Am I normal, doctor?
It's probably the most common question we get. Peoples' sexual likes, dislikes, and urges always feel perfectly natural to ourselves, but some of us nonetheless get messages—even from people we love and trust—that those likes, dislikes, and urges are different, sometimes very different: We like something or do something too much, too little, or the wrong way. Yet, we don't have to be the same as everyone else to qualify as "normal." To feel happy, healthy, and fulfilled, however, we do have to understand our desires and find the ways that best to integrate them into our lives in healthy ways.
What happens in sex therapy?
Like other psychotherapies, sex therapy consists of increasingly open discussions had in the office. Unlike other talk-based therapies, sex therapy for some problems includes structured exercises performed at home between therapy sessions. Exercises can sometimes be done alone, and in other situations it can be beneficial to for a partner to participate. Although we might still use the word "homework," most people find these tasks much more pleasant.
Sexual problems cannot always be divided neatly into physical versus psychological. Some sexual problems have obvious medical causes, such as cancer, diabetes, or the medications used to treat them. Even with a medical cause, however, the most effective treatments are often psychological. Similarly, some sexual problems that seem largely psychological in origin can be helped by medical treatments. Whenever appropriate (and only with your consent), TSC therapists will coordinate with your physician(s) and other care providers to help find the best combinations of treatments for your specific needs.
How confidential is confidential?
TSC services and all information you provide us are strictly confidential: No information will be released without your expressed consent, except as compelled by the laws of Ontario and the registration (licensing) regulations of the College of Psychologists of Ontario (CPO). These exceptions include:
- If your psychologist believes that you pose an imminent danger to yourself or to someone else, then your psychologist is required to contact an authority who can intervene to help prevent harm to you, others, and any intended victims.
- If your psychologist learns that you have been sexually or physically abused by another psychologist or any other registered health provider, then your psychologist is required to report that person to their regulatory college (but not provide your name without your permission).
- If your psychologist suspects or is informed that a child is at risk of harm of any kind—including sexual abuse, physical abuse, or neglect—then your psychologist must contact Child and Family Services and report all relevant information.
- If your psychologist suspects or is informed that an adult resident in a long-term care facility is at risk of harm of any kind—including sexual abuse, physical abuse, or neglect—then your psychologist must contact Child and Family Services and report all relevant information.
- If contents of your clinical file are subpoenaed by a court of law, your psychologist is required to release materials as ordered by the court.
- If the CPO requests access to clinical files as part of their assuring quality of care, we are required to permit that access. The CPO is bound by its own strict confidentiality rules.