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Psychosexual and relationship therapist. Author of The Essential Companion to Talking Therapy, Watkins Publishing https//ko-fi.com/karinblak www.karinblak.co.uk

Mental Health

The spoken but unnoticed challenges to our tender mental health conditions

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When we speak about experiences of mental health issues, we often talk about how we “fight” with depression, or that we need to “beat” anxiety or panic attacks. We talk about how we must “struggle through”, or that we are “battling” with a borderline personality disorder. We listen to reports and read articles about how people have “waged a war” against their mental health issues.

Although the words we use have been long established in our language and we use them without thought, it does seem that we are unknowingly nurturing a hostile environment for our mental health conditions. …


Not being able to urinate when needed can be physically harmful and psychologically stressful

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You may ask what a bashful bladder is and how it can affect those experiencing it, and in fact, I had to look it up when a therapy client told me about the struggles he was experiencing. It was then I realised that this is one of those topics that doesn’t get talked about and consequently people suffering from a bashful bladder are often of the opinion that they are alone in their struggles. Perhaps you are one of many who are suffering in silence?

What is a bashful bladder?

A bashful or shy bladder or, in medical terms, paruresis¹ is a condition that makes…


How to manage the effects of personal change on your relationship

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A couple of days ago I noticed an advert for a website, promoted with the slogan, “Therapy Damages Your Relationship.” After giving this rather strong statement some thought, I came to the conclusion that there might be some truth in this.

As a relationship therapist, I see couples who experience trouble because of one partner’s individual therapy. Each case presents itself with similar issues: One partner has achieved greater self-awareness through the process of therapy and now needs, and wants, a change in their relationship.

Individual therapy is a fantastic tool for self-development and creating a greater sense of self-awareness…


Understanding why can bring clarity and make it easier to cope with

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The end of therapy can produce emotions that in themselves are difficult to cope with. Losing the therapeutic relationship can evoke feelings similar to those we experience after a relationship break up.

Our therapist is very aware of the emotions this ending can evoke and will be prepared to work through these with us. Usually, at the end of therapy, we leave with a sense of hope and a longing to stand on our own feet, ready to embrace our life.

However, now and then, there are situations when therapists decide to end therapy earlier than expected. These are rare…


Know the difference to get what you need

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A question I have frequently been asked as a therapist is how therapy is different from talking with parents or a trusted friend. It’s a good question, after confiding in a good friend can give us ideas and we might hear how they see our situation. We could even see some options we hadn’t thought of.

Talking with someone we know, and trust might be comforting and reassuring, and we could call these conversations therapeutic because they provide us with something we need and moves us from one emotional state to another. …


Sexuality

How to treat vaginal atrophy

Two zippers
Two zippers
Image by Thomas Sobek on Unsplash

There are many conditions that can cause vaginal pain during intercourse; one is vaginal atrophy. This condition often stops women from taking part in lovemaking, let alone enjoying it. The worry is that penetration will hurt them, and with that worry, their sex drive falls flat on the floor. Although the condition can affect women of any age, it is mainly after menopause sets in it is experienced.

Vaginal atrophy can seriously affect relationships, and yet very few women talk about their experiences. Some are embarrassed, while others don’t know where to go for help, accepting that it is a…


Men’s Health

Understanding the emotional impact of erectile dysfunction

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Erectile dysfunction (ED) is commonly talked about as an issue mainly older men experience. Although it is more common with increasing age, it really can happen to men at any stage of their adult lives. The danger of ascribing this experience to a certain age group is:

1. Men younger than 40 will not seek the help they, need believing that they are somehow faulty or that it will go away by itself.

2. Men over the age of 40 can feel helpless, believing that it is part of the ageing process and there is no useful help to be…


What is available and how it works

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We might think of erectile dysfunction as something only older men experience. While it is true that it is more likely to happen with increasing age, not being able to get or keep an erection can affect men at any age.

Being able to get an erection is often taken for granted and can be closely linked with how a man perceives himself, being part of their identity. When erection issues then arise, it can result in reduced confidence and self-esteem affecting how a man thinks about himself as a father, husband and in some cases, even at work. …


Sex therapy

An interview with Albertina Fisher, psychosexual and relationship therapist

Image by Pablo Heimplatz

Psychosexual therapy has long been misunderstood. There are media stories and documentaries circulating about sex therapy which includes the actual act of sex! So it is little wonder we can get caught up in believing that this is what will be expected of us if we were to engage with psychosexual therapy. But nothing could be further from the truth.

In my interview with Albertina Fisher, a psychosexual and relationship therapist, on The Talking Space podcast, she tells me how psychosexual therapy focusses on talking about our experiences, our emotions and thoughts when being intimate with our partner or ourselves…


Or, Why Ben didn’t want to wear his red nose

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It can be tough to be a boy, especially when you are young and just beginning to discover what it means to belong, or ‘fit in’. Ben was such a boy and his dad told me a story that made me think about our peers’ influence on our individuality, or our differences.

The story of Ben’s red nose

It was Comic Relief in the UK, also known as Red Nose Day, and Ben’s primary school had organised a fun sports event to raise money for Children in Need. Ben and his dad had been talking about the importance of this day and Ben, being 7 years…

Karin Blak

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