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208 | Hope for Sexual Intimacy: An Emotionally-focused Approach to Healing Sexual Cycles of Conflict in Marriage

Couples in Crisis, Relationship Conflict, and Marital Recovery, Thursday 9/14 2:15 – 3:30 PM, Workshop Tracks


W. Jesse Gill, Psy.D.



Approved For CE

Psychologists, Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, Licensed Clinical Social Workers

Approved For CME/CEU




Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy is an evidence-based treatment model that has demonstrated effectiveness in improving both the emotional and sexual connection in couples. A couple’s Negative Cycle is the primary barrier to emotional and sexual intimacy. Negative Sexual Cycles may pose a confusing challenge in couples’ work because sometimes an emotionally avoidant spouse functions as a sexual pursuer. This can give a misleading appearance about the levels of accessibility of the spouses. The pathway to healing is still the same, and it involves engaging both spouses in sharing their vulnerable feelings surrounding their sexual and emotional connection. This presentation is for psychologists and licensed mental health professionals who want more clarity and effectiveness in deepening the intimacy of their couple clients by specifically working on the emotions and needs that couples have within their sexual connection.

Learning Objectives

1. Describe the principles of attachment theory to understand the way that marital intimacy incorporates vulnerability at both the emotional and sexual level
2. Differentiate between a Negative Sexual Cycle and a Negative Emotional Cycle in the couples that they work with and identify the order of steps required to restore intimacy
3. Develop specific treatment plans for healing Negative Sexual Cycles in couples, which will include specific ways to soften sexual pursuers and engage sexual withdrawers
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