Your Local Therapist - Here to Guide You
TALK TO ME PSYCHOTHERAPY WELCOMES YOU
A BIT ABOUT THERAPY
Personalized Attention for All Your Needs
I implement effective psychotherapy methods to instill self-understanding among patients and encourage them to adopt new attitudes and feelings towards life situations. It is essential to keep in mind that therapy is not a magic pill or a quick fix: therapy is a healing process that necessitates participation and investment from the patient and caretaker alike. But in the end, making small changes to self-defeating behavior and coping with feelings of sadness, fear, and pain can bring life-altering results.
Exceeding Expectations One Patient at a Time
Sessions are available for adult individuals and couples. Sessions are offered for a period of 50-55 minutes for individuals and up to 75-80 minutes for couples. You and your therapist will determine what timeframe is best for you, depending on your therapeutic needs.
Sessions are active and require your full participation. Being listened to is an important component of therapy, but the key factor to your therapeutic success is you. The therapeutic relationship is based on equality between you and your therapist. You are seen as the authority in your own life, and your therapist is a partner in the growth process.
Sessions contain an educational component, experiential exercises, and homework assignments conducted outside of session. Without new knowledge, we often do not have the mental framework to organize and make meaning out of our experience. Likewise, without new experiences, we often times do not have access to the insights gained from different ways of knowing ourselves.
Sessions will provide you with a greater awareness of the dynamics in your life and new knowledge and skills to overcome the areas of concern to you. For some of you, effective therapy will eliminate your original concern. However, depending on your presenting concern, the goal of therapy is to gain a sense of mastery over your challenge areas and an acceptance of these challenge areas as a complete picture of who you are. This can result in tremendous freedom and feelings of self-efficacy, confidence, and peacefulness.
In addition, sessions often have a creative component in which you will come to see yourself as the creator of your own life. Much like an artists who expresses themselves in a tangible expressive art form, such as writing, sculpture, or music, all people are capable of creatively expressing their unique sense of self and who they are in life. You will gain a sense of your own responsibility in creating the current outcomes in your life. Through the therapeutic process, you will gain the ability to create the type of life you want.
Sessions can focus on many things, and often the focus will change during the therapeutic process. Common areas addressed include the following:
Trauma and PTSD
History of Abuse
Sessions follow some form of the following developmental progression:
Assessing and determining your therapy goals
Developing a therapeutic relationship with your therapist
Gaining insight into yourself through dialogue with your therapist
Receiving education and new understanding about your growth areas
Practicing new techniques and skills
Integrating new experiences and thoughts into your life
Attaining a new way of knowing yourself, others, and the world around you
Sessions will examine all aspects of your life that contribute to your health. Therapy will strive to provide you with:
A foundation of physical health: your basic biological needs (e.g., sleep, diet, exercise) will be addressed
Safety: you will experience safety through the therapeutic relationship
Relatedness to others: the quality of your relationships will improve and you will experience greater feelings of love and connectedness
Increased self-esteem: you will build healthy self-esteem as a natural outgrowth of therapy
Improved thought processes: your therapy will focus on identifying your negative thought patterns and finding more adaptive ways to think
Increased self-awareness and insight:you will develop new insights about why you do things and how to change
New knowledge: you will become educated on the nature of your presenting problem
Development of your potential: you will become more of who you are
A contribution to the well being of others: you will find an increased capacity to contribute to others
Feelings of transcendence: you will feel connected to the flow of life and feel connections occurring randomly and with ease
Why People Come To Sex Therapy
Human sexuality is a complex and multi-faceted aspect of every person’s life and includes the overlapping areas of biology, culture, psychology, and spirituality. For many people, their sexuality is healthy, natural, and well integrated into their lives. For others, some aspect of their sexuality is a source of tension or pain in their lives and the lives of their partners. Given that our sexuality is so fundamental and basic to our existence, the impact of a sexual dysfunction, sexual addiction, disturbing sexual urges, fantasy or behaviors, gender identity confusion, or relational sexual concerns is quite significant on our overall wellbeing and mental health. This makes the work of therapy and the outcome for clients all the more rewarding.
Why People Come to Sex Therapy
People come to sex therapy for many different reasons. Sometimes, people may feel depressed, experience anxiety, or have trouble with their partner and not realize that the reason is related to a sexual issue. For example, some couples may come to counseling because they complain of not having any emotional or physical intimacy or they just feel unhappy in their relationship. Upon further investigation, it may be revealed that one person was sexually abused as a child or perhaps an extra-marital affair is taking place in the relationship.
What a Sex Therapist Does
A sex therapist can hold an advanced degree in the areas of counseling, psychology, medicine, or social work. In addition to holding a license from their respective licensing body, sex therapists undergo training beyond what is required for gaining credentials in their field. This training includes education in the areas of human sexuality, sex therapy theories and techniques, supervised clinical experience by a practicing sex therapist, and exploration and understanding of one’s own feelings, attitudes, values, and beliefs regarding human sexuality and sexual behavior. In the United States, the national certifying body for sex therapists is the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT). A sex therapist does not have to be certified in order to practice sex therapy, but seeing a certified sex therapist ensures that your therapist has received extended training and has illustrated competency as a sex therapist.
