EVENT FULL | Asexuality, Bisexuality, and Heterosexuality

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Date(s) - 26/05/2017
9:30 am - 4:30 pm

St Bede's Pastoral Centre


CPD Hours six


For many years clinicians and therapists have been taught that a lack of sexual attraction is necessarily a problem and should be treated by either physiological or psychotherapeutic means, or, not uncommonly, both. A lack of sexual attraction can indeed be a symptom of some wider problem which is either medical or psychological in nature, however, there are an increasing number of people for whom the lack of sexual attraction is a comfortable part of their identity and daily lives, and for whom there is no underlying physiological cause – Asexual (Ace) people. When this latter group attend our practices it is important to be able to differentiate this innocuous identity from the people who have a problem related to the lack of sexual attraction. Further, it is important to be able to practice affirmatively with this often marginalised group, and to differentiate between the approximate groupings which may fall under the heterogeneous label of asexuality, including grey-a, aromatic, demisexul, homoromantic, hetroromantic, etc. In addition, when practicing affirmatively it is, naturally, important to be able to determine when the person’s asexuality is of relevance, and when it is not.

Similarly, bisexuality is often misunderstood as attraction to either men or women rather than attraction irrespective of gender. This brings with it particular issues within the therapy room, not least that of being “doubly invisible” within same sex attracted communities; and also heterosexual communities.

Further, heterosexuality is seldom considered as a specific sexuality with it’s own needs, costs, and benefits.

The COSRT day provides the necessary information and experiential practice to allow delegates to begin to have the knowledge and understanding necessary for this increasingly common work with Asexual people; Bisexual people; and continued work with Heterosexual people.


The aims of this course are:

• To consider the social context of sexuality.
• To consider asexuality, bisexuality, heterosexuality as identities and as a practices.
• To examine the differences between problematic lack of sexual desire and asexuality.
• To consider the different identities and practices which fall within, and are adjunctive to, asexuality, bisexuality, and heterosexuality.


By the end of the day participants will be able to:

• Identify some of the main groupings of people under the broad heading of asexuality, bisexuality and heterosexuality.
• Begin to differentiate psychopathological lack of sexual desire from social constraints and the identities and practices of asexuality.
• Know when sexuality is likely to be of therapeutic relevance.
• Work affirmatively with asexual, bisexual, and heterosexual clients.


09:30 – Registration and Coffee

10:00 – Introductions, overview and housekeeping
10:30 – The social context of sexuality

11:30 – Coffee

11:45 – What are the various forms of sexuality?
12:30 – What is asexuality and what is pathology?

13.00 – Lunch

13:45 – Community and historical perspectives on asexuality, bisexuality, and heterosexuality.
14:30 – Clinical problem solving
15:00 – Small group case studies

15:30 – Tea

16:00 – Remaining questions and feedback

16:30 – Close


Presented by: Dr Christina Richards BSc (Hons), MSc, DCPsych, CPsychol, MBACP (Accred.), EuroPsy, AFBPsS is an HCPC Registered Doctor of Counselling Psychology and an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society (BPS). She is also an accredited psychotherapist with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). She represents the East Midlands to NHS England’s Clinical Reference Group (CRG) on Gender Identity Services; and is one of the few psychologists recognised by HM Courts and Tribunals Service as a Specialist in the field of Gender Dysphoria, thus allowing her to prepare medical reports for the Gender Recognition Panel.

She is Senior Specialist Psychology Associate at the Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust Gender Clinic and Clinical Research Fellow at West London Mental Health NHS Trust (Charing Cross) Gender Clinic. She works in this capacity as an individual and group psychotherapist and psychologist conducting psychotherapy, assessment and follow-up clinics as part of a multidisciplinary team; as well as conducting research, supervision and service improvement plans. She lectures and publishes on trans, sexualities, and critical mental health – both within academia and to third sector and statutory bodies; and is a co-founder of BiUK and co-author of the Bisexuality Report.

She is the Editor of the journal of the British Psychological Society’s Division of Counselling PsychologyCounselling Psychology Review. Her own publications consist of various papers, reports, and book chapters and she is the co-author of the BPS Guidelines and Literature Review for Counselling Sexual and Gender Minority Clients; First author of a clinical guidebook on sexuality and gender published by Sage – Richards, C., & Barker. M. (2013). Sexuality and gender for mental health professionals: A practical guide. London: Sage; First editor of the Palgrave Handbook of the Psychology of Sexuality and Gender; And is the first editor of a forthcoming multidisciplinary book about people who identify outside of the gender binary of male or female – Richards, C., Bouman, W. P., & Barker, M. J. (forthcoming 2017). Genderqueer and non-binary genders. Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan; Sole author of a monograph: Richards, C. (Forthcoming, 2017). [Monograph]. Trans and sexuality – An existentially-informed ethical enquiry with implications for counselling psychology. London: Routledge; And is sole editor of the forthcoming book: Richards, C. (forthcoming 2017) A view from the other side: Therapists’ art and their internal worlds. Monmouth: PCCS Books.


Terms and Conditions

The full fee for each training day is £115 for COSRT members and £125 for non-members. Cheques should be made payable to COSRT in GB pounds sterling. Payment must be received by COSRT before the training day. Confirmation and details of your booking will be emailed to you.

Cancellations must be made in writing. There is an administrative charge of £20 per person for cancellations received up to six weeks prior to the training day. Thereafter no refund is possible. To substitute a delegate please call the COSRT office (020 8543 2707) at least seven days prior to the event.

COSRT reserves the right to change the venue or speakers due to unforeseen circumstances. In the unlikely event of a training day being cancelled, a full refund will be made, but COSRT disclaims any further liability.

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