What makes a certified sex therapist different than any other kind of therapist?
It really comes down to an acknowledgment of the importance of sex in our lives and relationships, the ability to talk about sex in sessions, and continued education. Sex therapists make clients feel at ease when sharing concerns they have around sexual issues.
Many people, in our culture especially, have inhibitions when it comes to sex and sexuality. This can be felt in a therapist’s (or doctor’s) office, making it very difficult to feel comfortable sharing intimate details about sexual concerns. It can be challenging enough to talk about sexual concerns in general. When your therapist is struggling to listen or seems uncomfortable with such topics, it can make sharing these concerns nearly impossible.
Additionally, many therapists neglect to ask questions about sexual histories and experiences both in individual or couple’s therapy sessions. They may not consider sex to be an important part of marriage, relationships, and individual’s lives, or at least not an important part of the therapy. The unspoken message can often feel to clients as though this office isn’t a safe place to talk about sex, and therefore sex and sexual experiences are left out of therapy.
If you have any desire or need to discuss something sexual in nature in therapy, you may want to consider seeing a sex therapist. In the near future, I will post information about the most common reasons for seeing a sex therapist.
In the meantime, keep in mind that some therapists say they provide sex therapy, but this is not the same as a certified sex therapist. The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) is a governing board that certifies its members, holding them to a strict measure of competency through education and supervision.
Kimberly Atwood is an American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) Certified Sex Therapist in private practice in Princeton, NJ and Doylestown, PA. She continues her education and specializes in women’s sexual health, sexuality, transgender, intimacy and relationship/couples issues. For more information, please check out her website at kimatwood.com