Based at the Porterbook Clinic, the Relationship and Sexual Service is a city-wide service providing assessment and treatment for service users with psychosexual problems.

Therapy is offered to individuals and couples over the age of 18 years. A variety of therapeutic approaches are used, and treatment is designed to fit the specific needs of the individual or couple.

The service is part of Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust.

How is the service accessed?

All referrals, other than internal SHSC ones, should come via the GP. A referral form can be downloaded by clicking here.

GPs can download pre-referral screen guidelines by clicking here.

We do not accept self-referrals. 

Occasionally, we receive referrals that are not suitable for our service. When this happens, we will advise the referrer of this. If this only becomes clear during the assessment, we will inform the referrer and service user, with recommended signposts to a service that may be more suitable to meet the service user’s needs. 

Service Eligibility

The Relationship & Sexual Service sees service users with sexual dysfunctions as defined by the DSM-V. These are listed below:

Male Bodied Sexual Dysfunctions

  • Premature (Early) Ejaculation
  • Delayed Ejaculation
  • Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder
  • Erectile Disorder (Unreliable Erections) where an organic cause has been ruled out

Female Bodied Sexual Dysfunctions

  • Genito-Pelvic Pain/Penetration Disorder (Vaginismus and Dyspareunia – pain at the beginning of, during or after intercourse)
  • Female Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder
  • Female Orgasmic Disorder

Treatment is also provided for,

  • Relationship difficulties where (i) these are present with a predominantly sexual problem, and (ii) the relationship is in a good enough position to make use of psychosexual therapeutic interventions for the sexual difficulty.
  • Problems of libido, either reduced or excessive sexual interest/drive.
  • Specific sexual phobias or fears.

Referral Criteria

  • Service Users must meet the service eligibility criteria as listed above.
  • Service Users should be aged 18 or over.
  • The service does not accept urgent referrals.
  • Long-term psychotherapy, care or support is not available from this service.
  • Individuals and/or couples should be motivated to address their difficulties by attending regular appointments (usually held every two to four weeks) and completing homework/behavioural tasks in between sessions.

Exclusion Criteria

Service Users cannot be seen by the service where:

  • There are issues of sexual compulsivity, paraphilia or addiction, including pornography, drugs and alcohol.
  • Their sexual difficulties or behaviour have brought or are at risk of bringing them into conflict with the law.
  • The sexual difficulties are caused by a medical issue or physical health condition and there is no or limited psychological component e.g., diabetes, cardio-vascular disease, neurological disorder.
  • Relationship problems which are not attributable to a sexual difficulty or dysfunction.
  • Couples where infidelity is a recent or current significant contributor to relationship difficulties.
  • Service users who are experiencing a crisis in their mental health or suffering from an acute psychotic illness.
  • Service users who present a risk to other people or are at risk of harming themselves.
  • Service users are seeking support with sexual orientation or gender identification.
  • Service users who are pregnant.

What to Expect

Once we have received a referral for you into our service, we will send you a background information questionnaire, where you will have the opportunity to provide us more specific information regarding your difficulties. We will invite you for an initial assessment, to find out more about the problems you are having and to check that the treatment we can provide is the right one for you. This is a detailed assessment, and the appointment will last one and a half hours. If we consider that you are suitable for psychosexual therapy, your name will be placed on our waiting list.

What is Psychosexual Therapy

Psychosexual Therapy is a psychological intervention that is aimed to resolve the sexual difficulties that people experience in their lives. A range of different interventions can be used within this therapeutic approach including,

  • Psychoeducation to help you understand how the difficulties you are experiencing arose and ways that you can work to address them.
  • Cognitive behavioural techniques to help identify unhelpful thoughts and behaviours that may be contributing towards and maintaining the problem.
  • Support with enhancing communication skills and assertiveness.
  • Where relevant, input to assist with addressing body image concerns or self-esteem issues that are impacting on your sexual function.
  • Homework tasks for you to do between each session, either on your own or with your partner, if you are in a relationship.
  • Recommended reading.

It is important to note that our treatment programmes require you to be motivated and committed to addressing your difficulties through the attendance of regular therapy sessions (usually held every two to four weeks) and the completion of the homework tasks that you and your therapist will agree together in your sessions. You will never be asked to undertake a sexual task in a session.

As a psychosexual therapy service, we do not prescribe. We may recommend medicines or sexual aids that can be prescribed by your GP.

Attendance

If you cancel two consecutive appointments, or a number of intermittent appointments, or fail to attend an appointment, we will not be able to offer any further appointments.  