Your choice to see a sex therapist versus seeing a counselor or psychologist who is not certified as a sex therapist is similar to seeing an oncologist instead of your family practice doctor if you are diagnosed with or are treating some form of cancer. In short, the focus of a sex therapist’s practice is on assessing and treating sexual issues. This results in sex therapists having an in-depth knowledge of human sexuality, sexual physiology, and the treatment of sexual dysfunctions. In addition, most sex therapists are accepting of transgender clients and of clients with different sexual orientations.
How Sex Therapy Works
Sex therapy is conducted in a similar fashion to other forms of counseling. It consists of meeting with a counselor or psychologist to talk about and explore your concerns. Once you and your therapist have a basic understanding of the problem, your therapist will design a treatment plan especially for you. Given the multi-faceted nature of sexual issues, your issue may be linked to other psychological, relational, or physical conditions that you might have. Some types of sexual dysfunctions are related to a biological cause. In this case, your sex therapist may ask you to sign a release of consent so that he or she can collaborate with your physician or psychiatrist to provide the most comprehensive treatment possible. Other types of sexual issues may be the result of a dynamic between you and your sexual partner. In this case, your therapist may ask that your partner attend sessions with you. In any case, you will be asked to collaborate with your therapist to provide feedback on what works for you in the therapy process. Therapy is a very personal process and should make you feel safe, respected, and encouraged.
Why Women Come to Sex Therapy
Lack of desire to have sex
Difficulty becoming sexually aroused
Inability to have an orgasm
Why Men Come to Sex Therapy
Not being able to achieve or sustain an erection
Having an orgasm before one wishes to
Why Both Sexes Come to Sex Therapy
Sexual addiction or excessive sexual behavior
History of sexual abuse
History of sexual offending
Feelings of being born into the wrong body
Gay or lesbian concerns
Alternative sexual lifestyles
Unwanted sexual urges or behavior
Sexual identity confusion
Body image concerns
Why Couples Come to Sex Therapy
Decreased sexual frequency
Lack of enjoyment of sex
Lack of desire to have sex
Lack of intimacy or emotional closeness
One partner wanting sex more than the other
Issues with sexual performance in one or both partners
Inability of one or both partners to achieve an orgasm
How Sexual Issues Are Understood
Sex therapy can focus on many different aspects of sexual health and functioning. In the field of sex therapy, sexual issues are broadly categorized, diagnosed, and researched under three main umbrellas:
Issues related to psychophysiological changes in the sexual response cycle, including the following diagnoses or related symptoms:
Sexual desire disorders (not wanting to have sex)
Sexual arousal disorders (not becoming physically aroused or having erectile dysfunction)
Orgasmic disorders (not being able to achieve orgasm or having premature ejaculation)
Sexual pain disorders (having pain before or during sexual intercourse)
Sexual dysfunction related to an organic or biological cause
Issues related to sexual urges, fantasies, or behaviors including the following diagnoses or related symptoms:
Exhibitionism (exposing of genitals to a stranger)
Fetishism (using non-living objects for sexual pleasure)
Frotteurism (touching or rubbing up against an unwilling person)
Pedophilia (sexual activity with children)
Sexual masochism or sadism
Voyeurism (watching others undressing or having sex with or without their permission)
Gender Identity Disorder
Feeling and thinking that one was born into the body of the wrong sex.
Keep in mind that these categories are not mutually exclusive. In other words, an issue in one area does not preclude an issue occurring in another area as well. Human sexuality is dynamic, and its expression is unique for each person. In addition, these categories do not specify the cause of the issue. For example, a person may present with complaints of an inability to maintain an erection. It could be that this person is physically unable to maintain an erection due to a physiological problem, or it could be that this person has a history of sexual abuse that is psychologically interfering with his ability to maintain an erection. Diagnosing sexual issues in broad categories such as these aids therapists and clients in understanding the specific issue.
HELPFUL INFORMATION AND RESOURCES
Choosing the right therapist or counselor for your needs is important. The mental health professionals at Kimberly Keiser and Associates have experience working with patients in individual appointments, couples counseling, and group sessions. Areas of expertise include therapy for sex, trauma, sexuality after cancer, infertility counseling, and transgender healthcare.
The mission of the South Dakota Counseling Association is to enhance the quality of life by promoting the development of professional counselors, advancing the counseling profession, practicing to promote respect for human dignity, and supporting cultural diversity.
Talk to Me Therapy Groups
Group psychotherapy has been shown to be as effective, if not more effective in certain situations, than individual psychotherapy. Psychotherapy groups offer a unique opportunity for personal and relational development.
Getting Started in Group Therapy
Attending a pre-group preparatory meeting is the first step to becoming part of a group. In this meeting, you will be assessed to determine your therapeutic goals and the appropriateness of your participation in a particular group. Some goals of this meeting include the following:
To start to build the foundation for a therapeutic relationship with your therapist. Your therapist will be a continuous resource and source of support and feedback for you throughout the group therapy process.
