Intimacy & Sexuality A 2-day Symposium with Christiane Sanderson, Dr Gwen Adshead, Anna Motz and Silva Neves London, 8 November & 9 November 2019 (Friday & Saturday) 10:00am - 4:00pm on both days
The dynamics of Intimacy and Sexuality in couple relationships are multi-faceted, often complex, and closely intertwined with adult attachment representations. As therapists and counsellors – our challenges can be compounded by the fact that apparent manifestations of couple conflict including anger, aggression and infidelity may have deeper roots in issues surrounding intimacy and sexuality; issues that couples may avoid explicitly talking about. At this practical symposium, which would be especially relevant for psychotherapists, psychologists and counsellors; we aim to comprehend some of the most challenging aspects of couple intimacy and sexuality. The symposium draws on recent advances in developmental psychology and Attachment research to explore: Toxic dynamics in intimate partner relationships: are these attributable to disturbed attachment systems? What impact do these have on the individuals and their children? The role of Shame & Dissociation in the context of Compulsive Sexual Behaviour: what happens when a yearning for closeness is coupled with a fear of intimacy? How do we comprehend premature sexualisation and hyper-sexualisation in light of changing societal mores? What does caring mean in the context of adult intimacy, sexuality and eroticism? How does this relate to conflict and disharmony in couple relationships? What happens when couples have a disappearing sex life? Can there be coexistence between the Erotic and love? Through lectures, audience interactions, case examples and panel discussions, the symposium explores how therapists can be deeply affected by, and drawn into, the dynamics related to couple challenges pertaining to intimacy and sexuality. Specifically, we look at situations that can lead to impasse and how these can be worked through.
Symposium Schedule Day 1, 8 November 2019, Friday 10:00am – 12:00pm: Dr Gwen Adshead: Attachment & Couple Intimacy In this session, Dr Gwen Adshead explores how Attachment Theory offers an understanding of what caring means in the context of adult intimacy, sexuality and eroticism. She discusses adult attachment representations; and the work that has been done on attachment in couples, specifically in the context of conflict and disharmony. These explanations are illustrated with evidence from relevant research and clinical supervision. 12:05pm – 1:00pm: panel discussion and audience questions 1:00pm – 2:00pm: Lunch Break (a light lunch is provided as part of the symposium) 2:00pm – 4:00pm: Anna Motz: Toxic dynamics in intimate partner relationships: the dangerous dance of disturbed attachment systems In this talk, Anna discusses the key dynamics of intimate partner violence, focussing on how these are formed, maintained and destroyed; while identifying the underlying conscious and unconscious forces that draw intimate partners together. She explains how underlying these violent relationships we often find two people with highly disturbed attachment systems who meet and believe that the other offers hope of repairing their inner damage, only to find themselves locked into a mutually destructive relationship, which can feel impossible to leave and impossible to stay in. Using clinical vignettes and models of intergenerational transmission – she discusses the impact of violent, yet intimate relationships on the partners involved and their children. She also explains recommended therapeutic approaches that we can follow for working with intimate partner violence. 4:00pm: Close Day 2, 9 November 2019, Saturday 10:00am – 12:00pm: Christiane Sanderson: Living in a Bubble: Shame, Dissociation and Compulsive Sexual Behaviour In this presentation, we specifically explore the role of shame & dissociation in the context of intimacy, sexuality and compulsive sexual behaviour. Christiane explains how sexual compulsive behaviour such as compulsive masturbation, excessive use of pornography and hypersexuality links to premature sexualisation, affect regulation and the yearning for attachment. The focus will be on how compulsive sexual behaviour can be conceptualised as a form of self-medication to manage unbearable states such as shame, fear of intimacy and lack of relational worth. Through clinical examples, the paradox of wishing to be close and the fear intimacy will be examined – we will consider how this paradox induces dissociative states prior to and during sexual activities, and how these can be managed. 