We offer a comprehensive psychosexual assessment for people with learning disabilities.
The service is also available to people aged over 16 with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (including Asperger’s Syndrome), who are socially vulnerable and present with or are at risk due to sexuality issues.
Sexuality is an integral part of human development, interlinked with the physical, emotional, psychological and social growth of a person. The term psychosexual reflects its multifaceted nature highlighting that sexuality does not refer merely to the sexual performance but includes psycho-social adjustment and maturation.
Common psychosexual issues include:
- Sexual dysfunction
- Relationship difficulties
- Gender identification and developmental difficulties
- Sexual practices that cause distress to the person and others
- Sexual addiction and impulsivity
- Sexual trauma (chronic or acute sexual abuse, sexual assault)
- Sexually harmful behaviour and sexual offending
- Risk attitudes and behaviours associated with sexuality
The psychosexual assessment aims to explore and understand the origins, causal and sustaining factors of any of the above issues in order to identify the best possible treatment option. Each person is unique and although the psychosexual difficulties may be common to many, the experience of living with and managing these difficulties differs enormously between individuals.
The assessment lasts between six to eight sessions and includes individual sessions with the service user as well as contact with their family and carers where appropriate.
The psychosexual assessment focuses on the sexual history, the service user's current sexual practices and any social, relationship and risk issues associated with these practices. It includes a social, family and developmental history and it takes into account the service user's medical record.
The psychosexual assessment will conclude to:
- Case formulation
- Specific treatment recommendations
- Recommendations for managing possible risks
Recommendations for treatment options will be based on the history, assessment and risk information and will suggest the most appropriate interventions for the individual, which might include individual, couple and /or group therapy.
Based on the assessment, the length of recommendations may vary from brief treatment processes, through medium and long-term treatments where appropriate and recommended, to open-ended treatments in unusual and specific circumstances, according to the outcome of the assessment.
On some occasions, we may offer consultation to family and other professionals as well as staff training.
Where relevant, recommendations for treatment may be directed to other more appropriate, relevant or specialist services.
We are committed to keeping assessment information confidential, and all service-user-related information will be stored according to CNWL's record–keeping and information governance protocols. The psychosexual assessment reports will include a description of the service user's issues and will mainly focus on the treatment and risk management recommendations. We will discuss the report with the service user, and we will consult them about the content of their psychosexual assessment report and the recommendations made.
The commitment to confidentiality would not however, be sustained when:
- There is a risk of harm to self or others.
- If the clinician is subpoenaed to give evidence by the court.
In any of these cases, the service user will be informed about the information given to other parties. The rationale for the decision will be made clear to them, and their agreement to release such information sought wherever possible.
We welcome referrals for people aged over 16, with a diagnosis of learning disabilities, Autistic Spectrum Disorder or Asperger’s Syndrome, who are socially vulnerable due to their presenting psychosexual difficulty.
We accept referrals from:
- Medical professionals (GPs, psychiatrists, urologists)
- Psychologists and psychotherapists
- Social workers
We also accept self-referrals (we may ask your permission to contact your GP or other professionals involved in your care if this is necessary for funding and/or if more information is needed in the course of the psychosexual assessment).
It is important that the referred person consents to the referral. There may be occasions where the person finds it difficult to understand what the Psychosexual Assessment Service is about, but they would still need to be aware of the reasons for their referral to the service.
Referrals should be sent to:
The Psychosexual Assessment Service
134 Honeypot Lane