Same Sex Attraction
Consultant & Coach

Enjoy one of my videos

Dr. Simcha Edward Sheldon presents on Hypnosis in the Treatment of Sexual Dysfunction, at the Israel Society for Sexual Medicine (ILSSM) annual conference, December 2010, Daniel Hotel, Hertzelia, Israel.

Topics included on this page
  • Testimonial from a former client
  • My approach to working with S.S.A.
  • An outline of my S.S.A. coaching process
  • My professional beliefs, values & restrictions
  • Who comes to see me for help regarding S.S.A.
  • How I work with S.S.A. clients
  • Determination of client's sexual orientation
  • Healing trauma and psychological disorders
  • Setting goals
  • Logistics regarding sessions
  • Helping clients with related psychological issues
  • Understanding same sex attraction
  • Identifying the reasons for my client's S.S.A.
  • My use of hypnosis & self-hypnosis with S.S.A.
  • The need for healthy relationships
  • Bisexuality & S.S.A.
  • S.S.A. within hetero-sexual marriage
  • Considerations regarding sexual fantasies
  • Case examples from my clinical practice
Related S.S.A. Services I provide
  • Individual Consultation
  • Evaluation of sexual orientation
  • Hypnosis to aid in evaluation (when appropriate)
  • S.S.A. Coaching
  • Family counseling
  • Marriage/Couple counseling
  • Psychotherapy for related issues (if needed)
  • Dating coaching
  • Pre-marital counseling
  • Ongoing assistance - when & if needed
Other Sexual Conditions I Treat
  • Premature ejaculation
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Sexual addictions
  • Performance anxiety
  • Inability to orgasm
  • Trauma – abuse – rape
  • Infidelity issues
  • Lack of desire
  • Lack of attraction
  • Herpes                           
  • Fear of intimacy or sex
  • Embarrassment or guilt
  • Unconsummated marriage
  • Painful intercourse
  • Vaginismus
  • Frigidity                                
  • Pelvic pain
  • Sexual addiction
  • Fetishes
  • Religious  issues
  • Infertility
  • Sexual identity issues
  • Same sex attraction difficulties
Personal Growth Goals
  • Strengthen Confidence
  • Increase Motivation
  • Improve memory
  • Increase concentration
  • Communicate Effectively
  • Increase Awareness
  • Reinforce positive attitudes
  • Increase Creativity
  • Improve Study Skills
  • Increase stamina
  • Reduce Stress
  • Relax Deeply
  • Sleep Well
  • Enhance Health & Healing
  • Overcome Fears
  • Eat healthfully

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Reproduction or use of any part of this website

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author’s written permission

Almost all of my clients and patients see improvement within a couple of sessions. In fact I tell all of my new and prospective clients and patients that they will know within two meetings if I am the right therapist for them.

Of course specific results cannot be guaranteed, and vary from client/patient to client/patient. Motivation and positive participation, as well as suggested homework are required of the patient. The work is a partnership between therapist and client/patient.

I want to give my patients the best treatment I can, and create the best treatment strategy for each patient. To do this, it is important for me to have the necessary information regarding their condition, medical history, and past and concurrent treatment, with other health professionals. I, therefore, request consultation with my patients’ medical doctors, when I treat them for medical or psychiatric diagnoses, or at least a copy of their medical report, so that I can offer the best services possible.              

At times hypnosis or another modality of therapy is not recommended or appropriate for a particular client/patient. Whether hypnosis or another modality is utilized in the treatment of my client/patient is determined after consultation and evaluation of the client/patient, the specific issues presented the preference of the client/patient, and the client/patient’s medical history.

Regarding hypnotherapy: Hypnotherapy and hypnosis are usually very good treatment interventions. However, hypnosis is contraindicated under certain circumstances. For example, hypnosis is usually contraindicated for individuals who suffer from severe psychiatric disorders, such as psychoses and schizophrenia.

A proper diagnosis and evaluation of each client/patient must be made before hypnosis is utilized. It is only at the request of the client/patient and at the evaluation and discretion of Dr. Sheldon that hypnosis will be utilized.

Often Dr. Sheldon consults with other physicians treating his client/patient as part of the evaluation and the creation of the proper treatment strategies, as well as to ensure that there is safety, harmony, coordination and consistency among the health professionals treating the client/patient and the treatment modalities utilized. Dr. Sheldon will also ask the client/patient to provide information regarding any medications or other drugs taken.

Regarding Testimonials and Endorsements: Of course what is written in testimonials and endorsements and professional recommendations represents the author’s experiences and opinions.

All of the above is for the well-being of the client/patient, and to make sure that all work is done with high ethical and professional standards, legally, effectively. I want to give excellent service and wants each of his clients/patients to be as successful as possible.

If you have any questions, please feel welcome to contact me.

For many years I have successfully helped
individuals, couples and families with issues related to
Same Sex Attraction, Sexual Identity,
Homosexuality, Lesbianism, Bisexuality, Transgender & Questioning

Notice: I DO NOT do Reparative or Conversion Therapy!