12:05pm – 1:00pm: panel discussion and audience questions 1:00pm – 2:00pm: Lunch Break (a light lunch is provided as part of the symposium) 2:00pm – 4:00pm: Silva Neves: Erotic vs Love In this session, Silva discusses one of the most common couple psychosexual presentations: when couples have a disappearing sex life. Often, couples will come to therapy in distress: they don’t talk about sex for a long time, until they can no longer ignore it. The distress is not just about sex though, it is also about feeling undesired, unloved, uncared for and unwanted. Silva explains how the themes of love, intimacy, sexuality and attachment have a part to play in the problem. Love is where the heart lives, where couples get a sense of security and safety. Yet, the Erotic is stifled by love. It prefers the excitement of the adventure, something new or something a little edgy. Successful couples are those who can move together from the safety base to the adventure place and back to safety: just like a secure attachment. However, many couples struggle to keep the anxiety of the unknown adventure, fearing that they might rock the boat of safe love. Using case studies, Silva illustrates how we can help couples make the necessary changes to enable them traverse this journey safely. 4:00pm: Close About the speakers Christiane Sanderson is a senior lecturer in Psychology at the University of Roehampton, of London with over 30 years of experience working with survivors of childhood sexual abuse and sexual violence. She has delivered consultancy, continuous professional development and professional training for parents, teachers, social workers, nurses, therapists, counsellors, solicitors, the NSPCC, Towards Healing, Ireland, the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Committee, the Methodist Church, the Metropolitan Police Service, SOLACE, the Refugee Council, Birmingham City Council Youth Offending Team, and HMP Bronzefield. She is the author of Counselling Skills for Working with Shame, Counselling Skills for Working with Trauma: Healing from Child Sexual Abuse, Sexual Violence and Domestic Abuse, Counselling Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse, 3rd edition, Counselling Survivors of Domestic Abuse, The Seduction of Children: Empowering Parents and Teachers to Protect Children from Child Sexual Abuse, and Introduction to Counselling Survivors of Interpersonal Trauma, all published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. She has also written The Warrior Within: A One in Four Handbook to Aid Recovery from Sexual Violence; The Spirit Within: A One in Four Handbook to Aid Recovery from Religious Sexual Abuse Across All Faiths, Responding to Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse: A pocket guide for professionals, partners, families and friends and Numbing the Pain: A pocket guide for professionals supporting survivors of childhood sexual abuse and addiction for the charity One in Four for whom she is a trustee. Dr Gwen Adshead is a Forensic Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist. She trained at St George's Hospital, the Institute of Psychiatry and the Institute of Group Analysis. She is trained as a group therapist and a Mindfulness-based cognitive therapist and has also trained in Mentalisation-based therapy. She worked for nearly twenty years as a Consultant Forensic Psychotherapist at Broadmoor Hospital, running psychotherapeutic groups for offenders and working with staff around relational security and organisational dynamics. She is the co-editor of Clinical topics in Personality Disorder (with Dr Jay Sarkar) which was awarded first prize in the psychiatry Section of the BMA book awards 2013; and she also co-edited Personality Disorder: the Definitive Collection with Dr Caroline Jacob. She is the co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Forensic Psychiatry (2013) and the Oxford Handbook of Medical Psychotherapy (2016). She is also the co-editor of Munchausens’s Syndrome by Proxy: Current issues in Assessment, Treatment and Research. Anna Motz is a Consultant Clinical and Forensic Psychotherapist, who has worked extensively with women as instigators of violence. Her research and clinical interests include: self-harm, relationship difficulties, eating disorders, anxiety, depression and personality disorders. Formerly President of International Association for Forensic Psychotherapy, she lectures widely on topics covering toxic relationships and female violence. She is the author of The Psychology of Female Violence: Crimes against the Body (Routledge, 2008). She has also edited Managing Self Harm: Psychological Perspectives (Routledge, 2009) and Toxic Couples: The Psychology of Domestic Violence (Routledge, 2014). Silva Neves is a COSRT accredited psychosexual and relationship psychotherapist, a trauma psychotherapist and an EMDR therapist working at his Central London private practice. He sees individuals and couples presenting with a wide range of sex and relationship challenges. Silva also specialises in working with sexual trauma, infidelity and compulsive sexual behaviours. He works extensively with the LGBTQ community as well as the heterosexual population. He features in the BBC programme “Sex On The Couch”, an educational programme about sex therapy.He is a clinical supervisor offering psychosexual and relationship therapy, trauma therapy and compulsive sexual behaviour treatment supervision and ad-hoc supervision. He is a faculty member of IOSS (International Online Sexology Supervisors). He is also an accreditation assessor for COSRT.

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