Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sex - Benefits of Talk Therapy Over Medication

Unlike stereotypical versions of talk therapy where a doctor claims you want to have sex with your mother, a newer treatment called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), has been shown by plenty of studies to actually work.

Not only that, it changes your biology. Unlike other talk therapies, this type of treatment involves active learning and homework. As such, it can cause beneficial increases in the size of your brain that controls complex thinking - the cerebral cortex. In fact, CBT has also been shown to be just as effective as medication, just with longer lasting effects.

I would imagine that CBT continues to be beneficial after ending treatment because the time was taken over numerous sessions to rewire the brain. On the other hand, medication may act more by forcing it to function differently for a short period of time. Many drugs also come with a lot of negative side effects.

Unlike a lot of depression medications, CBT just doesn't numb your sexual experience. As Kiera Van Gelder so eloquently describes in her fantastic recovery memoir, The Buddha and The Borderline: "Sometimes when I see his body or smell his scent, I want to consume him with all of my senses. Then, when we meet skin on skin, it's like hitting a thick glass wall. 'It's the medication.' I tell him."

Although it may be advisable for some people to be on medication while in CBT, if you are choosing between talk therapy and drugs, make sure to do your homework. Trying a CBT therapist before medication might be a favorable option for you.

For more posts, check out The Psychology Easel and follow me on Twitter at @TaraDeliberto.
Post a Comment