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Psychotherapeutic Approaches to Sexual Problems

An Essential Guide for Mental Health Professionals

Stephen B. Levine, M.D.

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  • ISBN 978-1-61537-285-0
  • Item #37285

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Regardless of specialty or preferred therapeutic approach, most mental health professionals will eventually have to confront their patients' sexual concerns—whether directly or in the course of addressing other problems. Yet, despite the fact that the importance of sex to mental health has been recognized for over a century, training in the preclinical and clinical years often skims over the topic.

With Psychotherapeutic Approaches to Sexual Problems, senior clinical sexuality specialist Dr. Stephen B. Levine offers both mental health trainees and advanced practitioners a comprehensive introduction to this educationally overlooked arena.

In tackling issues that include premature ejaculation, anorgasmia, erectile dysfunction, sexual pain, sexual identity, paraphilia, and betrayal, this guide aims to increase its readers' comfort and confidence in assisting patients with their sexual concerns. The author provides a thoughtful discussion of the nature of love—as an active, evolving process involving psychological intimacy, intense sexual interest, and commitment—and shows how sexual problems create barriers to loving.

With its personal, supervisory tone, this volume also seeks to stimulate readers' professional interest in the topic, providing a useful perspective on patients' stories. Concise, easily digestible chapters make this a valuable primer for professionals from a range of backgrounds, whether psychiatry, psychology, social work, counseling, marriage and family therapy, nursing, or pastoral counseling.


  • Chapter 1. A Professional View of Sexual Life
  • Chapter 2. The Simple Male Dysfunction
  • Chapter 3. The Developmental Female Dysfunction
  • Chapter 4. Introduction to Erectile Dysfunctions
  • Chapter 5. Women's Sexual Desire: Life Cycle Perspective
  • Chapter 6. Betrayals
  • Chapter 7. The Gender Revolution
  • Chapter 8. Another Barrier to Loving: Paraphilia
  • Chapter 9. Sex Is a Psychosomatic Process: Mysteries
  • Chapter 10. Your Professional Development
  • Appendix: Further Reading and Resources
  • Index

About the Authors

Stephen B. Levine, M.D., is clinical professor of psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio, and psychiatrist at DeBalzo, Elgudin, Levine, Risen, LLC, in Beachwood, Ohio.

Steve Levine is the most prominent psychiatrist in the human sexuaity field in the United States. His thoughtful, insightful approach to assessment and treatment of sexual concerns is invaluable for mental health professionals. This book highlights his groundbreaking approach to the complexity of the roles, meanings, and outcomes of sexual therapy. Levine's work is the gold standard in the sexuality field.—Barry McCarthy, Ph.D., Professor of psychology at American University and author of Sex Made Simple

Dr. Levine weaves clinical pearls with good clinical science from his years of experience as a sex educator and clinician and it shows. He provides the reader with insight into how a therapist may choose to approach cases with sexual concerns with practical insights and therapeutic suggestions from both pharmacologic and psychodynamic directions. It is not so technical that it won't assist the casual therapist but also not so basic that even an experienced clinician won't find value here. This book provides a resource to prescribing and non-prescribing practitioners alike and fills a void in the literature by giving specific examples of how to approach clinical dilemmas of a sexual nature. Dr. Levine's distinguished background as both prescriber and therapist allows him to draw on his years of experience and simplify the sometimes complicated presentations of patients with sexual complaints and then provide the thought process to aid with conceptualizing the problems and then coming up with a treatment plan. I recommend this book as a useful resource for those who treat these kinds of patients, even if they have been doing it for years already.—Adam Keller Ashton, M.D., M.S., DFAPA; Partner, Suburban Psychiatric Associates; Distinguished Fellow, American Psychiatric Association; Clinical Professor, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; Fellow, Society for Sex Therapy and Research

Levine, once again, masterfully guides the clinician who is interested in assisting clients seeking psychological therapy for sexual health concerns—this time, however, with a focus on the clinician with minimal past training in sexual health. Levine's writing will fill the gap for any mental health clinician longing to better understand our clients' sexual concerns. In addition to providing the most updated evidence-based information, Levine shares wisdom from his lifetime of work on sexuality. With specific instructions on how to manage sex-related issues, this book is sure to be popular among all mental health clinicians.—Lori A. Brotto Ph.D., R Psych, Canada Research Chair in Women's Sexual Health, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of British Columbia; Executive Director, Women's Health Research Institute

Psychotherapeutic Approaches to Sexual Problems: An Essential Guide for Mental Health Professionals addresses early phase clinicians in a warm personal voice guiding them to understand and gain comfort with the complexities of individual's and couple's sexual lives. Dr. Levine augments his unique perspectives with thought-provoking clinical vignettes. Unfortunately, graduate, medical schools, and residency training give short shrift to teaching clinical sexuality. This book is like having a sage supervisor who has unique perspectives on love, sexual function, infidelity, gender and paraphilic concerns. I highly recommend it for beginning clinicians who wish to gain confidence in working with their patient's sexual lives.—Stanley E. Althof, Ph.D., Executive Director, Center for Marital and Sexual Health of South Florida; Professor Emeritus, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

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