Thrive helps doctors too! A recent GP client of mine consulted for vaginismus. She thought it was a physical problem until The Thrive Programme helped her to recognise that it was caused by psychological and emotional factors. She is now able to enjoy sex for the first time. Below is her story…
I had contacted Cara as I had vaginismus, and was getting increasingly frustrated as I did not feel I was making any progress with it, despite regular reviews with a (very good, very kind and very patient) gynaecologist and trying to regularly use dilators. I felt I had reached a roadblock and I genuinely did not know whether it would be something I would be able to overcome.
I knew no matter how supportive my husband was, this would inevitably have ramifications upon our relationship and marriage. In fact, it already had. As a GP, I had spent a long time thinking that perhaps there was a physical cause for this. However I also felt like this was a ‘catch 22’ situation because I did not feel comfortable enough to go for an examination. After reading a lot about vaginismus, other people’s experiences, I had to accept that my symptoms mirrored others, and that this was a psychosexual condition which I would need to overcome. After an initial review with a gynaecologist, I tried to use dilators as explained, however I felt I was making little progress. 8 months had passed and I still had not progressed to the third dilator.
I then decided to try other options, and contacted Cara regarding the Thrive programme. This was difficult for me – as a medic I try to be pragmatic about things, and dilating made more sense to me than thinking about other cognitive therapies which could help. I could understand that if we were able to gradually insert wider objects, our brain would process pain pathways differently and muscles would relax. However, I was not convinced having regular ‘talking’ sessions with someone could help.
My outlook changed after my first consultation with Cara. I realised not only would this programme likely help me with vaginismus, but with other aspects of my life.
‘Thrive’ enabled me to look at myself, my strengths, my weaknesses, my self-confidence, and my perceptions of things. I realised how much I had avoided addressing vaginismus previously -I had initially pretended there was not an issue, then I was too worried to order any dilators, then to book an appointment with a gynaecologist. I would look for excuses to avoid dilating or to dilate for less time. It was also something that I thought about as a ‘chore’ rather than a positive step forwards to having successful penetrative sex. I realised the importance of reinforcing to myself any positive steps (or even thoughts) I had taken, rather than putting myself down if I did not feel I had made progress.
Six months later, my husband and I were able to have successful penetrative sex, and we still are! The programme also helped me in lots of other aspects -my work, friendships and my general outlook in things. I would highly recommended this programme.
Cara was absolutely fantastic – very patient, enthusiastic, and also questioned me whenever she felt my thought processes may be deleterious!”