When I began writing my book What Every Mental Health Professional Needs to Know about Sex, I knew I wanted to include case material, but I wasn’t certain what form it would take. I did know, however, that I wanted to create a reader-friendly, accessible resource on sex therapy. For that reason, I chose to forego long case studies and decided on the “Step Into My Office” feature instead.
“Step Into My Office” is meant to give the reader a peek into the reality of treating people with sexual problems. I wanted to invite the reader to see the cases as I see them. Instead of reading about a one in a million case, readers are treated to more typical cases that I might see in a day. Readers can see that the people whom I treat are not unusual. Anyone can have a sexual problem.
I also used typical cases to illustrate that point that any client that comes into the office of a psychotherapist, psychiatrist, nurse, or counselor might have a sexual problem that deserves attention. Too often, I think, therapists and counselors assume that if the client doesn’t bring up a sexual problem, then none exists.
Describing a case in such a brief manner was sometimes a challenge. In some instances I got carried away and wrote 2-3 pages about a case, engrossed in subtle nuances or even becoming emotional about certain issues. I needed to reel things back in to stay on track. I had a lot of material to cover in this book, and there wasn’t enough room to include longer cases.
When I wrote What Every Mental Health Professional Needs to Know about Sex, I created the book I wish I had on my own shelf when I began my journey of learning more in depth information about sexuality in my clients. Although my orientation is systemic, I wanted to make the cases general enough that therapists from all orientations could universally relate to the information. I didn’t want to analyze the cases from, say, a Bowenian perspective. I want the reader to use his or her own orientation and think about how they might approach a particular case.