Topics included on this page
  • Testimonial from a former client
  • My approach to working with S.S.A.
  • An outline of my S.S.A. coaching process
  • My professional beliefs, values & restrictions regarding intervention
  • Who comes to see me for help regarding S.S.A.
  • How I work with S.S.A. clients
  • Determination of client's sexual orientation
  • Healing trauma and psychological disorders
  • Setting goals
  • Logistics regarding sessions
  • Helping clients with related psychological issues
  • Understanding same sex attraction
  • Indentifying the reasons for my client's S.S.A.
  • My use of hypnosis & self-hypnosis with S.S.A.
  • The need for healthy relationships
  • Bisexuality & S.S.A.
  • S.S.A. within hetero-sexual marriage
  • Considerations regarding sexual fantasies
  • Case examples from my clinical practice
My approach in the psychological assistance of individuals who have S.S.A.

I help individuals, couples and families resolve their issues regarding S.S.A. with open accepting supportive guidance. My focus is on helping individuals discover and accept who they really are, heal their psycho-emotional pain,  grow and become who they want to be. I provide coaching, counseling and therapy. I utilize professional, ethical, effective state of the art tools and interventions. I am always willing and happy to discuss points of view, values, and belief systems.

An Outline of My S.S.A. Coaching Approach and Process

Note that I use the word “coaching” and not “therapy” because as I stated above, S.S.A. is not a psychological disorder, although it may be a consequence of psychological, emotional, behavioral and/or social issues or difficulties.

I want to help my clients  accomplish their personal goals as effectively, efficiently, quickly and comfortably as possible.

In order for the process to work well, together my clients and I do the following:

  • Create a positive, comfortable working partnership with my client or patient
  • Present my beliefs, values, and restrictions regarding S.S.A.
  • Work with my client to understand the nature and source  of his/her S.S.A., including any significant issues difficulties and disorders that are related to the S.S.A.
  • Discuss and evaluate the appropriateness of my client’s wishes and goals regarding the S.S.A.
  • Discuss, evaluate and decide whether or not it is appropriate to work on changing my client’s S.S.A. experience
  • Discuss and choose appropriate goals of our work together
  • Discover the actual sources of the above issues and difficulties
  • Evaluate which knowledge, understanding, tools,  procedures, experiences and other resources are necessary for healing and achieving our goals
  • Consider and evaluate which resources are already available and which need to be acquired for success
  • Create effective and efficient strategies to acquire the needed resources and to achieve the chosen goals
  • Implement our strategies and processes for positive change

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My professional beliefs, values and restrictions

If a client asks for help with goals which I believe are unhealthy, illegal, harmful, inappropriate or against my ethics – I will share my point of view. I will not work in a way that is against my ethical or professional values. (Examples:  dangerous sexual behaviors, etc.)

I certainly do NOT engage in inappropriate therapeutic approaches which may be illegal, immoral, or harmful – such as Reparative Therapy or Conversion Therapy. I do help my clients to clarify who they are, and to create healthy effective strategies to live the kind of life that is in harmony with my client’s values and goals.

The issues and understanding of S.S.A. and the psychological and behavioral treatments of individual with S.S.A., and their friends and families are many and complex. The laws of the Department of Health as well as the guidelines of professional associations, such as the A.P.A. (American Psychological Association) are also complex.

It is important to state clearly that there are times when any kind of “treatment” regarding S.S.A. (Homosexuality, Lesbianism, and Bisexuality) are inappropriate and can be dangerous. There have been cases where patients committed suicide related to inappropriate treatment of S.S.A. Therefore, it is essential that professionals and those considering seeking advice in dealing with the issues of sexual orientation and identity are properly trained and understand the issues of treatment. Unfortunately, there are licensed professionals who do not properly understand the issues, and perhaps even worse, there are many people who are “treating” homosexuals, bisexuals, and others seeking help regarding sexual orientation and identity, without professional degrees, proper training or any license.

It is my professional opinion that “homosexuality” is NOT a mental or psychiatric disorder. Therefore, when clients work with me on issues related to homosexuality and sexual orientation and identity, my goal is not to heal or cure someone of an illness. Rather, I help my clients to clarify and achieve their goals and to relate with themselves and with others healthfully – psychologically, emotionally, behaviorally and socially.

I also believe that S.S.A. is NOT a mental or psychiatric disorder. However, I do believe that S.S.A., sometimes may be a consequence of psychological, emotional, behavioral and/or social issues or difficulties.

Who comes to see me for help with S.S.A. ?

There are many reasons why a person may come to my office regarding S.S.A.  It is essential for me to understand why the person sitting in front of me came to see me in the first place. Certain clients want to clarify what is going on inside, including why they think and feel the way they do. Some clients ask me to help them make a specific change, while others are unsure of what they want. Some clients want to get married and raise a family, while others want to save their marriage.

Some clients come to see me seeking help in resolving difficulties in their relationships with their families or friends that stem from the S.S.A. Certain clients are satisfied and content having attraction to the same sex . They just want their loved ones and others to accept them for who they are. In such situations I help my client to gain understandings and skills to improve these relationships. In addition, I may provide family therapy.

