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The Intersection of Unconscious Trauma Responses and Sexual Praxes

An article by Jessica Hicks (2019 MA Counseling Psychology) featured in The Therapist Magazine:

“When the topic of our psychotherapy clients’ sex lives arises in the clinical setting it can be prudent to invoke a trauma-informed lens. Clinical studies and case examples from an assortment of psychologists, psychiatrists, sexologists, and sex therapists attest to the phenomena of unconscious trauma responses and the epiphenomenon of these responses embodied in sexual desire and resultant activity. While clients may self-disclose their sexual proclivities as innate and innocuous, they may be unwittingly abdicating sexual consent to unconscious drivers thereby potentially creating new trauma. Clinicians have an opportunity to interrupt damaging cycles and introduce a more thorough model of sexual consent through a few key interventions. These interventions include psychoeducation of unconscious trauma responses and utilization of the Dynamic Sexual Consent Assessment Tool (Hicks, 2019). This article will outline five recognized unconscious trauma responses; share clinical research illustrating how trauma responses can influence sexual behavior; present an overview of contemporary clandestine sexual practices that may be a host for trauma responses; touch on clinical manifestations of sexual distress; and outline best practices for clinically managing sexual content including invoking a diversity stance, effectively containing erotic transference and countertransference, psychoeducation, and implementation of the Dynamic Sexual Consent Assessment Tool.”

Read the complete article here

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