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Staying In Touch: Helping Couples Connect Through Sex And Emotion

January 23, 2016 @ 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

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Keynote Address: Embodied Intimacy, Stella Resnick, Ph.D

Even an emotionally attuned relationship can become dysregulated when it comes to sex.  Dr. Resnick will discuss the differences between explicit, left-brain verbal communication and implicit, right-brain, emotional body language and how each can either enhance or disrupt a couple’s sexual aliveness.  She will offer ways therapists can help partners thrive sexually by attending to their relational processes—their implicit, subtle messages communicated in facial micro-expressions, vocal tones and gestures when they address their sexual desires.

Dr. Resnick stresses the importance of therapists’ personal growth in their own sexual lives as a key factor in their clinical comfort and perceptiveness when it comes to helping clients with their sexual concerns. After a discussion of the main principles of this work she will do an experiential demonstration of useful methods for attuning to, and processing present-centered, felt-sense emotions. In this way, we will explore how the attuned therapist can help clients to first learn from their emotions, and then to interactively regulate their affect as they look to enhance their sexual pleasures.

Dr. Resnick’s presentation will help you to:

  1. Describe the difference between implicit and explicit communications and how each can dysregulate a couple in their sexual relationship.
  2. Recognize subtle cues that pass between partners, helping them to access and process the emotions that can derail their sexual pleasure and their ability to talk about it.
  3. Utilize the therapist’s own present-centered body-based experience in working with couples on their sexual relationship to foster a trusting alliance with clients and deepen their emotional processing.

Cultivating an Open and Curious Stance, Jay Seiff-Haron

A couple therapist’s curious and connecting stance provides the safety necessary for working with sexual concerns. When differences in sexual experience or expression exist between partners, or between therapist and couple, preconceptions can obscure signs of intense shame, longing or disconnection. This introduction will explore the opportunities and obstacles facing a therapist who seeks to remain open and curious in the face of personal and cultural diversities of sexual practice and experience.

Attachment and Sex: Building on Natural Bonds, Jeff Hickey

Many couple therapists report feeling poorly equipped to address sex concerns with their clients and it’s no wonder given the scant training on sex in most graduate programs.  At the same time many couples welcome the opportunity to discuss sex. After all a good sex relationship is both a satisfying part of living fully and a powerful bonding agent in relationships. The good news is that even if couple therapists aren’t well versed in sex therapy they can still do a lot to help, especially the emotionally focused therapist who uses an attachment frame to understand and attune to clients’ experience. This presentation addresses how to assess for specific sex problems in the context of Emotionally Focused Therapy.  Some examples include:

  • Using the treatment alliance to facilitate the sexual health assessment
  • Sharing basic information about sex that helps validate clients’ experience
  • Putting sex in its place in the cycle and identifying when it isn’t about the cycle
  • Seeing sex as content and process
  • Knowing when problems are and aren’t due to attachment related needs

Dr. Hickey will share with us a video of a couple in therapy, addressing the role of sex in their relationship, the blocks to more satisfying sex and the work they do to begin to engage more fully, both emotionally and sexually.


Stella Resnick, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, seminar leader, and AASECT-certified sex therapist and clinical supervisor in private practice in Beverly Hills, California. She trains, mentors, and supervises therapists in her “full-spectrum” neurobiological-Gestalt integration of couples therapy and sex therapy. Dr. Resnick trained with both Fritz Perls and Laura Perls, co-founders of Gestalt therapy and has been in practice for over forty years. Her latest book is The Heart of Desire: Keys to the Pleasures of Love. She can be reached through her website at
Jeff Hickey, LCSW, is a clinical social worker in private practice in Chicago where he’s been seeing couples for over twenty-five years. After training in an integrative problem-centered approach he learned of EFT 15 years ago and never looked back. Jeff is a certified EFT Trainer and Director of the Chicago Center for EFT. He is also an AASECT-Certified Sex Therapist and works with a broad population
Jay M. Seiff-Haron, Psy.D. is certified in EFT and is an EFT Supervisor-in-Training. Jay’s San Francisco practice specializes in interfaith, interracial and same-sex couples, as well as attachment-oriented custody evaluation. He uses “EFFT with toys” with preschoolers and parents after loss, violence, divorce or trauma, teaches at the Wright Institute, and is core faculty at Cross-Cultural Communications, a non-profit that runs process groups for social justice and cross-cultural dialogue. He can be reached through his website,

Registration Fee

$205 Member Late Registration
$225 Non-Member Late Registration
$129 Student Late Registration
$30 Additional for CEUs

Registration fee includes breakfast, lunch, and refreshments.

CE credit is available to psychologists, social workers, and MFT’s for an additional $30. LACEFT is an approved provider of continuing education credit by the American Psychological Association and the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.

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January 23, 2016
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
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Covel Commons at UCLA
200 De Neve Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90095 United States
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