Some of my clients are the parents, siblings, spouses and friends of a person with S.S.A. who are seeking help in their own difficulties in accepting and relating with the person who has S.S.A.

Some clients are happy about seeking help; they want to be in my office working on feeling better inside and improving their lives, while others really do not want to be involved in the process at all. They may have friends who have successfully resolved their conflicts or issues and are in a much better place in their lives. Their friends’ successes provide an understanding that psychotherapeutic intervention can be helpful.

Some clients come to see me because they are being forced or coerced by others who are uncomfortable with the presence of Same Sex Attraction. These others may include parents, family, friends, clergy, teachers, or a spouse. In such cases I usually ask those who are uncomfortable to come see me first, or to come together with the person they are referring to me for help. Regardless of any other factors, this pressure tends to be harmful to everyone involved in the system.

How I work with S.S.A. clients

The first aspect of my intervention is to ascertain what the needs of the person with S.S.A. are. I have purposefully NOT referred to this person as a “Patient” due to the fact that usually the word “patient” defines the person as being sick. Often a person is labeled a patient even though s/he is not “sick.” Such incorrect labeling can be harmful to the “person” in consideration.

Whether my client is the person with S.S.A., or a concerned parent or friend, I help all who are involved in the system relate to the situation and the person with S.S.A. in ways that are supportive, caring, helpful and productive. I also help reduce the pain, fear, embarrassment and other difficult emotions that anyone involved may have. I have found that when the person with S.S.A. has a loving, caring and helpful support system, things get resolved more easily and quickly, with less emotional pain, less need for my intervention, and less expenditure of time and money, as well.

At the beginning of consultation with my client, it is important and necessary to make an evaluation of the client’s general physiological, psychological, emotional, social, familial, and religious conditions and circumstances.

Determination of client’s sexual orientation

Near the beginning of consultation my client and I work on clearly defining his/her sexual orientation. It is not always initially clear what the true sexual orientation of a person is. It often requires a number of visits to clarify the client’s sexual orientation. What makes things particularly complex is the fact that a person may change his or her sexual orientation during his/her lifetime. Most individuals, especially children, teenagers and young adults who are learning about their sexuality, are not aware of this. In specific cases, a person may be bi-sexual, but have only experienced  attraction to the same sex up until a given period of his/her life. Subsequently, this person may think that he or she is homosexual, and consequently believe that there is no opportunity or potential to have and enjoy a successful heterosexual relationship.

Teenagers sometimes accept that they are homosexual as a consequence of having difficulties connecting socially, and being teased and told by peers that they are “gay.” This can snowball into a self-fulfilling prophesy. This teen may then begin participating in homosexual experiences, and then self-validate the belief that s/he is homosexual. However, this same teen may discover later, that s/he is bisexual, and then choose to focus on developing a hetero-sexual relationship.

If my client is bisexual or potentially bi-sexual (explained below) then I continue to work on issues related to S.S.A.

Sometimes a person just has a natural attraction for the same sex, in a very natural way, even though it may appear to be unnatural to others. In this situation, many issues are considered and discussed in order to evaluate and decide which approaches are best in relating with the current realities. For example determining whether the person is homosexual or bi-sexual is necessary in order for me to know how to proceed.This is facilitated within the therapist-client partnership.

If my client has S.S.A. because of genetic-hormonal-physiological considerations, the help needed is very different than the help that is needed when S.S.A. results from non-physiological causes – from simply personal choice and preference to sexual molestation or rape, and everything in between.

If a person comes to see me who is truly homosexual (this is too complicated to discuss here) than there is NO ATTEMPT on my behalf to change my client’s orientation – even if he/she requests my help in becoming heterosexual. As I explained above, doing so is not only unprofessional and many cases illegal, it can be damaging and very dangerous. However, in such cases I help my clients to relate healthfully with himself/herself.

Healing trauma and psychological disorders

If my client has experienced significant trauma, the healing of the trauma usually comes before working on the S.S.A. My reasoning is that I have found in my clinical practice that it is best to help my client be generally psychologically, emotionally and socially healthy, and from that perspective examine the S.S.A. dynamics and issues. Very often upon doing work on the former issues, the relationship to S.S.A. consequently changes significantly.

Setting goals

An important part of the initial evaluation includes identifying and deciding upon therapeutic goals – if any. It is important to establish what issues and goals are appropriate to work on. Some clients who are seeking help do not need any “psychotherapy” as they are not suffering from any particular psychological or emotional disorder. They may just need coaching to help clarify and achieve their life goals. Others may have psychological or other issues to address and resolve, in which case the goals are different.

Often, through the process of consultation, it may become clear that the initial goals presented by the client at the first meeting need to be modified. Together we discuss and clarify a variety of possible goals.

Deciding on goals. There is usually a variety of goals that we work on. Some of those goals are intra-personal (between my client and his/herself) and some are interpersonal. Goals may include: healing pain from the past, changing unhealthy cognitive, emotional, physiological and behavioral patterns into healthy ones, learning effective communication, overcoming fears, and others.

Goals are prioritized and strategies are created for each goal, as well as an approximate time line, and a means to evaluate progress.

