Vaginismus: Addressing Anxiety in Physical Therapy Treatment

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Traditional biopsychosocial treatment models, goal-oriented towards achievement of painless intercourse, designate the physiological aspects of treatment to physicians and physiotherapists and the psycho-social aspects, including anxiety and aversion, to mental health professionals, including psychotherapists and sex therapists. However, as fear, aversion to touch and pain avoidance are significant characteristics of the patient’s response to physical examination and treatment, there is a recognized need for physical therapy practitioners to be skilled in addressing cognitions, anxiety and pain-related emotional responses in the clinical setting. This video offers a mindfulness-based approach to physical and behavioral interventions, which promotes feelings of safety and aims to encourage clients to suspend self-judgment, stay connected and present during treatment and experience personal autonomy such that they may find meaning in the sexual connection.

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