Sex is one of the most personal and important areas in a person's life, and seeking help for sexual challenges can feel vulnerable and scary. Finding a place to address sexual concerns that feels safe, sacred and nonjudgmental is crucial for clients to open up about their most private feelings.
A clinical sexologist has unique training to become nonjudgmental about sexual issues and create a safe and sacred space for exploring sexual feelings. A private consultation offers clients an opportunity to work at their own pace and receive personalized care for targeted, rapid progress. The following types of private consultation are available for individuals and couples:
Sex counseling allows individuals and couples to address sexual concerns, rehabilitate after a sexually debilitating event, or enhance sexual satisfaction.
Individual and couples sexual counseling helps you to identify your sexual goals and offers education, resources, tools and techniques to help you meet those goals and ultimately manage your own sexual growth. The process entails the following steps:
- Helping you to identify where you are when you arrive for your first session and where you ultimately want to be.
- Helping you to identify the factors that allow you to feel safe and those that prevent you from meeting your sexual goals.
- Designing and suggesting exercises to help you progressively expand your sexual comfort zone until you reach your goals.
This is considered “brief therapy,” which is rapid and goal-oriented couseling. If sexual difficulties appear to be rooted in deeper issues that require intensive therapy, I (Dr. Heather Howard) will refer you to a therapist. If I feel that you require medical attention before or during your work with me, I will do my best to provide a referral.
All of the work in private sessions is done through verbal communcation and designed to teach you specific skills needed to reach your goals. If experiential modalities are desired, I can facilitate guided meditation, Voice Dialogue and Body Dialogue. I do not practice modalities that include touch, and you will remain clothed in all of your private sessions. There may be exercises in which you will practice non-sexual touch with your partner during a session, if it is appropriate. All sexual touch between you and your partner will take place during home-play assignments and we will review your assignments in the following clinical sessions.
Some of the skills you may lean through our work together include the following:
- Body knowledge and acceptance (e.g. sexual anatomy &
physiology, pleasure and pain mapping)
- Identifying comfortable sexual situations and activities
- Developing sexual competence and confidence
- Developing trust with one’s body and partner
- Becoming embodied (helpful with dissociation commonly
seen with trauma and chronic pain)
- Remaining present and managing self-talk and anxiety during
- Building a safe and sacred space for intimate connection
- Setting boundaries
- Developing an appropriate sexual self
- Working through fear of touch and loss of control
- Improving verbal and nonverbal sexual communication
- Recalibrating the brain’s assessment of painful touch
- Breaking the association between sexuality and pain or
If you ever require a hands-on approach, I will provide you with a referral to a qualified practitioner.
Consultations take place in person or over video chat (Skype). Clinical evaluations last up to 2 hours and follow-up sessions are offered as 60-minute or 90-minute sessions. Clients who seek experiential techniques for mind-body integration prefer 90-minute sessions. Please contact The Center for Sexual Health and Rehabilitation for more details and to schedule your consultation with Dr. Heather Howard.
Rates are available on the Payment Information page.
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Sexual Rehabilitation Program:
This program is designed for couples who have experienced sexual challenges related to health conditions such as pelvic or sexual pain, chronic pain, or limited mobility. You will achieve reduced fear of pain, improved sexual confidence, and satisfying sexual activities for both partners.
You are your partner can come for a series of private clinical sessions to identify your goals and design your customized plan and then follow through with the plan through home-based assignments and with short sessions over the phone or Skype.
Your initial clinical series can be done in an intensive manner or can be spread out over a period of time. At the end of the clinical series, you and your partner will have an understanding of your current and desired sexual patterns, the best approach to teamwork based on your communication styles, and a plan for achieving your goals through home-based exercises. Perceived obstacles to progress such as fear, pain, shame, frustration, feeling incomplete or dysfunctional as a partner, will be identified and addressed in the program.
Follow-up phone or Skype sessions will provide you with support and encouragement while you are performing your home-based treatments or exercises, and will provide me with the information required to design subsequent exercises.
How does the program work? What happens during a session?
I will work collaboratively with you and your partner to help each of you as individuals and as a team to better understand your bodies, your partnership, and your sexual needs and desires. Through education and assignments geared towards meeting your sexual goals, your sexual confidence and competence will increase and you will be empowered with information and tools necessary to manage your own care and improvement. You will also better understand your partner and have tools for communicating your needs on an ongoing basis.
The way this works is we figure out what feels safe, comfortable and pleasurable now. Then we expand your zone of safety, comfort and pleasure. The following are the steps we will take during your initial clinical sessions:
- Identify the goals of each individual and the couple as a team
- Discuss each partner’s sex and health history and identify any changes that have taken place due to health or other challenges
- Map your pleasure and pain patterns
- Learn about your past and current sexual patterns as a couple
- Identify long-term sexual options and short-term steps to get there
The short-term steps mentioned in # 5 will be implemented through home-play assignments and follow-up telephone or Skype sessions. Follow-up sessions offer support with the process, keep you on track towards meeting your long-term goals, and allow me to gauge your short-term progress in order to ensure your homeplay assignments are designed appropriately.
Please contact The Center for Sexual Health and Rehabilitation for more information and to schedule your program.
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Product Education Consultation:
Pleasure tools and products that enable sexual positioning or provide pain relief are becoming increasingly sophisticated. I maintain relationships with product designers, manufacturers and distributors to keep up with the latest inventions, and have launched the Ergœrotics™ website to provide products to support comfortable pleasure.
If you have vulvar pain, sensitive skin or are susceptible to vaginal infections, learning about materials, ingredients, design and function will be especially important for you. If you have limited mobility or experience other types of pain, finding products that help you maintain sexual positions and reduce pain can enhance your sexual satisfaction and that of your partner. If you are perfectly healthy and are simply seeking products that deliver what they promise so that you don't end up with a nightstand full of expensive junk, I can help you, too!
Consultations for Product Selection take place over the phon. Please contact The Center for Sexual Health and Rehabilitation to schedule your Product Education Consultation with Dr. Heather Howard.. You are also welcome to ask questions about products in clinical sessions, but advanced notice will ensure that I will have samples for you to see. Rates are available on the Payment Information page.
If you live in the Bay Area and would like to share the wealth and treat your friends to a tutorial in the world of pleasure and pleasure devices, consider hosting a pleasure education party and give your friends the gift of knowledge and sexual enrichment.. If you are a healthcare practitioner or professional, consider hosting a pleasure education workshop for your clients. Please contact The Center for Sexual Health and Rehabilitation to dicsuss details.
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Dr. Heather Howard is the founder of Ergœrotics®, a systematic approach to comfortable pleasure which fits the erotic activity and environment to the needs of the user(s). This consultation is ideal for people who experience physical challenges that limit sexual options or cause discomfort with sexual activity. It entails assessing client and partner needs and limitations, offering resources, and suggesting adaptive strategies to prevent injury and improve sexual options, pleasure and comfort.
Ergœrotics® consultations last up to 2 hours and may be conducted in person or over video chat (Skype). Rates are available on the Payment Information page.
Please contact The Center for Sexual Health and Rehabilitation to schedule your consultation with Dr. Heather Howard.
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