VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.
Counseling for Sexual Dysfunction Through the Lens of Attachment
Elisabeth D. Bennett, Amanda E. Beal, and Brooks W. Beal
Historically, attachment research has focused on relationships between children and caregivers. Research demonstrates that attachment style developed in childhood impacts adult romantic relationships. This paper asserts that in a romantic relationship, both members of a couple bring attachment styles that reciprocally impact sexual functioning. The resulting attachment style developed within the couple can interfere with a full sexual response cycle which can decrease an individual’s capacity to enjoy or participate in sexual intercourse thus resulting in sexual dysfunction (DSM-IV-TR; American Psychiatric Association, 2000). Therefore, counseling for sexual dysfunction necessitates the involvement of both partners, assessment of their attachment styles, and the creation, or enhancement, of the couple’s attachment system.