THE LONG ISLAND INSTITUTE OF SEX THERAPY
(516) 690-6779

Long Island Institute of Sex Therapy (LIIST)

Author: Rosara Torrisi

Shame and Guilt

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I was recently forwarded an article about guilt and its connection to mood disorders.

What this article seems to miss is the more important issue of shame. Guilt and shame are somewhat different but what’s important about shame is that it moves from the act to the person. Shame becomes internalized as a reflection of one’s whole self.

Excessive shame or shame in key areas of identity (such as sexuality or bodily functions) degrades one’s concept of self. This degradation is a perfect incubator for both mood disorders and personality disorders. If someone lacks a strong sense of self, they don’t believe in their ability to succeed– whether in the boardroom or the bedroom.

A degradation of a sexual sense of self through internalized shame is something many experience, especially women and LGBT individuals. This internalized sexual and bodily shame is at the core of many sexual difficulties. Sexuality disorders such as difficulties reaching orgasm and even sexual pain disorders are common results of internalized shame.

Along with mood disorders and sexuality related disorders, researchers have also found links between internalized shame and physical health. Racism has has been found to lead to poor cardiac health. Internalized homophobia can result in higher rates of cancer.

What we experience as “just” psychological can have cascading emotional and physical affects.

LIIST on Out of the Box radio show

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If you missed it, or want to hear it again, You can listen here to Rosara Torrisi talk about out of control sexual behaviors. On October 23rd, Rosara Torrisi was invited as a guest on LI News Radio with host David Levenstein and author/advocate Frank Vetro. Curious about sex addiction or out of control sexual behavior? Call us at 516-690-6779 or email us at RosaraTorrisi@lisextherapy.com. In collaboration with with Peter Kanaris in Smithtown, we have weekly therapy groups for both the identified client and a separate group for their spouses or significant others.

Babeland @ LIIST

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If you’ve been working with any of the therapists at the Long Island Institute of Sex Therapy, you know we love Babeland. LIIST has now developed a relationship with Babeland, so you can find all of their best products simply by clicking right ::here::!

Along with their website, Babeland also has three stores in New York that we highly recommend you pay a visit to.

 

What is Sex Therapy?

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It is understandable that you’d be concerned with what “sex therapy” might entail. We are often asked what a client might expect from sex therapy at LIIST.

Sex therapy is talk therapy with behavioral components. What that means is, in the office, we talk. The therapist never engages in physical contact with you. At first we talk about the history of who you are as a person, your family history, your dating/relationship history, your sexual history, and then the history of this problem in particular. With talk therapy, we work through any of the underlying psychological causes of your sexual difficulties. With behavioral therapy, we give you guided activities to do at home either with or without a partner. These activities start out very “low impact” and gradually work their way up to your goal. Each step is met with success before moving on to the next one. Especially throughout this process, your feedback is essential in order for us to customize your treatment to you.

Because collaboration is important, we often combine therapy at LIIST with the many allied individual and couples therapists, gynecologists, urologists, pelvic physical therapists and fertility specialists. You can contact our top Additional Resources here (go to the middle of the page).

Most people start off with weekly appointments for about 2-3 months and then move to every other week appointments for another 2-3 months, then either end therapy or move to monthly maintenance sessions for a few months, with the possibility of progressing to maintenance sessions every 3 months, or annual check ins if desired.

I hope that helps answer some of the questions you might have. Still wondering why you should go to a sex therapist?

LIIST on the Radio talking about Sex Addiction

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Did you listen to Rosara Torrisi on LI News Radio this evening with host David Levenstein and author/advocate Frank Vetro? Curious about sex addiction or out of control sexual behavior? Call us at 516-690-6779 or email us at RosaraTorrisi@lisextherapy.com. In collaboration with with Peter Kanaris in Smithtown, we have weekly therapy groups for both the identified client and a separate group for their spouses or significant others.

About Rachel Hoffman, LMSW

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Rachel Hoffman is a licensed social worker who has considerable experience working with teens and young adults. With an eclectic therapy style, Rachel has treated people with symptoms of depression and anxiety, especially those going through life-transitions such as break-ups, divorce or the death of a loved one.

Rachel is also a contributing writer for Elite Daily, focusing on the influence of technology on dating. Rachel ran an initiative for single parents living in the Queens area and run support groups for single parents and their children. Additionally, Rachel assists patients as a social worker on both the Oncology and Obstetrics units at the NYU Langone Medical Center.

Rachel is a member of both AASECT and NASW and is currently in graduate school earning her PhD in Human Sexuality.

Why Collaboration is Important

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A friend recently sent me this article, particularly noting my propensity for collaboration with other providers.

Particularly important from this article is the following quote: “Further hindering change is the fact that adult physical medicine and psychological medicine remain in separate silos. Utilising ACE research requires breaking down these long-standing divisions in healthcare between what is ‘physical’ and what is ‘mental’ or ‘emotional,’ and that’s hard to achieve.”

ACE stands for Adverse Childhood Experiences (such as abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction) which all lead to a greater likelihood of early death. Learn more about the pyramid from the CDC hereace_pyramid_wotext

 

This is also exceptionally present in my research on the sexuality of lesbian survivors of breast cancer. Health disparities start well before someone comes out as being gay. It’s also why I refuse to compare lesbian women and heterosexual women in my study. Yes, breast cancer is often a woman’s issue, but how an individual’s risks led them to that point isn’t just based on them being female. In my practice, so many of my clients find themselves sitting across from me because of events that started well before they were even conceived, let alone while they were growing up or what happened five months ago. I am enamored that good psychotherapy and good healthcare allows individuals the possibility of overcoming some of those obstacles. One of the ways I, particularly as a social worker, can assist in making this is possible for my clients is in collaboration with other allied people and professionals.