“Solo Marriage Counseling” – A Viable Option

Sexuality and marriage counseling for one? It sounds strange but it’s not. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal, “Couples Therapy for One: To Fix a Marriage, Some Go Alone”, suggested that if one partner is not willing or able to do couples counseling, there is a benefit to the other partner going for “solo marriage counseling”. We echo that finding from our sexuality counseling practice, which focuses on couples with cancer and chronic diseases.

Each partner brings their own behaviors and reactions and hot buttons into the relationship. When you make even small changes in your own behavior based on counseling, it has an effect on both partners. Two examples:

“Harry”, a 48-year-old prostate cancer survivor, suffered from erectile dysfunction – but his marriage had many other dysfunctions as well. Harry focused on who he wanted to be. He improved his voice, started going to the gym, and worked on self-improvement and ways that he would feel happier in areas other than his marriage. Of course, he also learned how to have erection-free sex. The “improved” Harry became more attractive to his wife – and was perceived more positively in his profession. His wife was so delighted with the changes that she sent a note to the counselor: “Thank you for the difference you are making in (Harry’s) life.”

“Tina and Rick” had a rocky marriage and were concerned that it would affect their young son. Rick had recently started an 80-hour-a-week job in another city, and they only saw each other on weekends. Tina began counseling solo. After a few months of counseling, she says that the relationship is still difficult, but there is no more screaming and they talk to each other every day.

So, if you feel that marriage counseling would benefit your relationship, but your partner resists, doing “counseling for one” can still have real benefits for both partners.

About the authors: Barbara and Ralph Alterowitz are sexuality counselors in private practice, certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT). They specialize in sexual dysfunction as a result of cancer treatment or chronic disease.

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Ralph and Barbara on CJAD Radio

As part of Radio CJAD’s show, Passion, Ralph and Barbara were interviewed about sex and intimacy after cancer. Listen for yourself (and if you want to save it for later, right click on the player and select “save as…”): Ralph and Barbara on Radio CJAD

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Midwest Book Review on “The Lovin’ Ain’t Over for Women with Cancer”

We happy to receive a very positive book review from The Midwest Book Review. This is what they had to say about our newest book:

Sex is the last thing on your mind when you hear the diagnosis, but life isn’t over. “The Lovin’ Ain’t Over for Women with Cancer” discusses a topic not often discussed, sexuality and cancer. Stating that one shouldn’t abandon intimacy, they provide practical wisdom for dealing with it while offering benefits of love in conquering the disease. “The Lovin’ Ain’t Over for Women with Cancer” is a choice pick for health and sexuality collections, recommended. 

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The Lovin’ Ain’t Over for Women With Cancer Now Available as an eBook

The Lovin’ Ain’t Over for Women With Cancerby Ralph and Barbara AlterowitzThis comprehensive book on intimacy and sexuality for women with cancer, is now available in eBook formats.  Read the book on your Kobo, Nook, Kindle, iPad, Microsoft eReader, PC, MAC or other device.  Only $9.99.

 
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“Intimacy after the big C: Book offers tips for women”

“Intimacy after the big C: Book offers tips for women”

By: Patrick Springer, INFORUM

FARGO – Since the day Deborah was diagnosed with breast cancer, her husband hasn’t touched her.
Without my breasts, Naomi wondered, who am I? She feared no one would want her. 

Carol’s drug therapy for melanoma “knocked the wind out of my sex life.”

Those women’s problems following cancer treatment are among the examples by husband-and-wife counselors who’ve written a book to help women cancer survivors rekindle their love lives.

Ironically, “The Lovin’ Ain’t Over for Women with Cancer” evolved from a husband and wife, Ralph and Barabara Alterowitz, dealing with the sexual aftermath of his prostate cancer.

The couple found themselves thrust into a world of support groups. Before long, they were being asked to make appearances at other support groups around Potomac, Md.

Everywhere they went, the Alterowitzes heard from women and girlfriends of men recovering from prostate cancer: What about us? We have to deal with cancer and relationships, too.

Read the full article here: “Intimacy after the big C”

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Ralph and Barbara Alterowitz: Focused on a single subject

One way to establish a practice is to zero in like a laser on a specific topic. That’s the approach of AASECTcertified sexuality counselors Ralph and Barbara Alterowitz of suburban Washington, D.C.

Until Ralph Alterowitz was diagnosed with prostate cancer, the couple didn’t dwell on sexuality. The disease changed their personal and professional lives. “The tough question for me [at the time] was ‘Am I still a man? Will my wife still love me?’” he says.

Those questions sent the couple on a search for answers. They found ways to be sexual together and Ralph cofounded the National Prostate Cancer Coalition.

