4 Tips To Find The Best Sex Therapist For Your Relationship

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If you are seeking professional help to improve your relationship, make sure to take the right steps

If you are in the market for a professional to help you with your sexual problems or concerns, here are some guidelines to let you know how to go about that selection process.

1. Get Certified Help.

If you have a sex problem make sure that the therapist/counselor or sex coach (let’s stay with therapist for brevity sake) has specialized education and training in sexual function and dysfunction. Ask.

2. Seek A Relationship Expert.

If you are in a relationship or seek a relationship in which you have sexual relations, then you will also want a pro who has training in relationship dynamics and couples communication techniques as part of his/her background.

3. Look For Membership Affiliations. 

Look for a person with membership in these sexological organizations, which offer regular conferences such as AASECT (aasect.org). Those may include AASECT, SSSS (sexscience.org), ABS (americanboardofsexology.com), SSTAR (sstarnet.org), or other organizations that feature credentialing and specialized training in sexology. Sexology is not psychology. Sexologists are specially trained and educated to address the whole range of human sexual concerns, and come at it from a sex-positive, knowledgeable, and accepting perspective.

4. Request An Interview.

Ask for a personal interview, usually done by phone. Ask the pro if he/she (we’ll continue with he) will tell you about how he works, what philosophical model(s) he comes from, how the process works, how long sessions last, how long treatment lasts, fee structures, and expectations on his part. That interview will tell you a lot, including if you “feel” that you could tell this person anything about your sexuality, feel a trust level and feel a good synergy, as in chemistry. That is an important element in the healing process, and your inner sense is a good indicator right off the bat.

5. Don't Get Scammed. 

Make sure that this therapist doesn’t insist on a pre-packaged approach. Avoid the pitfalls of a canned program, say with a minimum requirement of ten sessions, or when he tells you things such as, “Well, I have a requirement to work with you for six months, then we re-assess.” No sexological expert should tell you before you begin the process how long it’s going to take and no canned program is the answer, in my opinion, unless it’s you that’s going for training as a therapist. Ask if he is open to short-term counseling or therapy with you. Ask if he has a sliding fee scale, which all good centers and pros should offer in these trying economic times. I have an opening fee, with optional arrangements after that. I never let the fee become a barrier to working with me, ever.

6. Look For Credentials.

Ask if he has professional certification as a sex therapist, counselor or educator. Or if he is a board-certified clinical sexologist. The relevant organizations are these: AASECT-certified; American Board of Sexology Diplomate; American College of Sexologists (ACS) membership; and Fellow of the American Assn. I have all of the above as part of my credentials and am fully trained (and on faculty) as a clinical sexologist from the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco (www.iashs.edu), one of the best training facilities in the world for sexologists. If your therapist attended that school, even better!

These are guidelines. Of course, you may find someone near you or to work with by telephone, as I do, who “feels” like the right fit for your particular needs. Trust yourself. Trust your instincts. If it feels right, try it. You can always stop the treatment. You are the boss, not the therapist, and keep your power from start to finish. Be selective and be patient. I wish you the best!

Dr. Patti Britton is a Clinical Sexologist, Sexuality Educator and Master Sex Coach with top level credentials.   As a well-respected pioneer and leader in the field of sexology, she is the author of hundreds of articles, four amazing books, and is former columnist for Penthouse Forum. Dr. Patti is a Your Tango expert, popular speaker, sought-after trainer and workshop leader, blogs on her own websites and hosts over 40 DVDs for women’s and couples’ sexual enhancement. 

She has a private practice in Los Angeles and via Skype globally. Dr. Patti is the Co-Founder of SexCoachU, the world’s premier training and credentialing institute for sex coaching.  Her coaching career was inspired by being in the presence of Thomas Leonard, and her two amazing coaches, Julian Cohen and Cheryl Richardson.