Logistics

Logistics are discussed, including frequency and length of sessions, etc.
For detailed information regarding logistics, please refer to my web page “Learn About Working with Dr. Sheldon“.

Helping client’s with related psychological issues

Although S.S.A. is not considered a mental disorder, my client may need psychotherapy or counseling to help with other issues that may, or may not be, related to the S.S.A. Examples of such issues are overcoming co-dependency, trauma, low self-esteem, and social difficulties, improving assertiveness, overcoming fears, and many others.
To learn more about how I help clients with specific issues please refer to the website menu.

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Understanding Same Sex Attraction

There are many reasons why a person can have an attraction to the same sex –including: physiological, hormonal, genetic, social, political, philosophical, aesthetic, and others.

It is important to know that a person who has S.S.A. is not necessarily homosexual (gay or lesbian). Working with and helping a person who is homosexual is in certain very important ways very different than working with and helping a person who experiences S.S.A. but is not homosexual. The understanding of this differentiation and its implications is crucial to providing ethical, healthy, appropriate and effective therapeutic intervention, and preventing harm to the client..

To consider S.S.A. to be always a psychological illness is absolutely wrong and potentially dangerous. Telling a person that there is something fundamentally wrong with him or her – when there is not – can break a person.

On the other hand, I believe that there are times when certain life events affect the sexual desire, preference and identity of individuals, which is different than one who is homosexual due to other factors, such as physiological ones.

Sometimes a client comes to work with me who learned about sexuality in the dormitory and there was NO FAMILY DYSFUNCTION and NO SEXUAL ABUSE. The S.S.A. was simply a consequence of having the first sexually enjoyable experience with a person of the same sex. After the initial sexual imprint, reinforcement from further sexual experiences simply habituates the S.S.A. response, and when the person’s family, social, school, and religious environment distances the person from experiencing heterosexual contact – even non-sexual social meetings, a familiarity and comfort being with the same sex is enhanced, while there is no learning to be comfortable with the other sex. This is even more so, when negative messages about the other sex are present.

Sometimes, certain very unhealthy family dynamics can influence sexual preferences, this topic is too complex to discuss here. Obviously, it is appropriate to help individuals who have been adversely affected by such family experiences, regardless of any S.S.A. issues that may arise. Sometimes the resolution of such difficulties also facilitates changes in the dynamics of sexual attraction.

I have found that often individuals who come to me for help regarding S.S.A. have significant dysfunction with relating with themselves and with others. They often relate to others as objects and have difficulties in connecting to themselves or others in a meaningful, empathetic caring way. Often they were treated as objects by their parents or sex offenders, or even by classmates or individuals they dated.

Unconscious experiences, memories, beliefs and dynamics can significantly influence how a person relates socially and sexually.  It is not unusual for a traumatic event to be blocked from conscious memory. Sometimes a person may have the memory but not realize that there is a connection between a past traumatic event and his/her sexuality. Having specialized in the use of hypnotherapy for more than thirty-five years, I have found that often something that is present on a subconscious level is causing my client specific difficulties related to sexuality and /or simply relating with others. Often it is these difficulties which are motivating the client to focus on same sex attraction and have an aversion to heterosexual attraction and intimate relationships.

Sometimes improper religious training can be very harmful to normal sexual development. Although this is not true generally, unfortunately, there are some who focus more on “impurity” than learning that it is important and holy and wonderful to have a loving committed relationship of marriage and growth with one’s spiritual and sexual partner. Some individuals are raised to relate negatively to sexuality in general; others have no idea what-so-ever what a loving physical relationship is.

Again, I want to emphasize that in the examples I present in this article on S.S.A. (same sex attraction) the attraction may or may not be in relationship to a traumatic event, or a reaction to a traumatic event. In cases that are related to trauma, it is often appropriate and very helpful and healing to help the clients to overcome, heal, and resolve the trauma and the negative or unwanted results from that trauma.

Working with clients who have experienced significant trauma is very different from working with individuals who have S.S.A. because of other reasons. The appropriateness of any treatment or intervention, as well as the type of intervention needs to be based on many inter-related factors regarding any individual person who experiences S.S.A.

Sometimes S.S.A. (the attraction itself or sexual identity) may be clearly understandable, even though from a Halachic or Religious perspective it is forbidden to have certain kinds of sexual-physical relationships and activities. In such situations, the person seeking help, or the people who are trying to convince this person that he or she needs help, need to understand that it can be painful and harmful at the least, and extremely dangerous and even life threatening at the most, to cause the individual with S.S.A., to think or feel there is something wrong with their basic self of inner experience, as a human being.

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Identifying and understanding the reasons for my client’s S.S.A.

It is important to identify and understand the reasons for the S.S.A. Sometimes the reason(s) are clear and obvious, and sometimes the client has no idea where this attraction comes from. Self-awareness and understanding are very important.

I utilize a variety of therapeutic tools and processes to help my clients and me understand the reasons for their S.S.A., as well as how it functions psychologically, emotionally and socially in the lives and relationships of my clients.

