Gina Ogden takes therapists on a journey into the development and use of the ISIS model in her latest book, Expanding the Practice of Sex Therapy. This integrative and easy-to-read book offers a whole new perspective on working with clients in sex therapy. Ogden offers new alternatives to therapists utilizing a model that is focused on helping clients find empowerment and a path to self-discovery.
The first part of Ogden’s book discusses how she began to expand the idea of sex therapy beyond talk therapy. Integrating Sexuality and Spiritualty (ISIS) was developed by Ogden in 1997-1998 as she embarked on a program of survey research into sexuality. Her research findings flourished into the ISIS Model.
Part II discusses the model in depth. The ISIS Model appears as a circle split into four quadrants — emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual — with a center where "sexual integration and transformation" occur. There is a chapter dedicated to each of these quadrant, elaborating upon its function and meaning. Ogden also provides case studies demonstrating how clients can navigate each quadrant in the ISIS Model.
The third part of the book illustrates how clinicians can incorporate the ISIS Model into their own practice. Ogden provides in-depth explanations for therapists to utilize ISIS in group settings, with individuals and couples, in large open spaces, and in small offices. The logistics include more case studies and examples that illustrate how the ISIS Model would look outside the pages of the book. I felt like I was attending a workshop with Ogden as she described the intimate stories of people who have been healed and who experienced self-discovery through the practice of ISIS.
I found that Part IV spoke to me the most. In this section, Ogden details even further how therapists can incorporate the ISIS model into their practice. Ogden discusses how therapists may themselves be affected though the experience of the ISIS Model, and touches on self-care. The book also points out that expanding this practice of sex therapy, while effective, is not for everyone.
Expanding the Practice of Sex Therapy is directed at mental health professionals, specifically sex therapists, and I really enjoyed reading a book that focused on clinicians. I think the title speaks for itself in that it offers therapists an alternative to talk-therapy. While involvement in the ISIS model sounds invigorating and effective for clients, I plan to heed Ogden’s advice in Part IV and explore it myself before offering it to clients.
Expanding the Practice of Sex Therapy by Gina Ogden. New York and London: Routledge, 2013. 204 pages. Paperback, 978-0-415-82955-7, $33.95.