With Australia Counselling Member Christina Taylor
She doesn’t believe that sexual or emotional intimacy should decline with age.
In fact, Christina believes it can actually improve with age.
So we spoke to her about this fascinating area of work and her interest in this field.
Here’s what she had to say…
Tell us about your practice – where it is, who you work with and the services you offer
I have practice rooms both at Strathfield and in the lower Hunter Valley.
My practice specialises in mature clients (over 45) who want to enjoy their sexuality or further enhance their relationship, be that with themselves or with their partner.
I work with individuals and couples, either short or long term depending on their needs.
I work in an holistic manner – I believe that our emotional, mental, physical and spiritual elements all interconnect within our sexual being, influencing our relationship both with ourselves and with others.
How did you become interested in counselling and working as a psychotherapist with intimacy issues in the over 45’s?
I studied a Bachelor of Psychology degree at Macquarie University in the 1980’s at a time that the focus was predominantly Cognitive and Behaviourist in its approach. I had wanted to work with emotionally disturbed children, however, after I recognised I’d not fully resolved my own childhood issues I ventured into the boardrooms of corporate Australia whilst undergoing my own therapy to prepare myself for my current work.
I commenced co-authoring a book some years ago on Grown-ups Dating and Mating – to be published in June 2014- and realised I had not only amassed a great knowledge about relationships and individual patterns of behaviour when selecting partners, both from theory and practice, but that this was an area that I was passionate about. I completed my Masters (Counselling) and began to practice as psychodynamic therapist.
In 2013 I recognised that my passion was for enhancing intimacy and sexuality for my clients and I began to move from the boardrooms to the bedrooms. During this time I came across the work of Gina Ogden – America’s pre-eminent sex therapist, and have since attended workshops and I am fortunate to be supervised by her. I use Gina’s “ISIS” model which provides a framework for addressing the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual aspects of sexuality.
How do clients improve with your approach and why you believe the way you work is effective in helping the over 45’s enhance their desire and intimacy?
When clients, who are in their 70’s, 80’s and even older, understand their sex lives can be fulfilling, they have renewed vigour and enthusiasm for life. Unfortunately there are still many in our community who have become resigned to no sexual activity or to feeling guilty that they might still desire intimacy and yet not feel that they can talk about it to their doctor, their partner or even their regular therapist.
I believe passionately that intimacy can increase with age – like a good wine- and that our sexual relationships, whilst different from our erstwhile youth, can be extraordinary. I am also a great believer in the adage “use it or lose it” and I see a vital part of my work as one of educating mature women in particular to engage in regular vaginal exercise to keep the muscles lubricated and supple.
Why is your approach effective?
I believe that both my open approach and my use of an holistic model, rather than the traditional linear focus on the orgasm (which has the potential for pathologising the client) is one that achieves deeper and more meaningful change which in turn leads to enhanced quality of life
I am fortunate to have Gina Ogden as my current supervisor, Gina is one of America’s foremost experts on Sex Therapy and the author of many books. I have trained with Gina on her integrative ISIS model (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual) to further explore desire and intimacy when working with clients.
Tell us, what a client can expect to experience in an initial counselling session with you?
When a client initially comes to me I listen, listen, listen. For all clients it is important initially to be heard – to tell their story, almost uninterrupted. For some, sensitive questioning
and affirming assists in gaining an understanding of the problem that might be causing despair.
In an initial session I attempt to understand where the client is now, and where they would rather be. We determine the course of action for our work together. We discuss the most appropriate ways to ensure the client is having more fulfilling sexual experiences: individual or couples sessions, frequency of sessions, strategies, and referrals to other resources if needed.
Most clients say that they feel relief at the end of the first session. Getting sexual concerns out in the open with a qualified professional and finding out they are not alone in what they’re experiencing brings huge relief and a sense of hope that things can be different.
On a personal note, tell us something that you’re passionate about or love to do in your spare time
I have recently become the owner of an 8 week old poodle. It feels like being a young Mum again – although there is no cot to put Bi-Bi in we do have a playpen for her. My partner Michael and I have a property in the lower Hunter Valley and we spend many wonderful hours there – and some less than wonderful when it is weeding time.
My other great interest is reading – my first degree was English Literature from London University – three years of being totally absorbed in the greatest world literature and I still can get totally engrossed as I did all those decades ago.
To contact Christina or to make an appointment, visit her Australia Counselling profile.