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Mindfulness-based CBT and women’s sexual dysfunction: applications for low desire, sexual distress, and provoked vestibulodynia

Mindfulness-based CBT and women’s sexual dysfunction: applications for low desire, sexual distress, and provoked vestibulodynia

Mindfulness is the practice of intentionally being fully aware of one’s thoughts, emotions and physical sensations in a nonjudgmental way. Although mindfulness is rooted in Eastern spiritual practices, it is rapidly being embraced in Western approaches to both physical and mental health care.The empirical literature testing mindfulness for sexual problems is limited to two non-controlled studies and one qualitative study in non-distressed couples. The author co-developed a 3-session mindfulness-based CBT and tested it in two non-controlled studies. It was found to significantly improve several indices of sexual function and reduce sexual distress in women with iatrogenic sexual desire and arousal difficulties (Brotto, Basson, & Luria, 2008) and in women with sexual arousal disorder associated with gynecologic cancer (Brotto, Heiman, et al., 2008).

The goal of this presentation is to discuss the findings from four controlled trials evaluating a mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral sex therapy in diverse samples of women.  Mindfulness-based interventions led to significantly improved measures of sexual response, reduced sexual distress, reduced catastrophizing, and improved indices of mood, anxiety, and quality of life in our diverse samples. Among different samples of women with sexual dysfunction, a 2- or 4-session mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral intervention significantly improved several indices of sexual function and significantly reduced distress compared to a wait-list control group. These studies provide further support for the utility of incorporating mindfulness into an array of complex sexual symptom presentations.

Speakers: Dr Lori Brotto
Conference: WAS Glasgow 2011

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