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-DR. HEATHER S. HOWARD, Sexologist  Mind-Body Health Facilitator

 
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PROFESSIONAL TRAINING AND SUPPORT


This page is for practitioners seeking additional training or support for themselves or clients.  These value-added services offer your clients the benefit of a team approach.

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Products:
If you are trying to locate pleasure products and devices that consider the health care needs of your patients, look no further! We have launched our Ergoerotics® website to partner with healthcare provoders in promoting sexual health. You may refer your patients to our site directly or offer our products on your own website, blog, or in your office. In addition, you or your patients may schedule a consultation with us for personalized care in selecting the safest and most appropriate tools for their needs.

You may also order products for sexual education through us, such as the Wondrous Vulva Puppet (also available for purchase here):

 


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Speaking Engagements and Workshops:
If you would like to offer value-added services to your clients, schedule a lecture or workshop for your clients. I (Dr. Heather Howard) will be happy to design a topic with you that is relevant for your clients. Some suggested topics for presentation are included on the Speaking Engagements page. A pleasure education workshop geared towards those with health challenges offers new ideas for intimate connection and is rewarding for everyone who attends.

If you would like to learn more about sexology and how sexological support could benefit your clients, please contact me to setup a time to speak or meet. I would be happy to come to your office to meet with you and the practitioners in your practice.
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Training:
I (Dr. Heather Howard) offer a variety of professional courses that will help you support the sexuality concerns of your clients.  Courses are ideal for gynecologists, urologists, general practitioners, pain specialists, psychologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapy assistants, occupational therapy assistants, registered nurses, nurse midwives, and other rehabilitation professionals. Courses of 60 minutes or longer are eligible for CE credit through the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT).

Consider hosting the following courses:

"Ergœrotics®: Strategies for Comfortable Pleasure"
This course introduces Ergœrotics®, a systematic approach to comfortable pleasure which fits the erotic activity and environment to the needs of the user(s). At the end of the course, attendees are able to locate resources for patient support, suggest products that can improve or enable sexual comfort, and describe new positions for oral stimulation, manual stimulation, and intercourse.
Course can last 1-4 hours, depending on depth of information desired. For more information and patient resources dedicated to sexual comfort, please visit www.ergœrotics.com.

Please contact me to host this or a customized course at your clinic.

"Sexual Health Clinical Toolkit"
This course offers a clinical toolkit for health care providers that includes an introduction to sexual function, sexual health concerns, and sexual pain disorders, and an opportunity to learn and practice sexual interviewing and counseling. By the end of the course, attendees are able to ask the right questions about sexuality and respond appropriately to patients’ sexual concerns, whcih includes recommending specific activities, tools and resources to improve sexual comfort, pain management and sexual quality of life.
Course is offered as a 2-day intensive, and here is what participants are saying about it:

. "Heather is a gifted teacher . She not only has specific information and skills to impart to PT's, Nurses, OT's, NP's, MD's but understands the PT field so well that she spoke our language fluently." - Holly Herman, pelvic phsycial therapist and co-founder, Herman and Wallace Pelvic Rehabilitation Institute

. "It's about time!!! This course is so needed in the area of treating pelvic difficulties/ dysfunctions. It has been a long time since I've taken a "pelvic" course where I've learned so much that I can utilize the the clinic." - Brandi Kirk, founder and pelvic physical therapist, Kirk Center for Healthy Living, and instructor, Herman and Wallace Pelvic Rehabilitation Institute

. "The information given is so important and given in a professional way. There is such a need for specific sugestions and this has not been done before in a way that is scientific and presentable for all. Thank you for your passion!"

. "I truly enjoyed this course. I appreciate that I will be able to take information presented and either adapt it or directly apply it to my patient care/ treatment methodologies. Heather is very knowledgeable and passionate regarding sexuality and its components."

. "The greatest strength was Heather's demeanor. She is professional, articulate, approachable, and has great depth of knowledge."

. "I didn't expect to get so many ideas for my own sexual health and relationship."

. "You have provided me with an extensive source of information and have made the discussion of sexuality so much easier and free."

. "The entire space felt neutral and safe"

. "I apprecfiated Heather's enthusiasm and great emphasis on respect of cultural differences."

Please contact me to host this or another customized course at your clinic.

. . "Sexual Spectrum Education"
This process-oriented group program educates practitioners about the broad spectrum of human sexual behavior in order to increase their comfort around sexual issues and identify and address attitudes that interfere with effective sexual communication and counseling. 