Doing so helps us to understand whether the S.S.A. (which my client is stating is unwanted) is present as a result of issues, dynamics, and/or experiences which are unhealthy and motivated or contributed to S.S.A., or whether the client simply has an attraction to individuals of the same sex.

My use of Hypnosis & Self-Hypnosis with S.S.A. clients

I NEVER use hypnotic suggestion to attempt to change a client’s sexual orientation. I believe that to do so would be unethical and potentially dangerous.

I often utilize hypnosis to help my client and me understand what the inner issues and dynamics of the S.S.A. are, including discovering if there were traumatic experiences or other considerations related to why my client has same sex attraction. I have specialized in the use of clinical and medical hypnosis for more than thirty-five years. It is a wonderfully effective tool for helping with a variety of goals.

Oftentimes an event, thought, feeling, physiological reaction, or even misinterpretation of an experience which caused harm to the client, is forgotten or repressed in subconscious memory for decades. Hypnosis can be utilized to discover, uncover and understand their significance and consequences. Often these forgotten experiences negatively affected the client, though the client had no idea that there was “anything” that was causing a problem.

Sometimes the client may remember very well a past experience, however not understand its effects. Hypnosis enables the client to understand the significance and effects of experiences, thoughts, beliefs, judgments and expectations of others. Such a forgotten experience can even be something that was unconsciously overheard within someone else’s conversation.

For more information about my use of hypnosis please refer to my web page Hypnosis, Hypnotherapy & Self Hypnosis. 

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The need for healthy relationships

It is essentially important for the S.S.A. client to have a healthy relationship with himself or herself. This includes: self-respect, self-love, self-awareness, dignity, and a healthy relationship with his/her thoughts and feelings. (Yes, this is true for people in general.)

I have found in my clinical practice, that most of the clients who have come to see me regarding S.S.A. have significant difficulties in relationships in general. These difficulties include the client’s ability to comfortably, healthfully and successfully relate with himself, friends, parents, siblings, and people in general. These difficulties are usually with both men and women. Unhealthy dynamics related to co-dependency, insecurity, authority, power, control, and object relations (relating to self or other as an object). They often have difficulties with giving, receiving, mutuality, intimacy, sharing, responsibility, commitment and trust. Sometimes clients also have significant psychiatric dysfunctions, such as paranoia. In such cases I recommend that a psychiatrist be consulted. Obviously, in such cases the process of my intervention will be different.

Sometimes these difficulties to relate healthfully are part of the dynamics which helped to facilitate the initial S.S.A. experience. They can also be factors in helping to maintain the S.S.A. relationships. Quite often, with the S.S.A. clients that I have worked with, there is a high level of co-dependency and a significant lack of equality in the power dynamics within the relationship. Of course these dynamics are often present in unhealthy heterosexual relationships, as well. The point that I am making here is that under certain conditions, they may have a significant effect on the S.S.A. dynamics.

Identifying and rectifying these relationship issues can often make it much easier for a person who has S.S.A. but would like to have a committed heterosexual relationship, to be successful in doing so. I have found that certain clients who are bisexual (in action or in potential) and have resolved specific psycho-social difficulties, are then able to rather easily and naturally focus on enjoyable and healthy heterosexual experiences. Usually, when they do, the motivations and payoffs of their former S.S.A. activities are significantly reduced. In addition, the S.S.A. patterns, which are sometimes similar to addiction dynamics, become mostly non-occurring and often extinct altogether. I must add that other issues may need to be addressed as well, such as fear of marriage, commitment, secondary gain, and others.

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Bisexuality & S.S.A.

Basically a bisexual is someone who has sexual or romantic attraction to individuals of both sexes – whether or not these feelings have been acted upon physically, sexually or socially. There are many variations of bisexuality, and a full discussion of bisexuality is beyond the focus of this article.

Some of my S.S.A. clients who have had at least one positive hetero-sexual experience earlier in their lives, and want to have a committed, emotionally and sexually satisfying hetero-sexual relationship, such as marriage, have been able to do so. This usually requires resolving certain issues without experiencing conflict or interference of S.S.A. dynamics. An example of an issue which would need to be resolved is a traumatic experience which caused  an aversion to the other sex. The past positive hetero-sexual experience, referenced above, may have been physical, sexual, romantic, fantasy or dreams accompanied by positive sexual physiological response.

I believe, based on clinical experience, that in certain cases even a person who has only experienced S.S.A. and has not yet experienced heterosexual attraction can never-the-less be bisexual and not homosexual. Such an individual may have not yet had the opportunity to experience a natural sexual response to the other sex for a variety of reasons. It is often revealed that such an individual can have a positive natural (not forced or conditioned) sexual response under “the right conditions.” What I mean by right conditions is 1.  Being a psycho-emotionally-socially-religiously healthy person; 2. Not having blocks to natural sexual experience, such as past traumatic experiences, unhealthy familial or social pressures or indoctrination; and 3. Having the logistical opportunity to relate with and respond to a person (or healthy fantasy) of the other sex. In this case, “healthy fantasy” refers to a sexual fantasy of being in a mutually desired healthy sexual-emotional relationship, in which both are relating healthfully with each other.

