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Key Information

Date: Saturday, March 4th 2017
9:30am - 4:30pm 
Speakers: Alessandra Lemma, Professor of Psychological Therapies; Dr David Weeks, Former Head of Old Age Clinical Psychology services at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital; Vivienne Gross, Systemic Psychotherapist/Family Therapist, Supervisor, Consultant and Trainer.
Chair: Janice Hiller, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Senior Academic Tutor in Psychosexual Studies
Fees:  £130  
Venue: Tavistock Relationships, 70 Warren Street, London W1T 5PB
Course code: CF01

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This 2017 Tavistock Relationships psychosexual conference is bound to be a popular event for all interested in the subject of sexual therapy from the professional perspective. This years’ theme explores how the representation of the body in the mind can impact sexual interactions. Please note this conference has COSRT approval for 5.5 hours CPD.  

With the current availability of idealised body images in our culture, and the ever-present focus on sexual behaviour, we anticipate high demand, so interested parties are advised to book early.

Dr. Alessandra Lemma will talk about the sex worker as mirror: distinguishing affirming from defensive use of sex workers. For some people considerable conflict and shame are linked with the experience of sexuality that could manifest later as a marked failure to organize one’s own pleasure and desire in an optimal secondary level way. In this paper Lemma puts forward the possibility that one of the functions of physical contact with sex workers may be understood as an attempt by some men to integrate psychosexuality where the sex worker acts as a validating mirror for the man’s sexual desire. 

Vivienne Gross will cover eating disorders, body image and sexual relationships. Eating disorders consistently have their psychological roots in adolescent development, and even where the ED manifests itself apparently with its’ onset in adulthood, many sufferers report self-dissatisfaction as clear memories from their adolescent years. The majority of ED’s appear during mid-teen years, but the earliest onset seems to be consistently been dropping in average age over recent years.

Similarly, body-image dissatisfaction is creeping down the age-range in concerning ways and affecting younger and younger girls [typically] although ED’s and body-image concerns are showing in a growing minority of male sufferers too.

Relationally, ED’s have an effect of ‘numbing’ or freezing sexual feelings , and strongly held concerns about body-image, weight and shape can overwhelm the person’s capacity to engage fully in intimate relationships.

Public attention to the impact of normative images of the body, and appearance/s in general are increasingly being highlighted and debated, yet not all of the population who receive and are influenced by advertising and other media images go on to develop ED’s, so what is the link between body image, ED’s , psychosexual development and intimate / family relationships?

This presentation offers insights into clinical dilemmas relating to ED sufferers, their partners, their families and the relationship between body-image concerns and lived experience in sexual relationships, family relationships, and parenting roles and relationships

Dr Weeks' talk contrasts the reality of the positive impacts of lifelong sexual activity, bonding and intimacy, and good self-images, to the negative impact of ageist attitudes on self-esteem and well-being in old age. The evidence on which this is based comes from international research, with particular reference to the connections between health, appearance, positive feelings and ways of thinking individuals have about themselves. This is contrasted to research on social isolation, loneliness and impoverishing experiences relating to perceived decline in the last third of the life span. 

There follows an exploration of the conceptual and practical significance of extending equality for sexual expression into the middle and later years. The beneficial effects of sex are examined fully, showing how backward-looking media influences and attitudes have detrimentally effected misguided, narrow and insufficient approaches to sexual health education, and the low priority allotted to sexual and relationship therapies. 


If you experience any problems during the application process, please contact the Training Administration team on 020 7380 8288 or training@tavistockrelationships.ac.uk

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Continuing Professional Development

Our aim at Tavistock Relationships is to create a programme of high-quality, informative and clinically useful CPD. In choosing topics, we aim to ensure we offer fresh subjects to stimulate new thinking and debate as well as continuing to offer repeat workshops for which there is on-going popular demand.

"An excellent, informative day, which assisted me in joining up a range of different perspectives / issues."

CPD attendee 2015