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1. One of your specialties is working with people who have been in violent relationships. How does having a past infused with violence affect the victim as they go forth into new relationships?
By having a past which was infused with violence, the likelihood of having future issues in a new relationship increases. Some of the possible issues which can occur due to one’s history of violence includes having a hesitancy or mistrust about trusting your partner or people in your future due to fear of them hurting you physically and or emotionally.
Sometimes if your violent history was traumatic, you may experience some emotional “triggering” which can sometimes lead to behaviour which may feel uncontrollable at times, and make you feel or respond in ways that you did in the past. A third common issue is the higher likelihood to take on a submissive role in relationships and thereby increase the likelihood and or tolerance of being abused or taken advantage of.
2. Can having a violent past affect a person’s perception of sex and sexuality? If yes, how so
Definitely!, One’s violent past can affect one’s perception of sex and sexuality, especially if the violence involved some form of sexual behavior. As mentioned earlier, if you have a history of traumatic sexual abuse, which included violence, your view could be that men, or even women, may only want sex from you and that they are entitled to this or you develop a negative view of sex or sexuality. On the flipside, sometimes people develop issues such as fetishes or philias based on being involved in a past history of violent sexual abuse. Sometimes, as a result of this experience, their body became sexually aroused while they knew it was not “right” or appropriate. The result of this learning can actually cause someone to react by being both sexually aroused as well as by being emotionally repulsed. Commonly, sexual issues occur due to unresolved emotional issues regarding their past or their partner and as a result many include sexual issues such as Vaginismus, painful sexual intercourse, erection difficulties and even premature ejaculation.
3. Do people being treated for anger management, depression or other issues tend to have higher instances of sexual problems? What types of problems may be prevalent in this group?
Sometimes individuals being treated for anger management and/or depression have higher incidences of sexual problems. This is due to a few possible reasons, one of them being due to taking certain medications. For instance, many antidepressants have sexual side effects which include low sexual desire or sexual numbness which thereby increase the likelihood of sexual difficulties occurring. Other sexual issues may include sex addiction and/or porn addiction, especially if ones coping mechanisms for dealing with their own personal issues (which includes anger and/or depression) are not sufficient enough or healthy enough. Commonly issues such as anger and depression are symptoms of underlying issues just like sexual dysfunction.
4. How would you advise a person who is struggling with their sexuality?
Struggling with one’s sexuality can take many different forms. One may struggle with issues such as sex addiction, level of sexual desire, level of sexual functioning, issues with orgasm and even issues such as gender preference and gender role. I strongly advise seeking out qualified therapists/professionals specializing in issues involving sexuality to help get a well grounded perspective and appropriately informed view about ones issues. The American Association of Sex Educators Counsellors and Therapists (AASECT) has a list of appropriately trained professionals online which anyone can access on their website at www.aasect.org.
5. What are the first steps you take when counseling a sexually incompatible couple?
Sexual incompatibility can mean many things. When exploring this issues with a couple coming to counseling one of the first things I want to do is have a good understanding of what the issues are, what their history is, what their goals are for coming to therapy and what are their personal views regarding sex. Once a good understanding of these historical and underlying beliefs/behaviors is gained, I have a much better chance of getting to know whether the couple is actually sexually incompatible or whether there are other issues which are impacting the couple and their sexuality. Commonly, issues come from either their own past, which makes the issue not usually directly related to their partner, or their relational dynamics, which is more related to how the couple behave together.
About Cory Hrushka: InsightPsychological.ca
Cory Hrushka is a Registered Psychologist who received his Undergraduate Degree from the University of Alberta and received his Graduate Degree from the University of Minnesota. He has also completed Doctoral work at the University of Alberta and Northcentral University.
In addition to his educational experience, Cory has worked in the non profit sector at community counseling agencies, teaches at Grant Macewan University and has also experience working at maximum security institutions and psychiatric facilities. While working in his practice he provides both assessment services (forensic, parenting educational) and counseling to children, adolescents, adults, couples and families. His specialty is in working with a wide variety of sexual issues as he is a Certified Sex Therapist, Diplomate of Sex Therapy and Clinical Psychologist.
Cory also has his celebrity side in which he was a regular guest Phone/Folk on Access/Help T.V. and has also made guest appearances on Breakfast television, CBC T.V., CBC radio and A Channel and has been quoted in many of the local newspapers.
Cory’s philosophy and approach to therapy is based on a client centered approach with a systemic and cognitive behavioral style allowing for good connection between the client and therapist while being active and focused on making effective change in the areas needed.
Read more of our expert interviews:
Betty Dodson, Renowned Sexologist, Author, Feminist, Educator
Dean Osborne, Human Nature of Cheating
Dr. MP Wylie, Relationship Advisor