There is evidence which suggests that it is not unusual for a varying level of bisexuality in the normal early development of children and mammals in general to be present. Some research suggests that hetero-sexuality is something which develops, as a consequence of a variety of psychological, behavioral, social, educational, religious, experiential and family dynamics factors.

An individual’s experiences from birth to adulthood may encourage hetero-sexuality or bi-sexuality. I purposefully do not include homo-sexuality here because it is likely that one who is exclusively homosexual (gay or lesbian), is not so because of the above factors, but is rather built-in and not learned or acquired.   

In order for the client to be able to accomplish the goal of having a healthy hetero-sexual relationship, there are a number of issues and processes which must be successfully addressed, worked on and healthfully resolved.

I believe that sometimes the S.S.A. experience of a bisexual is more an expression of general sexual desire for pleasure and connection and is not a consequence of a psychiatric disorder. In my practice I have found this to be more often true with women. On the other hand, sometimes S.S.A. is used as a drug, an escape, risk taking, intrigue, self-esteem problems, distancing from or making a statement to a hetero-sexual partner, and sometimes a sign of even more significant dysfunction.

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S.S.A. within Heterosexual Marriage

Sometimes one or both spouses experience S.S.A. even though they are married to each other. Each spouse may be bisexual or homosexual. This article addresses marriages in which there is no homosexuality (meaning attraction to only someone of the same sex). There are a number of reasons why a bisexual person who is married can be experiencing unwanted same sex attraction. This issue is quite complex and I will only address specific aspects and examples here. (I will soon publish my article, “Same Sex Attraction within Marriage”).

It is important to note that a bisexual person can find satisfaction within a committed relationship with a person of the other sex, just as a heterosexual person can find satisfaction within a monogamous relationship.

When the relationship is healthy there usually are no issues of desired or acted upon extra-marital affairs or activities. Couples enjoy a committed monogamous relationship, whether or not one or both are heterosexual or bisexual.

When marriages have serious emotional or sexual difficulties or dysfunction, a variety of responses are possible. Often in a heterosexual marriage, one or both of the partners may be very dissatisfied or even hurt emotionally, romantically or sexually. In a healthy committed marriage, one or both partners seek counseling and /or the couple seeks marriage counseling in order to resolve difficulties and improve the marriage. Unfortunately sometimes one or both partners are not interested in improving the marriage and look elsewhere for what s/he is missing, to feel satisfied or to fill the void.

Some spouses become workaholics or focus their energies in some particular area of their lives; others become depressed, get physically ill, addicted or suffer from other consequences of not knowing how to cope healthfully with their frustration and pain.

However, some spouses choose to have an affair – either in reality or fantasy. Of those who choose the latter option, that affair can be with someone of the other sex, or in the case of a bisexual – he or she may find comfort with someone or from a fantasy of someone of the same sex. Most people agree that a spouse having a physical or emotional affair with another person is out of bounds of the marital commitment. (Unfortunately, many couples agree to allowing affairs within their marriage.)

Considerations Regarding Sexual Fantasies (In brief)

The issues regarding sexual fantasies are not so simple. Obviously sexual fantasies do not have the same consequences as acting them out in reality. However, fantasies can create a variety of problems – psychological, emotional, marital, and sexual. Certain types of fantasies can be healthy and improve one’s sexual and marital experience (and be within religious values as well), other types of fantasies can be destructive to oneself, hurt the partner, be detrimental to the marriage (and be forbidden according to religious values). For example, a fantasy of making love with your spouse in a beautiful romantic place can enhance the experience, whereas, fantasizing that you are with someone else can be harmful in many ways, and create a situation where the spouse is being used as an object.

It is advisable to be very careful when engaging in sexual fantasy. Healthy sexual fantasy can be helpful in a variety of situations. Fantasy can be helpful in bringing more aliveness and enjoyment into being physically intimate. I teach couples in which there is sexual dysfunction or inability to function normally due to illness or surgery, as with certain cancer patients. It is important that fantasy maintains both spouses’ respect, dignity, love and care, and not create problems, such as insecurity or feelings of “I’m not good enough as I am” or “you don’t really want me.”

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Examples based upon individuals who I helped in my clinical practice

(Certain details may have been changed to protect my clients’ privacy)

For example, I worked with a woman in my office in Los Angeles (I practiced for twenty years in L.A. before making Aliyah) who was once heterosexual and became lesbian after having been raped by a man. She came to my office and explained that she wanted to get married, have children, and raise a family, and that she did not want to live a lesbian life-style. In this case the trauma that she experienced caused a change in sexual orientation. Through the treatment, healing, and resolution of this trauma she returned to being heterosexual as her sexual preference, fell in love with a man, married, and continued her life in the sexual path that she wanted to be on.

In another example, I worked with a happily married man who had children with his wife and a good relationship with her emotionally and sexually. However, he complained that he had an attraction to men that he would see at the health club, he never acted upon this attraction, he did not understand why he had it, and he wanted to know if he could stop experiencing this attraction. We utilized hypnosis in order to discover the source of his attraction for men. It turned out that when he was a young boy, his cousin seduced him, (there was no intercourse, but there was sexual play) and he enjoyed the sexual feelings, and at the same time experienced conflict, because he felt that there was something wrong with what was happening. Upon resolving the conflict, and helping him to not feel guilty about enjoying the sexual experience – which was natural for him to have – and to accept himself in a healthy way, the attraction for men simply ceased.