If you cannot make an appointment, please let us know as soon as possible so we can offer your time to someone else. 

Waiting times

Individuals we are booking into our service currently have had to wait 12-18 months for a first appointment.

Individual waiting times are variable, and we cannot give specific times for individual waits.

Please keep us updated of any changes to your contact details to ensure we can offer you an appointment when one is available for you. We would like to sincerely apologize for this situation and for any inconvenience or difficulty this may cause you.

If you are waiting for an appointment please take a look at this letter which outlines the support available while you are waiting.

Useful Websites and Resources

Before your appointment with the service you might find it useful to read one of the leaflets below:

Useful websites

www.cosrt.org.uk – College of Sexual and Relational Therapists.

www.stopso.org.uk – An organisation which works to help prevent addictive behaviours and sexual offending through therapy.

www.atsac.co.uk – Association for the Treatment of Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity.

www.srasac.org.uk – a specialist service offering free counselling for anyone aged 13 and above who has experienced sexual abuse, violence, or rape.

www.sharepsychotherapy.org – offers low cost, long-term psychotherapy for individuals who cannot afford or access therapy elsewhere.

www.cornerstone-sheffield.co.uk – a counselling centre with over 45 therapist associates providing a range of private psychotherapy and counselling in Sheffield.

www.sayit.org – provides emotional wellbeing support for LGBTQ+ young people aged 11-25 in Sheffield.

www.bacp.co.uk – A professional body for counselling and psychotherapy, including a register of therapists. 

www.samaritans.org – For those struggling to cope and who require support.

www.lgbt.foundation – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender information and support.

www.mesmac.co.uk – Provides a wide range of services including free, rapid HIV testing, condoms, lubrication and counselling.

www.vaginismusawareness.com for information and support for vaginismus

www.vulvalpainsociety.org/vpsResources for practical advice and information about vulva pain.

www.sexualadviceassociation.co.uk aims to help improve the sexual health and wellbeing of men and women and raise awareness of the extent to which sexual problems affect the general population.

www.nhs.uk/conditions/Erectiledysfunction/Pages/Introduction.aspx for information about erectile dysfunction.

Recommended reading

Barker, MJ & Scheele, J. (2121). Sexuality a Graphic Guide. London: Icon Books Ltd.

Brown, B. (2012). Daring Greatly. How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead. UK: Penguin.

Carter, M and L, (2015). 10 Steps to Completely Overcome Vaginismus. The Practical Approach to Pain-Free Intercourse. Via www.vaginismus.com.

Friday, N. (1991). Women on Top. London: Arrow Books.

Friday, N. (1993). Men in Love. Men’s Sexual Fantasies – The Triumph of Love Over Rage. England: Clays Ltd.

Gurney, K. (2020). Mind the Gap. The truth about desire and how to future proof your sex life. London: Headline.

Kaplan, (1989). PE. How to Overcome Premature Ejaculation. GB: Routledge.

Nagoski, E. (2015). Come as you are. The surprising new science that will transform your sex life. London: Scribe.

Zilbergeld, B. (1999). The New Male Sexuality: The Truth about Men, Sex and Pleasure. London: Bantam Books.

Perel, E. (2007). Mating in Captivity. GB: Harper Collins.

Perel, E. (2017). The State of Affairs. Rethinking Infidelity. GB: Harper Collins.

Rothschild, B. (2000). The Body Remembers. The Psychophysiology of Trauma and Trauma Treatment. NW: WWW. Norton & Co.

Van der Kolk, V. (2015). The Body Keeps the Score: Mind, Brain and Body in the Transformation of Trauma. London: Penguin.

Opening Hours

Appointments are available Monday – Friday between 9am-5pm.

We provide a hybrid model of face to face and online appointments. You can choose which type of appointment would suit you best.

Sharing your feedback on Care Opinion

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We want you to share honest feedback about our services. Good or bad we want to hear what you think. 

You can choose how much detail you want to go into about your personal story, but if there’s anything we could improve on we want to know. 

You can give feedback by filling in the form below.

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Porterbrook Clinic

Contact us

Clinical lead: Jeanette Caw
0114 2716671
0114 2718693 (Fax)

Address

Porterbrook Clinic, Michael Carlisle Centre
75 Osborne Road
Sheffield
S11 9BF
United Kingdom

Operating hours

The service runs 9am to 5pm on Monday to Friday.

Service CQC rating

Overall Trust CQC rating