Critical Annotation – Carey, M, Wincze, J (2001) – Sexual Dysfunction, Second Edition

Wincze has given an enlightening overview of sexual dysfunction in the book, Sexual Dysfunction, second edition. Throughout the book, the reader grasps the concept of what sexual dysfunction is and then understands how to work with clients with sexual dysfunction.

First, counselors need to understand what sexual dysfunction is. There are various definitions; however, Wincze states sexual dysfunction is an impairment or disturbance in sexual desire, arousal, or orgasm. The disturbance can be branched out into many sub-parts including hyper or hypo activity, pain, and fear.

Next, counselors look at the etiology of the sexual dysfunction. The basics of working with a client’s sexual dysfunction are to know that there is no simplicity to it. The core of the problem is not merely found in one or two specific items in the client’s life; however, an array of factors that have added up to the point where the client seeks help. Counselors need to understand the depth and extent of the time it will take to work through problems with the client. Neither the counselor nor the client knows the exact cause, root of the problem, thus making it impossible to fix within a short amount of time. Working through the problem may also cause further problems to emerge from the subconscious to the conscious, making an extensive therapy even longer.

Throughout Sexual Dysfunction, Wincze touches on a plethora of specific sexual disorders including how to assess and treat each one. However, while reading Wincze’s book, the idea of having more than one disorder is carelessly overlooked. Some clients may have clinical aspects of several dysfunctions, but lean more towards a specific one.

Another topic, which was not expounded upon, was the topic of sexual preferences. The therapists must understand the client’s sexual preferences and accept the client’s sexual preference rather than molding the client into a social acceptance box. Therapists must be open to accept the client’s variety of atypical sexuality and work with the problem without allowing the therapists’ personal views and feelings to intervene. The counselor must be very careful of transference. Working with clients who are far outside the social ‘norm’ may make many counselors unable to treat the problem. This is where referrals are necessary.

Overall, Sexual Dysfunction is a great overview and insight to what sexual dysfunction is and how to assess and treat it. Wincze mixes no words and does not hold back when giving information on the subject. Even if a counselor is not going into the field of Sexual Therapy, Sexual Dysfunction is a great book to read for a mere understanding, which will allow the therapist to do an efficient referral.

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