One day, the group needed someone to speak about sexuality. When Ralph Alterowitz suggested the asyet- unnamed-speaker title the address “The Lovin’ Ain’t Over,” the group suggested he do it. So he did. Thus began a career focusing on sexuality and cancer. In 2004, the couple authored “Intimacy With Impotence: The Couple’s Guide to Better Sex After Cancer.” Two years later, they opened The Center for Intimacy After Cancer Treatment. Their newest book revives Ralph Alterowitz’ original upbeat take on the topic: “The Lovin’ Ain’t Over for Women With Cancer.

Asked how much the books have helped market the couple’s practice, Ralph Alterowitz says, “The books have established us as the go-to people on sexuality and cancer.”

Ralph and Barbara Alterowitz are also tireless speakers. They’ve appeared before nearly every prostate cancer, breast cancer and gynecological cancer support group in the Washington, D.C. area. And since new people join support groups every two or three years, they go back. “They get to know us and they get to know our books,” Ralph Alterowitz says.

The pair also speak at national conferences. Some of those appearances have led to customers outside their geographic area. In fact, about 60 percent of the couple’s clients receive counseling advice via telephone or Skype.

The Center for Intimacy After Cancer Treatment has benefited from Ralph Alterowitz’ business acumen. “If you’re setting up a practice, you’re setting up a small business.Whether it’s a big business or a small business, it’s still a business.”

(This article appeared in the July 2011 online publication Contemporary Sexuality, an international resource for educators, researchers and therapists, published by the American Associaion of Sexuality Educators, Counselrs and Therapists)

 

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The Lovin’ Ain’t Over for Women With Cancer Now Shipping

The Lovin' Ain't Over for Women with CancerComing soon to eBook format!!

Former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Joycelyn Elders, writes in her foreword, “Whoever you are and no matter what your situation may be, you will be able to find yourself in this book. The Lovin’ Ain’t Over… can be viewed as a guide to better living through making informed choices regarding your relationships as well as by …maneuvering some of the choices during treatment.” The Lovin’ Ain’t Over for Women with Cancer is shipping now for only $18.95*

Following breast cancer treatment, life will never be exactly as it was before. Many women, even those who have not  completed their treatment, declare “I am not the same as I was” as they deal  with the many changes in their body and mind, and in their relationships. The Lovin’ Ain’t Over for Women with  Cancer takes a frank and open approach in   dealing with many of these issues. The  Lovin’ Ain’t Over for Women with Cancer takes  a holistic look at understanding issues of intimacy after diagnosis and treatment for breast or gynecological cancer.

Authors’ Ralph and Barbara Alterowitz objective is to guide women and their  partners with knowledge and techniques that have worked for other women and   strategies recommended by top health professionals. Scores of women with cancer   have contributed to this book through interviews and focus groups. In The Lovin’Ain’t Over for Women with  Cancer, the authors have integrated relationship and medical information so women have  an all-encompassing yet concise resource. In plain, frank language, they have  created a reader-friendly, proactive, practical, and optimistic guide directed  at female cancer patients with intimacy and sexuality difficulties.

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Book the Authors at Your Next Event

Book authors Ralph and Barbara Alterowitz at your next meeting or event. Ralph Alterowitz with his wife Barbara, experts in intimacy, provide an entertaining, informative and positive  way for couples to revive their love life.  Call 301-983-9702 or email ralph@renewintimacy.org

Ralph and Barbara are AASECT Certified Sex Counselors* . They have been happily married for over 26 years. This is one couple that has successfully combined personal passion, community service, corporate life, and creativity in multi-phase careers.

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Saving your Sex Life now in eBook format

Saving Your Sex Life…

Saving your Sex Life: A guide for men with prostate cancerSaving Your Sex Life A Guide for Men with Prostate Cancer
by John P Mulhall

In a straightforward style, Dr. John Mulhall guides the reader through the basics of male sexuality, explains the role of testosterone, the functions of the prostate, and the common difficulties men encounter when disease strikes. Available both in PRINT and all EBOOK formats (e.g. Kindle, iPad, Nook): BUY NOW AS an eBOOK (for Kindle, iPad, Nook and other readers)

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The Loving Pie by Ralph and Barbara Alterowitz

This article was originally published in the Us TOO Hotsheet in May and June of 2005. – http://www.ustoo.org

[Editor’s Note: This is the first of two articles on reviving intimacy after prostate cancer treatment. The second article will talk about the many treatments available for obtaining erections, how to use them, and their side effects.]

Intimacy and sexual pleasure is known to be essential to good physical and mental well being; it may even lengthen life. Unfortunately, many couples abandon intimacy after prostate cancer treatment, unaware that their intimacy can not only be revived but possibly made better than before. Often all a couple needs is a vision of what intimacy could and should be for them and how to go about regaining it. Continue reading

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