I helped a young man whose first sexual experience was in a dormitory full of boys. A few of the boys were exploring their own and each other’s bodies, sexual feelings and responses, in a context of interest and play, with no force or coercion. For some it felt wrong and for others it simply was enjoyable and felt good. For my client it simply felt good. In addition, because of his religious background, he had no contact with girls, other than his sisters who picked on him, and his mother, who was a tough personality lacking motherly warmth. In addition his father had very little contact with his son, and was a poor role model. He was very insecure about who he was, and what it was to be a man. He realized that he developed a need to please men sexually so that they would approve of him, as from his perspective only a man could make him feel like a man (and a woman, not being a man, simply did not have the authority to confirm that my client was a man). We worked on a number of different issues and he discovered that he could really enjoy relating with a woman on all levels.

I helped a teenage girl with an unwanted sexual attraction to girls, which was an expression of her disgust sexually towards men, which was a result of her friend’s father molesting her. It is certainly understandable that a person would have an aversion to or lack of sexual attraction towards a person of the opposite sex, after being sexually abused. It is also understandable that such a person may develop a sexual attraction towards a caring supportive interesting and sexually attractive person of the same sex. We worked together to heal her trauma and her negative generalizations about men. Then we worked on her learning to relate positively to herself. She then was able to connect positively with a man within a loving healthy relationship.

I helped a woman who wanted to have a loving committed faithful monogamous marital relationship with her husband, but was being distracted by same sex attraction. During my clinical practice in California, a woman came to see me for individual psychotherapy and marriage counseling. She was married for a few years and had two young children. She explained that before she got married she had self-esteem issues, psychological treatment, and other difficulties. She was raised in a family with a psychologically unhealthy mother and father, who had a horrible marriage. She observed and experienced significant emotional abuse, neglect, poor communication and codependency between the parents and between the parents and towards her (the woman who came for help). Her parents’ relationship was devoid of love and intimacy and mutual emotional support. In addition she had negative experiences dating men who mistreated, used and took advantage of her. She also had negative non-dating experiences with men. Growing up as a child and teen she experienced mostly positive, supportive, accepting comfortable relationships with girlfriends.

Her husband was a man who also had self-esteem issues and came from a quite dysfunctional family. He was a man who all his life had great difficulty relating socially, felt very insecure, and was very dependent and never dated as a teen, or had a deep relationship with a woman until he got married in his thirties. Simply, he did not know very much about women or relationships in general; he did not know how to be with his wife in a mature sexual-emotional way; and because he felt so abuse and deprived in his life he found it very difficult to be giving or focusing on her needs.

She shared in her therapy that before she was married she had a few kissing, hugging and light touching experiences with a couple of women, and that she was fantasizing about women with whom she had been with, and that on occasion she would kiss another woman from her community, who was also married. She explained that the reason for this was because women are more present emotionally, and are easier to relate with in a deep way than her husband was. Sex was also not very satisfying with her husband, who like many men was involved in internet pornography, due to his own psychological difficulties.

In such a case, it is certainly understandable that this woman wanted to experience the warmth, comfort support, the being wanted and appreciated sexually and the positive feedback that she received from a number of women, but never received from any man. Her belief was that men simply cannot provide these things like a woman can. Basically all the close contacts she had with men had been negative, including with her father, dates and her husband. In addition, she received negative messages about men from her own mother.

 ______________________________

 
A Testimonial from a Recent Client of Mine
HAPPY & MARRIED
Formally Troubled by Unwanted Same Sex Attraction (S.S.A.)

I worked with Simcha for approximately 5 months. I approached Simcha initially with major concerns about SSA and dating anxiety. We worked together intensively and systematically. Simcha is exceedingly sensitive and honest, and challenged me to establish the true source and motivation behind my thoughts, feelings, and emotions. He was non-judgemental at all times.

Gradually, I was able to unpack the contributing factors in the SSA experience, and Simcha helped me develop tools to combat the SSA when it occurred. Crucially, Simcha worked with me to figure out the deeper issues behind the SSA, and many of our sessions were focussed on these issues rather than directly with the SSA. During this process, my self-confidence, knowledge of my true self, and ability to communicate with those close to me were enhanced unimaginably.

Simcha works in a very goal focussed fashion. We created therapy aims which we would refer back to and rank regularly. This allowed me to maintain a consistent view of my progress so far, and what areas I wanted to continue working on. Whilst the work Simcha and I did together was at times hugely challenging, it was undoubtedly the best approach for my particular personality.

