The 4-D Network
We are a community of professionals dedicated to helping our clients access the healing and power they need to experience new depths of self-esteem, pleasure, and erotic connection.
We are dedicated to supporting each other on a path of professional mastery through training, collaboration, and the promotion of each others’ work
The 4-D Wheel Approach to Sex Therapy
…and how it can help you help your clients
At the heart of our approach to sexuality therapy and counseling is the engaging and innovative Four-Dimensional Wheel of Sexual Experience. This serves as an interactive map that guides your clients to explore the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of their sexual issues–including desire, pleasure, pain, intimacy, trauma, dysfunction, and much more.
The 4-D Wheel can be incorporated into any kind of work you are already doing with clients, whether or not you are a sex therapist or sex counselor. Practitioners who have successfully incorporated this sex counseling approach into their practices include therapists, psychologists, counselors, coaches, teachers, physicians, nurses, and other health providers.
Working with the Wheel is a unique approach that can help you to help your clients move out of stuck places, cultivate the nurturing relationships they wish for, and discover the joys of pleasure, intimacy, and passion in their sexual partnerships.
The 4-D Wheel serves both you and your clients.
The Wheel is useful for with individuals, couples, and groups, and especially beneficial for your most challenging sex therapy clients who come to you with the following issues:
- Sexual dysfunctions- Using the Wheel helps your clients maximize options for change by differentiating among the emotional, mental, or spiritual components of physical issues.
- Low self-esteem- Using the Wheel helps your clients discover options for a fuller sense of self and relationship.
- Sexual Identity and expression- Using the Wheel helps your clients explore all that it means to be who they are: male, female, trans, gay, lesbian, queer, heterosexual, poly, monogamous—and to identify infinite other aspects of their sexual and erotic expression.
- Communication problems- Using the Wheel offers a safe and potent forum where your clients can speak and listen mindfully from each of the dimensions: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.
- “Stuckness,” rigidity, defensiveness, resistance to change, attachment to past experience- When you introduce the 4-D Wheel to your sex counseling clients you inspire them to move beyond the negative patterns and stories they’ve been living by and consider new options.
How the 4-D Wheel Helps
The Wheel is comprised of visibly distinct sections that differentiate the emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental aspects of sexual experience; as soon as you introduce your sex counseling clients to the Wheel, they can clearly see that their stories connect with all these aspects of their lives. Using the visual diagram may be enough to change the course of sex therapy- expanding their focus away from their problems and wounds, and toward positive paths to what they want.
After introducing the Wheel, you also have the option of asking clients to get up out of their chairs and literally step into the Wheel, to explore the emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental aspects of the issues they have brought into therapy. Telling the story from the perspective of each quadrant enlists their body intelligence and provides rich layers for both you and the client- information that that may never be accessed during talk therapy. Using the 4-D Wheel may seem deceptively simple, but processing the content that arises can offer profound shifts for clients, with integration that is complex and deep, even “beyond words.”
Why the 4-D Wheel Helps
Using the Wheel encourages your sex therapy clients to step into an active role for their own growth and change. A special trust builds as you let go of the role of expert and collaborate with them in this way. As your clients begin initiating more, you as the practitioner can “witness” more, “fix” less, and become increasingly transparent about teachable moments. You will find yourself doing less work. Your clients will find themselves feeling more powerful and free….and they will think you’re a genius!
4-D Network Practitioners share how the 4-D Wheel works with clients…
Click questions below to reveal their answers…
An Example of How the 4-D Wheel Works in Sex Therapy
An excerpt from Gina’s upcoming Workbook: Exploring Desire and Intimacy
(You can find scores more examples in Expanding the Practice of Sex Therapy)
43-year-old Zahira presents with low desire. She loves her husband, who she says is a really good (though sometimes clueless) guy, but she gets angry at him for being “a controlling beast” when it comes to sex. In three years of cognitive therapy, she’s become aware that her rage stems from a history of trauma, but insight alone hasn’t helped change her situation.
I introduce her to the Wheel, saying that I think this model can help her “move out of her head” to make some essential connections between her past and her present, and she agrees. During 20 minutes in the Wheel, Zahira receives a spontaneous “download” of information about how she collapses and gives over power when she wants close contact or sexual stimulation. She realizes when and how this process began and how it translates into her relationship with her husband. She’s gained a more informed way of communicating with her husband about sex and many other issues, and she feels it in her body as well as understanding it in her mind and emotions.
After four months of weekly sex counseling sessions, Zahira allows herself curiosity about what she wants in terms of sexual desire, intimacy, and in all aspects of her life- and she commits to “going for it.” She is becoming clearer with her husband about asking for what she wants, and she no longer experiences him as trying to control her through sex. And, as a surprise byproduct of our work together, she is becoming more responsive to the needs her two young daughters for attention, affection, and play.