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Isaak and Bella

The issue

Isaak was referred to his GP to seek therapeutic help because he lost his erection whenever he attempted sexual intercourse with Bella, his first serious girlfriend, whom he had met online. Medical tests had revealed no organic cause for this dysfunction. Isaak attended the first few sessions of therapy on his own.

The process

Isaak’s therapist suggested that the work would be more productive if the couple were seen together and, after some weeks, Bella arrived, albeit very reluctantly. Both partners explained that Bella had no problems.

The therapist made both Isaak and Bella feel comfortable enough to tell her about their sexual histories. Over time, she was able to suggest some links that she wondered might have a bearing on the couple’s difficulties, in particular around each of their childhood’s and their relationships – at both a conscious and unconscious level - with their parents.

The work wasn’t easy. Bella’s upbringing had left her quite a defensive person and the therapist sometimes felt that her efforts and suggestions were dismissed. But the feelings which were evoked in the therapist by talking to Bella and Izaak gave the therapist a strong indication about some of the experiences which they themselves had had.

The outcome

In time, through exploring the couple’s unconscious fears and the dynamics between them, things changed and Isaak was able to achieve satisfactory penetration and intercourse.

Each partner was able, thanks to the therapy, to form a more coherent narrative about their lives, and to be more in touch with some of the more painful and difficult experiences they had each had. As their emotional and sexual relationship changed and developed through the therapy, the couple were able to feel safe to play a little and to try out different and more creative roles.

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