What does sex therapy look like? Individuals and couples can benefit from sessions with a licensed sex therapist/counselor. We all know that for most people talking about sex can be difficult for and talking about sexual health problems can be even harder. Bedroom issues such as sexual pain, decreased desire and low libido may go beyond the scope of what you would normally discuss with your primary care physician, ob-gyn, or regular therapist.
You hear me mention a biopsychosocial approach often in my blogs but these concerns are where a sex therapist/counselor can enter the picture. Sex counselors are trained professionals who focus specifically on human sexuality and health sexual behavior and who can offer compassionate, research-backed help while addressing the full range of pertinent psychological, physiological, and cultural factors involved in sexual issues.
What Is Sex Therapy and What Do Sex Therapists Do?
There are many different paths people can take to becoming a sex therapist. A sex therapist might be a psychologist or psychiatrist, a clinical social worker, a family therapist, or maybe a doctor or nurse who has advanced training and who has gone on to get specialized training in sexuality and sexual functioning, intimacy, and relationships. A qualified sex therapist should be adept at addressing a wide range of concerns around sexual dysfunction. Some have different clinical foci but there are many therapists that can help with your individualized concerns.
What a Session With a Sex Therapist May Look Like
Sex therapy varies significantly depending on what is being addressed and who the therapist and patient(s) are. There is no standard answer for what a particular therapy session might entail or how often you will go- it is different for everyone, but one thing that will not be a part of any sessions is sexual contact. Sex therapy is talk therapy. Most sex therapists will start by getting a thorough picture of your sexual history, whether they ask for that information before you attend a session, in person, or both.
A sex therapist will consider the biopsychosocial issues that may be contributing to a client’s concern, meaning any potential biological, psychological, and social factors — and will work with you to create a specific treatment plan. Sex therapists may see individuals, couples, or both. Some may be comfortable starting with an individual who eventually brings in their partner, though that will depend on the specific circumstances
What a Sex Therapist May Commonly Recommend
Recommendations can vary. It depends on the therapist you are working with as well as what it is you’re looking for. Sometimes you’ll see the therapist for just a handful of sessions, other times it could be long-term, and in-depth therapy might be called for.
Expect homework, which can be a common element of sex therapy. Your sex therapist will ask you to complete specific tasks in between sessions, and then ask you or you and your partner to report back. Those homework assignments could range from communication exercises to specific sexual experimentation activities.
What Type of Training Does a Sex Therapist Receive?
Unfortunately, no regulations govern who can call themselves a sex therapist, which is why it is important to pay close attention to credentials. AASECT requires sex therapists and counselors to have advanced degrees and clinical experience plus 90 hours of human sexuality education, 3060 hours of sex therapy specific training, and then extensive supervision by a qualified supervisor.
How Can I Find a Sex Therapist Near Me?
AASECT is a food way to start and keeps a list of providers on the site. If you live in an area where sex therapists are not available teletherapy, or virtual therapy, may be an option. This is not an easy topic for people to talk about. Patients need to feel that the therapist is open-minded, they’re not judgmental, and they’re going to help you explore. Lastly make sure you are feeling a sense of security and safety!