To dispel any fears that you might have about joining a group or sharing your thoughts and feelings with others. Anxiety about entering a group is common among all people, so addressing those concerns before joining the group is important for your peace of mind and group success.
To create an understanding of what the group therapy process is and to answer any questions that you might have about joining a group. You will gain an understanding about what role you have in the group and what role your therapist has. Some other aspects of group therapy you will learn about include the following:
How the group will be run
How to participate in a group
How to effectively self-disclose and give feedback to others
How to ensure confidentiality
How to leave the group
How to avoid the potential risks and take advantage of the potential benefits of group therapy and other treatment options available to you
To determine your personal goals for joining the group and an understanding of what you’d like to get out of the group.
Combining Group Therapy with Other Therapies
Group therapy clients also commonly participate in other forms of treatment while being part of a group, including individual therapy, pharmacotherapy, or a 12-step group. With your permission, your therapist will work with other healthcare providers with whom you work to ensure that your therapies are integrated and consistent.
Individual Therapy and Group Therapy
Group therapy primarily focuses on interpersonal interactions, while individual therapy primarily focuses on what happens within your own thinking, feeling, and behavior. Working together, these two avenues for exploring yourself can lead to powerful insights and results.
You can add group therapy or individual therapy at any time to gain a greater understanding of yourself and to learn new skills in either dimension.
The best outcome occurs when you provide consistent information to both your group and individual therapist.
Psychopharmacology and Group Therapy
If you are already on psychotropic medication, your therapist can be a resource to your medical provider. Alternatively, if it becomes apparent during the course of group therapy that you would benefit from psychotropic medication, your therapist can make an appropriate referral to a medical provider.
12-Step Groups and Group Therapy
Your group therapist will facilitate the collaboration between the two methods of treatment, using the 12-step process as a foundation for group psychotherapy. However, important differences between psychotherapy groups and 12-step groups exist:
Psychotherapy groups require feedback from group members to other group members as part of the therapeutic process.
Boundaries between the group psychotherapist and group members and between group members are more clearly defined than between a sponsor and sponsee or between members of a 12-step group.
Group psychotherapy can complement the relational work done in any 12-step program through the examination of improvement in the way you relate to and communicate with others.
Benefits of Group Therapy
Group therapy differs from individual therapy in important ways. Some unique benefits of group therapy include the following:
Examination of interpersonal problems or problems in relationships
Development of self-awareness about how you come across to other people, how others are affected by you, or why you have certain relationship patterns
Increased self-expression and the ability to work through your feelings with others
Ability to move beyond the benefits of individual therapy in the attainment of your goals
Opportunity to relate to others who share your particular concern
Attainment of new skills
Availability of lower-cost services
Why Group Therapy Works
Many psychologists and counselors have studied the factors contributing to a positive outcome in group therapy. Irving Yalom and Molyn Leszcz, in The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy, outline the following therapeutic factors in group psychotherapy:
Universality: Members recognize that other group members share similar feelings, thoughts, and problems.
Altruism: Members experience a boost to their self-concept by extending help to other group members.
Instillation of hope: Members recognize that other group members’ success can be helpful, and they develop optimism for their own improvement.
Imparting information: Members benefit from the education and advice provided by the therapist or other group members.
Corrective recapitulation of primary family experience: Members have the opportunity to reenact critical family dynamics with other group members in a corrective manner.
Development of socializing techniques: The group provides members with an environment that fosters adaptive and effective communication.
Imitative behavior: Members expand their personal knowledge and skills through the observation of other group members’ self-exploration, working through, and personal development.
Cohesiveness: Members experience feelings of trust, belonging, and togetherness with other group members.
Existential factors: Members accept responsibility for their life decisions.
Catharsis: Members release strong feelings about past or present experiences.
Interpersonal learning-input: Members gain personal insight about their interpersonal impact through feedback provided by other group members.
Interpersonal learning-output: The group provides members with an environment that allows them to interact in a more adaptive manner.
Self-understanding: Members gain insight into the psychological motivation underlying behavior and emotional reactions.
Yalom and his colleagues studied these therapeutic factors by asking clients who had successfully completed group therapy what they found to be most helpful about the process. The clients in his studies reported the following factors to be most helpful (listed in order of importance):
Discovering and accepting previously unknown or unacceptable parts of myself.
Being able to say what was bothering me instead of holding it in.
Other members honestly telling me what they think of me.
Learning how to express my feelings.
The group’s teaching me about the type of impression I make on others.
Expressing negative and/or positive feelings toward another member.
Learning that I must take ultimate responsibility for the way I live no matter how much guidance and support I get from others.
Learning how I come across to others.
Seeing that others could reveal embarrassing things and take other risks and benefit from it helped me to do the same.
Feeling more trusting of groups and of other people.
I love helping my patients develop the tools they need to cope with all of life’s challenges. Contact me today to learn more and book a session.