HOW THINGS PLAY OUT IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR THERAPIST OFTEN REFLECTS HOW YOU MANAGE OTHER RELATIONSHIPS IN YOUR LIFE.
TOPICS LIKE VAGINAL DRYNESS, PAIN DURING INTERCOURSE, inability to have an orgasm or lack of interest in sex aren’t things many women are always comfortable speaking about with their family doctor — much less their intimate partner.
But they are all important issues, says Dr. Sara Taylor, a family doctor who used to specialize in sexual health issues.
Dr. Taylor understands your reticence, but stresses that it’s important to be able to talk about them. Your doctor will need to rule out possible medical problems, such as hormonal issues connected to menopause, or the side effect of an antidepressant, that might be affecting functioning or interest in sex. Happily, there are often answers to these challenges, which is why it’s good to be up-front.
Or maybe the problem isn’t so much physical, but a response to stress, exhaustion or relationship issues. Depending on the problem, your doctor may recommend that you cut back on work hours or offer a referral to couple’s counselling.
Hopefully, your doctor will be able to normalize these problems, and with less of a sense of shame or stigma, you will be empowered to speak more openly with your partner, too.
WITH YOUR PERSONAL TRAINER WITH YOUR DOCTOR
WHEN PEOPLE THINK ABOUT CONFIDING IN A professional, a personal trainer isn't usually top of mind.
Of course, talking to a personal trainer doesn’t mean having to give them the nitty gritty of what’s going on in your life. But it is helpful to let your trainer know when you’re not feeling 100 percent — when you’re tired, have problems at home or work, when you have a headache or are physically stressed, says Toronto personal trainer Alvaro Membreño.
Being a trainer is about “physically getting people better, but you can’t push people if they aren’t mentally prepared,” says Membreño. If you're not feeling 100 percent, you may need to back down on the intensity and instead focus on something less aerobically intense so you don’t injure yourself, he says.
Alternatively, a good workout sesh can actually help relieve stress. Membreño finds that a lot of women carry tension in their hips, so if you’ve shared that you’re stressed to the max, he can focus on increasing movement in the hip joints to help you release that pressure.
WITH YOUR SHRINK
IT’S NORMAL TO SOMETIMES FEEL ANGRY, DIS-appointed or judged by your therapist. But if you don’t tell your therapist how you are feeling, you risk not getting everything you can from that relationship.
“If you avoid that conversation, how can the therapist help you?” asks Carlton.
How things play out in your relationship with your therapist often ref lects how you manage other relationships in your life. With a therapist, you can get angry or disagree and know they won’t disappear — that they will stay and work through your feelings with you, says Carlton. Discussing these feelings with a therapist also gives you an opportunity to safely practice opening up and being vulnerable with someone who is separate from your day-to-day life.
Carlton recalls a time in her life when she ended a relationship with a therapist because she didn’t like the therapist’s style: she was too “solution focused.” But Carlton recognizes now that if she had been open with her therapist about how she was feeling, they may have been able to find another way to work together.