Although we call ourselves Sex Therapists, we really should be calling ourselves Relationship Mechanics, Experts, and Therapists.
Becoming a certified sex therapist is not just about focusing on sex, but it is focusing on everything around sex, what leads to sex, but also what leads to intimacy, and ultimately connection. This connection occurs in every area of our lives, from our vocational relationships to our romantic relationships, to our family relationships, and our relationship with ourselves.
Sex does not happen in a vacuum, but happens within intimacy, which happens within a relationship, which happens within an environment.
Parenting does not happen in a vacuum. It happens inside of a relationship between parent/caregiver/guardian and child, which occurs within the environment of all individuals concerned.
If you find yourself struggling with your children, or if your children are struggling in their environment, such as with school or with friends with personal accomplishments, or with their overall mental health, then before we go diagnosing a child with some form of disorder, it would be very appropriate to explore the relationship and level of attachment between all those involved.
For example, many parents are surprised to learn that many aspects of emotional and behavioural regulation that children and teens go through are reflective of different parenting styles. In fact, when I work with children and families, I often meet with parents first, just so I can understand what the child is dealing with (in terms of parenting expectations for the child and parental self-regulation). Many clients are astounded to learn just how much children pick up on, with regards to their own life, their own stress, stress in the relationship, and anything else that parents/caregivers/guardians may be dealing with.
Emotionally regulated parents raise emotionally regulated children.
Lastly, there is an old saying in psychology. Emotionally regulated parents raise emotionally regulated children. Often times children are acting out not just because they are in stress but because the environment is in stress. Children do best with clear boundaries, expectations, and structure. Like most adults, children do not like surprises, and they do not like to have their habits or routines interrupted.
Providing clear boundaries and expectations provide environmental stability. The more stable the environment the better everyone’s mental health is concerned, the better-regulated parents are, and the better-regulated children are. This is because of behavioural modelling. One of the largest factors as to why counselling works is because the counsellor model’s the desired behaviour around whatever is bringing the client into the room. The better the relationship between client and counsellor, the more the desired behaviour can be modelled, and the better the therapeutic outcome.
Relationships are like crops in a field. They need healthy soil, fertilizer, water, sunshine, and
healthy amounts of all of the above so that they may flourish and grow. Emotional regulation = behavioural regulation, but both need healthy environments to thrive. On the farm, we cultivated soil. In psychology, we cultivate relationships and connections.
Come heal, grow and create together
Like what you read? Need more? Check out our Information Hub for Advice, Tips and Links to useful places.
Want to stay updated? Sign up to our Newsletter Here!