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Do clinical psychologists at Medical University Vienna integrate patients' sexual problems in routine consultation_self-assessment's results, meeting, Vienna, November 2017

Ucsnik, L1; Kottmela, A2; Bitzer, J3; Teleky, B1; Fraberger, G4

1: Medical University Vienna, Univ.Clin. f. Surgery, Austria; 2: General Practice in Gynecology and Sexual Medicine; 3: Private Practice, Switzerland; 4: Medical University Vienna, Univ.Clin. f. Orthopedics, Austria, Head of clinical psychologists at Vienna General Hospital

Introduction: “Sexuality and Intimacy” are essential to patients while coping with diseases, co-morbidities, disabilities acquired. Clinical psychologists / psychotherapists provide important support in these phases of life to the patients. Thus we wanted to analyze amongst these health professionals working at the General Hospital Vienna, Austria, Medical University Vienna, whether they integrate sexual health issues in their daily psychological and psychotherapy-consultation in November 2017.

Method: At a routinely psychologists’ meeting at university hospital 24 of 50 psychologists and psychotherapists answered a 24-item-questionnaire self-assessing the integration of sexuality in psychological consultation.

Results: 79% of the participants were female, 38% aged 41-50 years, 42% having clinical experience between 2 and 5 years, 33% between 11 and 20 years. 58% of them assessed asking up to 20% of the patients about sexual health issues, 50% were addressed by up to 20% of the patients with sexual concerns. 13% evaluated between 81 and 100% of the patients having troubled sexuality without actively addressing these, 21% suggested 61-80% of the patients or 41-60%, 33% of the psychotherapists considered up to 20% of the patients suffering from sexual problems without talking about them in routine consultation. 67% assessed that other topics might be more of importance to the patients, this being the reason why they did not bring up the topic. 67% considered certain diagnoses and 63% andro-/menopause being points of time to address sexuality actively. 79% stated there was no established sexual medicine appointment at university hospital. In case of sexual health issues they mainly referred to internal medicine specialists, gynecologists and urologists as well as psychotherapists. The support offered by clinical psychologists to patients having troubled sexuality were mainly psychotherapy (33%) or talk to couples (29%). Only 21% stated that lack of sexual medicine competence reduced their consultations’ success.

Conclusion: The psychologists were mainly either new in the field or experienced. Less than 80% of patients were actively asked about sexuality or addresses sexual health issues to clinical psychologists at university hospital Vienna, Austria. Lack of sexual medical competence was not rated reducing consultations’ success. Awareness for the importance and relevance of sexuality in patients’ life needs to be increased in order to integrate this topic in consultation and thus contribute to patients’ higher quality of life coping with disease.


Work supported by industry: no.

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