NICoE Staff, NICoE
NICoE Psychotherapist Glenn Parkinson offers advice for clinicians who aren’t sure how to talk to their patients about sexual health and intimacy.
A brain injury can change the way a person experiences and
expresses intimacy. The type and severity of the injury, hormonal changes,
medications, fatigue and mood changes are just a few of the things that can
affect the way a person responds to intimacy after a traumatic brain injury.
Talking about sexual health and intimacy can be
uncomfortable for both patients and providers, but it’s crucial for patients
and their loved ones to seek professional advice and talk about sexual health
after a brain injury.
NICoE Psychotherapist Glenn Parkinson has some advice for
clinicians who might be unsure of how to broach the topic with their patients.
the conversation and see if the patient
has any concerns. “Try to normalize it as much as possible. The patient
might be more forthcoming than you expect, and if not, at least he or she will
know you’re available to talk if and when the patient feels more comfortable.”
patients recognize the importance of sexuality. “Sexuality is important to
every person in one way or another, and acknowledging this fact can help make
patients and providers feel more at ease.”
resources. “If this is not your area of expertise, that’s okay. Just let
the patient know that resources are available, as well as specialists you can
refer them to.”
basic clinical skills. “Remember the clinical skills that are essential in
every patient-provider encounter, such as reflective listening, being open and
If you’re a primary care provider and would like to refer a
patient to the NICoE, fill out a Patient
Referral Form and fax it to: (301) 319-3700. Upon submission, the NICoE’s
referral team will make contact to discuss next steps. If you have further
questions about our patient referral process, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NICoE in the News