HOW THINGS PLAY OUT IN YOUR RE­LA­TION­SHIP WITH YOUR THER­A­PIST OF­TEN RE­FLECTS HOW YOU MAN­AGE OTHER RE­LA­TION­SHIPS IN YOUR LIFE.

Best Health - - RELATIONSHIPS -

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.

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