The Psychosocial Implications of Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy with Sexual Trauma Survivors

Presented by Shelia Silver, MA, DHS, ACS

September 19, 2015
Providence St. Vincent Medical Center
Souther Auditorium
9155 SW Barnes Rd
Portland, OR 97225

Course description

Patients who have been sexually molested, raped, experienced ongoing pelvic pain, dyspareunia, vaginismus, or any kind of sexual violation, are often referred for pelvic floor physical therapy. Many of these patients appear disassociated or “checked out” from their bodies. They come into physical therapy emotionally afraid, physically guarded, and often with a history of sexual pain and/or dysfunction. Because of its vulnerable nature, pelvic floor physical therapy requires different psychosocial skills than are needed with other patients. This course will provide participants extensive tools for working with this population. The course will explore ways to decrease patient anxiety and offer ways physical therapists can help patients be fully present, and in their bodies. The course will also give participants an opportunity to explore their own comfort level with the topic of sexuality, and the biases and assumptions that affect the work they do. The objective of this course is to help physical therapists be more effective healers when working with the sexual trauma survivor.

Educational objectives

  • Understand the psychosocial profile of a sexual trauma survivor and its implications for pelvic floor physical therapy.
  • Demonstrate the essential components in creating a ‘climate of safety’ before a pelvic floor muscle exam.
  • Outline the five stages of emotions and how to work with flashbacks and disassociation.
  • List ways to help sexual trauma survivors be fully present and embodied during an exam.
  • Describe the importance of what happens at the end of a session, and suggestions for what patients can do to facilitate healing.
  • Relate how our own comfort level with the topic of sexuality can impact our effectiveness and ability to create safety for the patient.
  • Explore ways physical therapists can refresh and re-energize themselves in working with this type of patient.

About the Speaker

Dr. Silver is a board certified clinical sexologist in private practice in Portland, OR. She has a Masters in Marriage, Family and Child Therapy and earned her doctorate in Human Sexuality from The Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. She is a trained sex counselor, group facilitator, sex educator, and has worked as a psychotherapist since 1988.

Dr. Silver is a member of the American College of Sexologists, the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists, and a member of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex.

Registration information

Target Audience: This course benefits physical therapists who specialize in the treatment of pelvic floor physical therapy.

Registration: Use the registration form or register online at www.providence.org/rehabcourses. Confirmation will be emailed. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Registration fee: The $200 per person registration fee covers continental breakfast, refreshments, certificate and course manual.

Receive an early bird discount of $25 if registered online by August 28th. If registering by mail, registration must be postmarked by August 28th, 2015 to receive this discount.

Refund policy: Full refunds, less a $25 administrative fee, will be granted if cancellation is requested by September 4th. No refunds will be made after that date unless the course is cancelled by Providence Rehabilitation Services, in which case full refunds will be issued.

Contact Hours: This course will qualify for 6 continuing education hours for physical therapists in Oregon. Certificates of attendance will be issued to all participants completing the CEU requirements.

Register online

Register by mail

Learn more about the speakers and course outline