What you'll learn

  • Formulate specific questions that should be asked of patients to help them identify and navigate issues related to sex, sexuality, and gender that commonly arise in mid-older adulthood.

  • Identify intersectional patient identities which may affect their sexual and/or emotional lives.

  • Review biological and psychosocial aspects of sexuality in older adults, and accompanying stigma.

  • Summarize how cultural norms may affect an individual's mental health related to their gender identity or sexual lives.

  • Discuss how patient/therapist match, and transference and countertransference, affect the therapeutic alliance and the course of treatment.

Course description

Concerns about shifting sexual identity or sexual activity; the weight of cultural influences and social expectations; ageism related to sex in older age; the impact of trauma on relationships; and dealing with grief/loss of a partner, along with possible revival of sexual desire in later life, can all arise in the course of clinical care and may be strongly linked to the patient's mental health. In addition, the patient-clinician relationship may be influenced by transference and countertransference, contributing to further complexity. How should clinicians and therapists help their patients navigate these complicated issues? What should they ask and how should they work with each person's individual needs and desires?

We conclude our journey into sex, sexuality, and gender throughout the lifespan with a one-day intensive workshop consisting of four case vignettes that incorporate many of the themes we have touched on in prior series. Faculty will describe each case narrative in detail, after which the entire group (participants plus the faculty panel) will have an open discussion to explore the salient issues of the case and answer questions.

We invite you to join us and fellow colleagues to explore and discuss how to identify and address these important issues in clinical practice. Attendance at our prior series is not mandatory to register; we welcome all clinicians who treat adults and wish to enhance their comfort level and effectiveness discussing topics of sexuality and gender with their patients. 

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