Frequently Asked Questions For Clients

Why should I see a psychologist?

Sex and couple problems are quite common, and can often involve both biological and psychological factors. Currently, it is primarily psychologists and other mental health professions who assess, counsel, and treat these problems, however recommendations will be made for medical assessments when necessary. In therapy, a psychologist will address both the cause of the problem, and the impact it has on the well being of individuals and couples.

Who are the therapists?

Most of the staff are licensed doctoral level psychologists who have specialized training and experience in sex and couple therapy. Because our service is part of the McGill University Health Center, there are also interns/residents who provide treatment and are closely supervised by senior staff as part of their training.

Should I come alone or with my partner?

Usually, we recommend that you come with a partner if you have one. In some circumstances you may choose to come alone. You are probably the best judge for the assessment appointment. Whether you should come alone or with your partner for treatment is usually discussed during the assessment session.

What if I don’t have a partner?

We can often help if you don’t have a partner or are avoiding getting involved in relationships. If you are concerned about this, please ask your therapist during the initial assessment appointment.

How long does it take to get an appointment?

If you have a flexible schedule then it should not take more than 2-3 weeks. For reasons which are not clear to us, some times of the year are much busier than others.

How can I get more information about the the Sex and Couple Therapy Service?

You can call our secretary Liz Nolan at (514) 934-1934 ext. 34284 or email If Liz cannot answer your question, she will put you in touch with someone who can.

Do I need a doctor’s referral?

Yes. For services to be covered by RAMQ you will need a doctor's referral.

Am I too young/old for treatment?

We do not treat individuals under the age of 18. There is, however, no upper age limit. In fact, it is now quite common for individuals/couples in their sixties, seventies and eighties to consult us in order to improve their sex lives or relationships.

Can I request a specific therapist?

No you cannot request a specific therapist. Due to the nature of the service and our waiting list, a therapist will be assigned to you.

What kinds of sexual problems are treated?

Almost all kinds of sexual problems are treated for both men and women. Common sexual dysfunctions include lack of or reduced desire or interest, arousal difficulties, erection problems, difficulties reaching orgasm, premature and delayed ejaculation, pain during intercourse or other sexual activities, inability to have intercourse, and conflicts with partners about sexual frequency or specific sexual activities.

In addition to treatment for sexual dysfunction there is counseling available for issues relating to sexual orientation, gender identity/dysphoria, problematic sexual behavior/feelings, sexual trauma and abuse, and sexual difficulties related to illness or medication. We do provide counseling and treatment for non-standard types of sexual arousal (e.g. S&M, exhibitionism etc) but we do not liaise with the courts.

What kinds of relationship/couple/marital problems are treated?

Counseling and treatment are available for the full range of couple and relationship issues. These can range from differences over child rearing and domestic responsibilities to conflict over communication, commitment, and intimacy. We also often counsel concerning issues relating to infidelity, separation and divorce. Our orientation, however, is to try to help repair relationships rather than facilitating separation or divorce. We do not do mediation counseling.

Are sexual and couple problems related to each other?

Often, the quality of one’s sex life is closely linked to the quality of one’s relationship with a partner and vice versa. Other times, however, they appear to be quite independent. This needs to be carefully evaluated.

Are sexual and couple problems common?

Yes, they are very common. Some estimates suggest that up to 50% of individuals and/or couples in North America experience significant and prolonged marital distress or sexual concerns.

What is our therapeutic approach?

Our therapeutic approach is multi-disciplinary and varies according to the particular problem or client. Included in the approaches we provide are traditional Masters & Johnson type sex therapy, systems oriented couple/marital therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and medical intervention. Because we are part of a major teaching/research center, we are up to date concerning recent developments and innovations. We are also a major research center for the study of sexual and couple problems/treatments (see

In what format is treatment/counseling provided?

Counseling is typically provided in scheduled sessions with a therapist. These sessions usually involve a therapist meeting with an individual or couple. We also provide group counseling and psycho-educational formats for couple enhancement (see-Making Love Better: The Secret to a Successful Relationship) or for specific problems such sexual/genital pain/vulvar vestibulitis Please contact our secretary Sandy (514) 934-1934 ext. 34284 for more information

How long does treatment take?

It is very difficult to predict how long treatment will take without an adequate evaluation. Sometimes a few sessions are enough to solve a problem. Other times it might take many months.

Why the MGH card if you’re part of the RVH?

The MGH and RVH are now part of one larger hospital system called the MUHC. The MGH card is used for mental health services at both sites.

How long is the wait until I start therapy?

This depends on a number of factors most importantly how many people are seen at any given time of the year. In the fall and early winter the waiting times are usually negligible. Over the summer they get longer. If after your evaluation meeting your therapist recommends treatment, please ask for an estimate of how long it is likely to take. If you are readily available during the day, this will minimize your waiting time. If you can only come at very specific or limited times, this will increase waiting.