How to Find a Sex Therapy Expert

A sex therapist can help with many issues relating to sexuality. They can provide a safe space to talk about your concerns, teach communication skills and encourage sexual experimentation.

Start by getting a referral from friends or a medical professional. Your gynecologist or urologist may know of providers who specialize in sexual therapy.

Look for Certification

While there are a lot of practitioners who consider themselves sex therapists, not all have the specialized training to treat sex and sexual issues. One of the most important things you can do is check their certifications. A quick Google search can pull up databases from reputable organizations such as AASECT and Psychology Today, as well as listings on professional associations related to sex therapy or counseling.

When researching a program, look for a team of instructors with strong real-life experience in sex therapy and related fields. This can provide valuable mentorship and give you a leg up upon graduating from the course.

Another way to narrow your choices is to get referrals from friends, family members or medical providers. This can save you time and energy in searching for the perfect sex therapist. Once you’ve narrowed your options, schedule a consultation or first session with each provider. Pay attention to how you feel during and after the meeting. “You want to know that your sex therapist understands you and your goals,” says Francis.

During the first visit, expect to be asked some very personal questions about yourself and your life experiences. This includes questions about your past, current relationships and your sex life. Your sex therapist can help isolate what may be at the root of your concerns.

Look for Experience

When you’re vetting potential sex therapists, consider asking them what they’ve seen in clients like you and what the most common problems they address are. “This is a great question to ask because it can be a good indicator of whether they’re qualified to work with you,” says McDaniel. For instance, if you are LGBTQ and experience pain during penetration (either sexual or nonsexual), your sex therapist can help. However, if it turns out that the issue is more likely due to a medical problem, like pelvic pain or erectile dysfunction, your sex therapist might refer you to a pelvic floor therapist or other health care professional.

Aside from looking for certification and a professional website, it’s also a good idea to check if the therapist accepts your insurance or offers payment on a sliding scale. “This is a huge factor for people who have limited resources,” says Powell.

Sex therapy can address a number of different issues, from pain during sex and other sexual issues to relationship problems stemming from sexual difficulties. Generally, sessions will feel and look similar to a standard psychotherapy appointment. The therapist will ask you questions about your relationship with your partner and the kinds of sex fantasies or masturbation you have. The therapist will then provide insight, guidance or techniques to assist you in overcoming your difficulties.

Look for Credentials

Many people claim to be sex therapists even though they lack the necessary training and experience. If a practitioner is not certified, look for a referral from a professional organization such as ASSER NSW (Australian Society of Sex Educators, Researchers and Therapists). Alternatively, do some online research to make sure the person has credentials.

You should also check whether they have a license to practice psychology or counseling. It is also a good idea to find out whether they have a background in health and wellness or medical care, which can add to their ability to deal with sexual issues.

A few other important aspects to consider include a therapist’s availability and fees. If you are not able to meet the therapist on a regular basis because of work or other commitments, this may be problematic for you and your partner. You also want to find out if they accept payment on a sliding scale, which can be helpful if cost is an issue for you.

Some sex therapists offer virtual sessions via video chat, which can be convenient for some people. However, you should be careful about this option because the quality of the connection can affect how comfortable you feel during your session. It is also a good idea to ask for recommendations from others, such as your gynecologist or urologist.

Look for Reviews

A sex therapy expert works with people facing challenges around the sexual aspects of their lives. They can work with both couples and individuals and focus on a wide range of issues including communication, lack of intimacy, sexual dysfunction, and more. They can also help those struggling with body image, cultural or religious concerns, and STIs and STDs.

Finding a sex therapist can be difficult, but it’s worth doing your research to ensure you get the best care possible. A good place to start is asking potential therapists about their credentials and experience. Avoid those who claim to be sex experts without the proper training and certifications.

Another question to ask is whether or not they have experience working with a particular community you belong to. For example, if you are LGBTQ or part of the kink and polyamorous communities, you should find out if the therapist you’re considering has worked with these groups before.

Finally, make sure you ask if the sex therapist offers sliding scale fees or if they accept insurance. This can help if you’re struggling financially. You can also look for reviews online or ask friends and family if they’ve ever used a sex therapist before. They may be able to recommend someone.

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