Sexuality Language in a Counseling Context

| March 13, 2014

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Sexuality Language in a Counseling Context
There are a lot of words that people can use to describe sex, not to mention the various body parts that come into play when people are having (or thinking about) sex. Counselors who work with clients facing sexuality-related concerns often experience a tension between wanting to maintain a professional stance and wanting to match the client’s language in order to "meet them where they are." It can be very challenging to walk the line between being appropriate and professional and becoming too clinical so that a client’s lived experiences are dismissed.
It is important to consider that the language a sexuality counselor uses can either hinder or enhance the counseling process. Sometimes, the same words or phrases can have very different implications depending on the context and/or the client’s background. Some clients may view slang words, to be very offensive, whereas other clients may use only such terms to describe sexual intercourse. As such, it is important to differentiate among the ways that language can be understood and used in the practice of sexuality counseling.
To prepare for this Discussion, consider a statement that a sexuality counselor could make in a counseling session that could be interpreted as inappropriate or offensive by a client. Then reflect on when, if ever, it might be appropriate to use slang in sexuality counseling sessions.
With these thoughts in mind:
Write an example of a statement that a sexuality counselor could make in a counseling session that a client might interpret as inappropriate or offensive and explain why. Then explain when, if ever, it might be appropriate to use slang in sexuality counseling sessions.
Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources.
Introduction
This week, you further explore the issue of competence in sexuality counseling by learning about some specific approaches to sexuality counseling and by considering some basic key competencies necessary to engage in this work. At the most basic level, to be able to conduct sexuality counseling, a counselor needs to be comfortable talking about sexuality with clients. This sounds simple, yet many counselors experience discomfort in discussing sexuality-related topics with clients. Some of the reasons for this include not knowing what words to use, feeling embarrassed, being afraid that the client will feel embarrassed, and feeling uncomfortable discussing such a personal topic with clients.
Even with a basic level of knowledge about sexuality and comfort in discussing sexuality with clients, counselors may feel that they are ?without a map? and uncertain how best to work with clients to help the clients move toward more positive sexual functioning. As such, this week, you explore basic skills in conducting a sexual health and functioning assessment, as well as theoretically and empirically informed approaches to conducting sexuality counseling.
Objectives
By the end of this week, you should be able to:
? Explain inappropriate and offensive statements in sexuality counseling
? Analyze the use of slang in sexuality counseling
? Apply sexuality counseling models to case studies
? Apply assessments and interventions to case studies based on sexuality counseling models
? Explain how personal values and worldviews related to sexuality impact work with clients
Week 2 Learning Resources
This page contains the Learning Resources for this week. Be sure to scroll down the page to see all of this week’s assigned Learning Resources.
Required Resources
Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your syllabus.
Readings
? Course Text: Sexuality Counseling: An Integrative Approach
o Chapter 2, Theories Applied to Sexuality Counseling;
o Chapter 3, Assessment in Sexuality Counseling
o Chapter 4, Goal Setting, Treatment Planning, and Interventions in Sexuality Counseling
o Chapter 5, Maintaining and Validating New Perceptions and Behaviors in Sexuality Counseling;
? Article: Almas, E., & Landmark, B. (2010). Non-pharmacological treatment of sexual problems ? A review of research literature 1970?2008. Sexologies, 19(4), 202?211.
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