What Qualifications does a Sex Therapist Have?
Qualified sex therapists are typically mental health professionals, meaning that they are certified and practicing psychologists or psychiatrists. Sex therapists have chosen to specialize in the field of sexual intimacy and relationships, and therefore have completed extra education and clinical training in these areas.
Though sex therapists do not need to be certified in order to practice, most reputable sex therapists will be certified by a particular governing board. In the United States, most qualified sex therapists are certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators and Therapists (AASECT).
It is important to note that there is a difference between a certified sex therapist and a sex counselor. A sex counselor is not a mental health professional; typically, these practitioners are social workers who operate out of schools, hospitals, or various government programs. Though they do not have the in-depth training that sex therapists have, sex counselors are equipped to deal with minor sexual difficulties and relationship problems.
What Happens During Sex Therapy?If you and your partner decide to attend sex therapy for your fertility issues, you will likely attend a set number of therapy sessions. Most sex therapists work on a short-term, goal-focused basis.
At your first session, your sex therapist will ask both you and your partner to fill out a short form regarding your physical, mental, and sexual history. You may be required to sign a release form if your sex therapist is working alongside your fertility specialist.
During your first session, both you and your partner will be asked to explain why you are attending treatment and what you would like to cover during your sessions. Your sex therapist will likely ask you to discuss your sexual histories and about your struggles with infertility.
Throughout your sessions, you and your sex therapist will continue to work together to identify specific problems in your sexual relationship that you would like to work on. This may involve improving sexual intimacy, increasing sexual frequency, or working on sexual dysfunctions.
Your therapist will assign you and your partner work to do at home that will help to improve these issues. Over time, your sex therapist will help you to set new goals around your sexual relationship.
Finding a Sex Therapist
In order to visit a sex therapist, you will need a referral from your health care provider. Your general practitioner or fertility specialist will be able to refer you to a qualified therapist in your area. If you and your partner are actively seeking fertility treatments, ask your clinic if they have a sex therapist on staff.
Many clinics now offer sex therapy to couples that are coping with infertility. If you are having difficulties finding a qualified sex therapist, try contacting your local hospital or sexual health center.