Relational and Sex Therapy

Sex Therapy

Relational therapy for couples is typically provided in a short-term, directive format, requiring couples to commit to spending a significant amount of time together between sessions in order to execute the therapeutic suggestions assigned by their therapist. Sessions can be scheduled one to two times per week for a period of time adequate to resolve the presenting problems.

For more intensive treatment, an intensive relational therapy format is offered, wherein, for example, the couple meets with a male-female co-therapy team for up to two hours per day over a ten-day period. This allows couples to focus strictly on their relationship with a minimum of external distractions or competing responsibilities. Couples begin to connect on a deeper level of emotional and physical intimacy.

This innovative, intensive therapy program was devised by Masters and Johnson in 1959, in order to help alleviate intimacy problems and their related effects on relationships. The progressive therapeutic model, utilizing a co-therapy team to treat the couple, rather than each person individually, continues to be reviewed and refined.

The first phase of therapy consists of a thorough assessment during which the couple is initially seen together, followed by an individual session for each partner. While conjunctive individual therapy may be indicated in some cases, treatment usually involves both partners at each session thereafter. Treatment is also available for individuals who are in a problematic relationship with a partner who is either unavailable or unwilling to attend sessions.

Relational therapy focuses on:

To ensure consolidation and advancement of therapeutic gains made during the intensive phase of treatment, the sex therapist or clinic should be committed to follow-up treatment through office visits or scheduled telephone contact, depending upon client availability.

Sex therapy begins with an initial evaluative interview, preferably with both partners, wherein psychological and physical contributions to the problem are explored. If a physical contribution is suspected, a specialist such as a urologist, gynecologist or endocrinologist is consulted to assess the client's medical status.

Sex therapy can effectively reverse:

Typically, sex therapy is provided in the intensive format discussed above, where couples are seen daily for approximately ten days. While this format is preferred for sex therapy, meeting with the couple once or twice weekly can be an alternative for couples managing a more restrictive schedule.

Some people have anxiety and/or phobias related to sex. For that, Thought Field Therapy may help.

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, December 6). Relational and Sex Therapy, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 20 from

Last Updated: October 15, 2019

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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