Following the conclusion of our sessions, I was able to begin dating again completely independently. After a joyful dating experience free of anxiety and SSA, and in which I was able to display my true self unashamedly, I proposed and got engaged. I am now happily married and continue to use the skills and techniques Simcha taught me practically daily, well after our therapeutic relationship has been concluded. This is one of the things I am most grateful to Simcha for, the fact that he taught me how to deal with issues independently without needing lifelong support. The sessions I had with Simcha not only enabled me to overcome my issues and find my wife, but also provided me with tools to enrich many areas of married life and my relationship with my wife.

I would highly recommend Simcha’s services to those who are looking for an intensive, honest, invested therapist who will empower them to be truly honest with themselves.

Additional information on S.S.A. and Sexual Identity  will be added on a regular basis.
Check back from time to time
as the website is growing to serve you

Please feel welcome to call me if you have any questions regarding how I work, and
how I would approach helping you achieve your goals.

DISCLAIMER:

Of course specific results cannot be guaranteed, and vary from client/patient to client/patient. Motivation and positive participation, as well as suggested homework are required of the patient. The work is a partnership between therapist and client/patient.

I want to give my patients the best treatment I can, and create the best treatment strategy for each patient. To do this, it is important for me to have the necessary information regarding their condition, medical history, and past and concurrent treatment, with other health professionals. I, therefore, request consultation with my patients’ medical doctors, when I treat them for medical or psychiatric diagnoses, or at least a copy of their medical report, so that I can offer the best services possible.              

At times hypnosis or another modality of therapy is not recommended or appropriate for a particular client/patient. Whether hypnosis or another modality is utilized in the treatment of my client/patient is determined after consultation and evaluation of the client/patient, the specific issues presented the preference of the client/patient, and the client/patient’s medical history.

Regarding hypnotherapy: Hypnotherapy and hypnosis are usually very good treatment interventions. However, hypnosis is contraindicated under certain circumstances. For example, hypnosis is usually contraindicated for individuals who suffer from severe psychiatric disorders, such as psychoses and schizophrenia.

A proper diagnosis and evaluation of each client/patient must be made before hypnosis is utilized. It is only at the request of the client/patient and at the evaluation and discretion of Dr. Sheldon that hypnosis will be utilized.

Often Dr. Sheldon consults with other physicians treating his client/patient as part of the evaluation and the creation of the proper treatment strategies, as well as to ensure that there is safety, harmony, coordination and consistency among the health professionals treating the client/patient and the treatment modalities utilized. Dr. Sheldon will also ask the client/patient to provide information regarding any medications or other drugs taken.

Regarding Testimonials and Endorsements: Of course what is written in testimonials and endorsements and professional recommendations represents the author’s experiences and opinions.

All of the above is for the well-being of the client/patient, and to make sure that all work is done with high ethical and professional standards, legally, effectively. I want to give excellent service and wants each of his clients/patients to be as successful as possible.

If you have any questions, please feel welcome to contact me.

Dr. Simcha Sheldon

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Personal Note:

Although there is a lot of controversy around these topics – I work within the highest of ethical and professional standards, and halacha (Jewish religious law).

Notice: I DO NOT do Reparative or Conversion Therapy!

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Reproduction or use of any part of this website

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Please be aware

Please be aware that there are many “therapists” who are not licensed, as well as licensed psychotherapists who are working in unethical, illegal, dangerous ways with individuals who seek help regarding Same Sex Attraction. Please make sure that you know the credentials and theories and treatment strategies being used BEFORE you begin a process with someone regarding changing sexual orientation or sexual identity.

What is known as “conversion therapy” has been banned and is illegal in a number of countries and states in the U.S.

Warning !

Please be aware that there are government agencies, non-profit organizations, unlicensed and licensed practitioners, who have a pro-gay agenda and will try to motivate their clients to be “gay” , and engage in “gay” sexual activities even if the client seeking help may not be truly homosexual, and would prefer not to be.

In fact, unfortunately one broadly accepted policy is that if such a person comes to a therapist seeking help, it is the therapists’ legal and professional obligation to make sure that the client believes that any discomfort regarding sexual orientation or identity, is the fault of an unaccepting family, society or religion.

Personal Note:

I was appalled when I heard a presenter at a conference of a society for sexual medicine state that religious traditions regarding sexuality are psychologically unhealthy, outdated and simply wrong, and showed no respect for the culture or beliefs of patients who are practicing their religion. Rather than explaining how to help a religiously observant person healthfully integrate religion and sexuality, the presenter recommended that therapist should motivate their patients to not follow their beliefs.

A note regarding religious teachings

I do believe that it is positive to relate to sexuality in a way that is healthy spiritually as well.

Unfortunately, there are some parents and teachers who present religious ideas in ways which I believe to be unhealthy approaches to sexuality and intimacy. It is important to be able to differentiate between what is healthy and what is unhealthy. Opinions may vary, however the issue needs to be addressed.

In my work with clients who are religiously observant, I am careful to work in a way that is consistent with my client’s beliefs and according to Halacha, and when appropriate in consultation with my client’s Rav). 

Enjoy one of my videos

Dr. Simcha Edward Sheldon presents on Hypnosis in the Treatment of Sexual Dysfunction, at the Israel Society for Sexual Medicine (ILSSM) annual conference, December 2010, Daniel Hotel, Hertzelia, Israel.

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