Description: Individuals with chronic illness can constantly experience emotional distress. It can also affect a person’s ability to engage in occupational, social and recreational activities. Chronic pain due to an illness can cause muscle tension, limited mobility, fatigue, and creates changes in appetite and sleep. Working with couples who experience problems related to chronic illness may have a difficult time being sexually intimate. Sexuality in a relationship involves a wide mix of feelings and emotions and when both the individual and their partner are battling a disease, the future of their intimate lives becomes uncertain and both partners feel that loss. This workshop will provide participants with the tools on how to assess for pain and identify the skills participants can use in couples sex therapy to assist in processing the couples emotions centered on chronic illness. This workshop will teach participants on how integrate various psychotherapy interventions used for pain management. Detailed descriptions will be presented on desire, arousal, and sexual dysfunction associated with chronic illness, including the myths associated with chronic illness and sex. The workshop will provide and engage attendees with treatment modalities used with couples in the treatment setting. This will include sex therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness and acceptance and commitment therapy.
- Explain the sexual response cycle
- List 4 myths associated with chronic illness and sex
- Demonstrate ways to assess for chronic pain due to illness
- Describe 2 modalities in treating chronic pain and illness
- Discuss ways to reclaim sexual intimacy with the couples that are affected with chronic illness
Dr. Melvin L. Phillips, Jr. is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Dr. Phillips has worked in several mental health and substance abuse treatment settings including outpatient community mental health, inpatient treatment, and private practice for the past 12 years. He is a speaker and has lectured on topics including preventative services, anxiety and stress management, caregiving stress, depression in the elderly, mindfulness and cognitive strategies for chronic pain, ethical decision making, and the assessment of mental disorders. He has published in the Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work, conducting a research study on LGBTQ-Affirmative Teaching at Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Understanding Program Directors Views. He holds a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree in Organizational Leadership with an emphasis in Behavioral Health from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, AZ. In addition, Dr. Phillips holds a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from Norfolk State University and is an adjunct professor in the Master of Social Work Program with the School of Social Work at Western New Mexico University. Dr. Phillips is employed at a group private practice in Washington, DC., Capitol Hill Consortium for Counseling and Consultation where he treats chronic illness and sexual dysfunction.