Therapists need sex therapy techniques if they have a desire to help their clients achieve full mental and relational health. Sex therapy techniques can help clients become aware of and express their sexuality fully. When a person feels free to explore their sexuality and share it with another, it can be the highest form of intimate exchange between humans.
Sex therapy techniques include:
- Helping clients develop open communication about sex by asking them if they have any sexual concerns they'd like to address;
- Carrying out a thorough assessment of sexual concerns if they are acknowledged by the client;
- Taking a systemic view in the treatment of sexual problems and including the client's partner;
- Giving appropriate information and suggestions based on the client's treatment goal; and,
- Providing intensive therapy for complex sex therapy cases, or referring out to a specialist.
Therapists do not always have adequate training, however. In California, for example, psychologists need only 12 hours of sex therapy coursework before becoming licensed. Compare that to the 150 hours of coursework that AASECT requires! Still, many programs have cut back on sex therapy coursework rather than providing even the minimum that is required.
Therapists need to have convenient ways to access coursework and training. There are excellent programs in sex therapy techniques for therapists in several states, including California. Such sex therapy training programs should prepare the therapist to assess and treat both common and uncommon sexual problems.
Sex therapy training programs for therapists also need to help the therapist become more comfortable with sexuality in general. Such awareness takes place over time, with the therapist first becoming more attuned to the sexual issues that clients may have. Next, the therapist needs to be able to ask the client about such concerns. Finally, the therapist finds that they are able to talk about sexual problems without hesitation, modeling for clients that talking about sex can be as natural as talking about any subject.
Therapists need to choose a sex therapy training program based on time, cost, and convenience, as well as on the expertise of the instructor. Choosing an instructor who is a published author can reassure the therapist who is looking for an appropriate course. The therapist seeking sex therapy coursework needs also to consider travel time. Are they able to travel monthly to an out of the way city, or do they need something more local or that has a continuing education designed for a busy professional?
The therapist who wants to add sex therapy as a specialist also needs to consider whether a training is flexible enough to allow them to use what they already know. In other words, the therapist may not wish to learn a whole new model. Rather, they may want solid information about treating sexual problems that they can incorporate into the work they are already doing with individuals and couples.
Learning sex therapy techniques to help clients with sexual problems can be a great niche or an addition to one's practice, say, in couples therapy. But doing so requires more than simply reading a book—no matter how good a book it might be! To learn sex therapy properly requires study and a place to ask questions about a topic that is endless fascinating—and helpful to many clients.
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