle
Attachment theory demonstrates that there are three behavioral cycles in a romantic relationship: emotional, sexual, and caretaking. Together, they form the bond between the partners. Sex particularly comprises the excitement and vitality in a romantic relationship. Without it, the relationship can easily fall into jeopardy. In fact, 59 percent of divorces are attributed to sexual difficulties (Scott, Rhoades, Stanley, Allen, & Markman, 2013). Partners who experience sexual difficulties may even wonder if they’re loved or in love, or be tempted to seek affairs. The power of sex in a relationship isn’t simply body parts and physiology; it’s a force of attachment. Therapists need to become versatile in dealing with the cycles simultaneously.
Pursuit and Withdrawal Cycles
In the sexual cycle, likewise, one partner might be pushing for more sexual intensity, variety or frequency. Unfortunately, they often inadvertently send a message to their partner that they’re failing or not good enough in bed. In response to the perceived crowding and criticism, the withdrawing sexual partner may inhibit their sexual desire and dismiss their own sexual needs. With less sexual availability, the pursuer becomes anxiously preoccupied with sex and vigilant about signs of rejection. Insecurities about their own attractiveness might fuel their need for proof of their value. In the growing tension the withdrawer tries to keep things calm and avoid conflict by passively forgetting their partner’s requests or evading at bedtime. Or they might push away by disparaging their partner’s sexual needs, saying things like, “all you want is sex.” Strangled in this tug-of-war, the couple’s sexual renewal of joy, pleasure, and physical intimacy is lost.
What Should Therapists Do?
First, therapists need to bring up the sexual cycle as soon as the first session. This acknowledges the importance of intimate connection to their bond and affirms the sexual motive as positive. Next, we must deescalate the couple from their incessant conflict by validating the reasons they criticize, defend, and withdraw. We make explicit how the pursue-withdraw defenses are part of a cycle. When our protective strategies begin to make sense to us and our partner, it becomes safer to reveal the inner fears behind them. Lastly, our goal in each session is to uncover softer needs and longings beneath these moves to increase the couple’s empathy which draws them closer.
Questions? Contact Linda Hobbs.
Diversity/Inclusion scholarships are being offered as a statement that BLACK LIVES MATTER! We want to address the unconscious, systemic racism that has resulted in a lack of diversity in EFT training. The equity rate is designed to encourage participation from people from underrepresented groups, whose presence will enrich the training experience for everyone. If you can benefit from the equity rate pricing and identify with one of the following categories, please come and participate in the upcoming EFT training course. The categories are: 1) Those who identify with an underrepresented group such as, but not excluded to, Black Therapists and 2) those who work with historically marginalized communities.
The equity pricing is available based on your need AND AVAILABILITY, an application is not required. The equity rate will be $140. To request the equity rate or if you have any questions, please contact Linda Hobbs.