EVENT FULL | Sex and Intimacy in the Midst of Terminal Illness: Working with couples facing death | Brighton

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Date(s) - 12/10/2018
9:30 am - 4:30 pm

BMECP Centre


CPD Hours six

A workshop to explore how to work with couples facing a terminal diagnosis. How to keep the emotional and physical connection alive.

Death is not often spoken about in Western culture. It is hidden from us through the use of euphemistic language and sanitised end of life care. So when death comes knocking how well prepared are we to face it? For many couples where one partner is diagnosed with a terminal illness the focus is on medical procedure and medication options. Sadly relationships often break down or change from a romantic connection to a caring partnership during a long illness.


  • Look for the reasons why this happens and to understand the way attachment styles and the grief cycle can work together to drive couples apart.
  • To discuss ways of working to help couples to keep or rediscover the deeper emotional bond between them and to recapture intimacy and pleasure.
  • The aim of the day is to find ways in which we can help others to make the most of the time they have. I hope we will all find a personal message in this day about how to live well.
  • The focus of the day is on psychological blocks to intimacy rather than physical difficulties arising from medical procedures and treatments.



09:30 – Registration and Coffee

10:00 – Introduction
– How is death regarded in our society? A brief look at cultural differences.
– Discussion about how we have been brought up to think and talk about death and dying.

11:15 – Coffee

11:30 – Attachment styles and how they might impact on couples facing loss.
– Small group discussion of case studies.
– Discussion of different ways to approach a couple struggling to remain emotionally connected.
– How difficult is it to talk openly about death?

13.00 – Lunch

14:00 – Sex and Intimacy. Is it OK for someone to want to have sex when they, or their partner is dying?
– Case study discussion and feedback

14:45 – Tea

15:15 – The partner as carer. Is it possible to be a carer and a lover?
– Group discussion.

16:00 – How to be with death and dying. Do we need to be “Different” with terminally ill clients or can we be ourselves?
– How has the day impacted on us?

16:15 – A Mindful moment to reflect on being alive.

16:30 – End

Presenter: Ruth Hazelton trained with Relate as a couple’s counsellor and psychosexual therapist, studied for a PG cert’ in child focused systemic practice at IFT and an MSc in psychosexual and relationship therapy from TCCR (Tavistock Relationships) Ruth is an accredited member of COSRT and a registered member of BACP and is a supervisor. Over the last 15 years Ruth has worked in various Relate centres in England and Wales and is now in private practice in Brighton. She also works one day a week at the Brighton Cancer Centre, and gained valuable experience during an 18 month placement at St Joseph’s Hospice in London. During her time at St Joseph’s Ruth became aware that there was very little provision for counselling with couples, and none at all for psychosexual work. Following some informal research, contacting other hospices and hospital oncology teams it became clear that there is a shortage of help for couples facing a terminal diagnosis. Ruth decided to try to change this and is working to raise awareness of this problem and to encourage therapists to consider getting involved with this work.

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.

Online Booking Form

Bookings are closed for this event.