Please contact me to host this or a customized course at your clinic.
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Coordinating Care:
My work is most effective as part of a multidisciplinary team.  I coordinate care with a variety of practitioners, including mental health professionals, pelvic floor physical therapists, urologists, gynecologists, physicians in sexual medicine, oncologists, gerontologists, nurse practitioners, physicians’ assistants, general practitioners, midwives, doulas, osteopaths, somatic practitioners, etc.
 
If you think we could work well together to support clients in healing and growth, please contact me in order to get acquainted.
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Frequently Asked Questions by Practitioners:

I am a therapist and my client requires ongoing treatment. Can we work together so that you help with just the sexual issues?
Absolutely.  I am not a therapist or medical doctor and I do not provide therapy or medical treatment.  I am a facilitator, which means I do not treat, heal or cure anyone.  I help clients to identify their sexual goals and empower them to meet their goals by providing education, support and training in appropriate tools.  I encourage conscious recognition and acceptance of their own needs and desires, as well as the inner strength required to manage their own growth and healing process at their own pace.

Because I offer tools to clients that illuminate and help them navigate their own sexual paths, they don’t need me for long.  Clients typically see me for 1-8 sessions.  Sometimes they return at a later date in order to meet a new goal.    

I will also send clients to you.  Often people with sexual concerns find that the sources of their problems are not sexual.  When deeper issues are uncovered that require exploration, I refer clients to therapists.   I will be happy to coordinate care if a client requests a team approach and has provided written consent to discuss private information.
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When is the right time to refer a patient with a health condition to you?
Each client requires sexological support at different points, but these are some times that are often appropriate:


    1. At diagnosis. 

    Often the first question patients have when they have been diagnosed with a chronic illness or an illness that will require invasive treatment is “how will this affect my sex life?” 

    When an illness is life-threatening, patients can feel ashamed to ask this question because quality of life seems to pale in comparison with questions of survival.  Information about how procedures could affect quality of life, including sexual functioning, helps patients to feel better prepared to make treatment decisions.  Having an advocate who values and can discuss sexuality can facilitate decision-making that balances crisis management with desire for residual function. 

    In addition, clients who are provided at the beginning of the process with resources to help maintain pleasurable activity throughout treatment or to rehabilitate sexually when they are ready to address the future can cope better with the illness and its recovery.  This is because a facilitator trained to address clients’ fears about their sexual futures can help reduce anxiety and offer a sense of control in an otherwise powerless situation. 

    When an illness is chronic, patients can go through the stages of grief for loss of their former lives or abilities.  When people endure pain over long periods of time, they tend to disengage from their bodies, and consequently, from sexual interaction.  Pain can also cause people to avoid sexual behavior.  Loss of sexual ability or connection can lead to loss of identity and confidence; people who no longer perform as they used to sexually have described feeling like they are not “performing their duties” as partners, like they are “less than human,” or “freaks of nature.”  Working with a sexologist who can understand these changes and provide pleasurable options at an early stage can facilitate coping and maintenance of identity.
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    2. When partners become involved in treatment.
    Patients willing to involve partners in their healing are often encouraged by practitioners to do so, as it can give clients a sense of control over their healing processes, facilitate healing, and enhance relationships.  Bringing in a clinical sexologist at that stage can enhance the transition process by encouraging communication about what this change in role means to each partner, by addressing the anxiety that comes along with trying new things, by addressing how treating sexual organs in a clinical manner could affect the sexual partnership, and by collaborating with couples to identify if and how the treatment be integrated into their sexual patterns.
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    3. When patients re-introduce sexual behavior that has caused pain in the past.
    For patients who associate sex with pain, even if pain treatments have been successful at reducing or eliminating pain, progress may stall at the point of re-attempting sexual activity.  Fear of a flare or relapse with sexual activity can prevent sexual adjustment and leave a patient pain-free but sexually disabled and traumatized.  A sexologist who understands a client’s medical condition can design a customized program to help a client or couple to gradually reintroduce sexual activity and rebuild sexual competence and confidence.   
      
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"I truly enjoyed this course. I appreciate that I will be able to take information presented and either adapt it or directly apply it to my patient care/ treatment methodologies. Heather is very knowledgeable and passionate regarding sexuality and its components."

-Women's Health Physical Therapist after completing Sexual Health Clinical Toolkit Course

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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