Sexual problems or dysfunctions remain one of the prominent reasons .for marital and relationship problems, often resulting in divorce. Sexuality is however only one of many components of a marriage or of a committed relationship. Relationship problems and sexual problems are often interlinked. The fact that sexual problems are often only symptoms of deeper relationship issues, makes the social worker the ideal person to treat these sexual problems from a holistic perspective and within a relationship context. The nature of this research study evolves around the proposed lack of knowledge of social workers in private practice, and who specialise in couple therapy, regarding human sexuality and sex therapy. This research study is valuable for the social work profession as the knowledgebase of social work is extended. Social workers come into close contact with individuals seeking couple therapy. Social workers might often be required to assist individuals or couples with sexual problems, as relationship difficulties and sexual problems often co-exist. This study is further of value because the importance of the integration of sex therapy and couple therapy is shown. A qualitative research approach is used, and applied research is conducted. An exploratory research design is utilised and a self-constructed, mailed questionnaire is used as method of data collection. The following conclusions can be drawn and the following recommendations made: • The social worker is the ideal person to deal with sexual difficulties, as he or she is well trained in the dynamics of marriage and relationship therapy. • An integrative, holistic and post-modernistic approach to therapy for sexual difficulties has emerged. • There is a movement today toward the combination of sex therapy and couple/relationship therapy. • There are concerns that social workers in private practice specializing in couple therapy, may have a lack of knowledge regarding human sexuality and sex therapy. The respondents in this study answered only 58.53% of the knowledge based questions correctly. • There is a need for specialised education and training of social workers in the field of human sexuality and sex therapy. • Training in human sexuality and sex therapy should be included in the undergraduate, post-graduate and continuing education levels of social work¬training. • This research study supplies a basis for future research studies. The content of the study can aid in the development of a course in human sexuality and sex therapy aimed at social workers specifically.
Dissertation (MA (Social Work))--University of Pretoria, 2006.