Sex related issues are sensitive topics that may be difficult for individuals to discuss. That is why it is important for therapists to possess the necessary competency and knowledge to address such issues in therapy. There is a distinction to be made, however, when presenting concerns fall into the sexual realm.
Pursuing certification to become a Registered Sex Therapist through The American Association of Sexual Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) may be necessary to ensure therapists are practicing within their scope. With that being said, it doesn’t hurt for therapists to have a solid understanding of the various sexual identities, orientations, and preferences. More of than not, clients possess these identifies but are not necessarily pursuing counseling to address them. Therefore, the knowledge a therapist holds about this information serves to contextualize lived experiences rather than informing treatment planning efforts.
The aMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF SEX EDUCATORS. COUNSELORS, COACHES AND THERAPISTS EXISTS TO HELP PUT FOLKS IN CONTACT WITH EDUCATED PROFESSIONALS WHO CAN SERVE THEM ADEQUATELY AND APPROPRIATELY.
Therapists who address sex related issues must possess a high level of cultural competence. This means that they must acknowledge and respect the various cultural backgrounds of their clients and be able to address sex related issues in a way that is appropriate and sensitive to their clients' cultural norms and values. In addition, they should be familiar with the many cultural taboos and stigmas surrounding sex that exist within different societies and be able to address these issues with tact and sensitivity. Accruing this information can be done through participating in continuing education courses through AASECT approved educational providers. This is where therapists can learn from Registered Sex Therapists or Certified Sex Educators who have the extensive knowledge on the topics at hand.
MULTICULTURAL CONSIDERATIONS PROVIDE THERAPISTS WITH AN IN DEPTH LOOK AT HOW RACE, ETHNICITY AND CULTURE FACTOR INTO SEXUAL EXPERIENCES AND IDENTITIES. THERAPISTS ARE CHALLENGED TO REEVALUATE WHAT THEY KNOW ABOUT REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE, SEXUAL EXPRESSION AND STEREOTYPES AROUND PEOPLE OF COLOR.
Becoming a therapist who is competent in sex related issues also requires that they have a strong understanding of their own sexuality and sexual preferences. It is important for them to establish a positive and honest relationship with their own sexuality so that they can relate more effectively with their clients. This requires self-awareness and reflection, as well as an openness to exploring personal biases and prejudices. A streamlined, efficient way to come to understanding their own sexual beliefs is through a Sexual Attitude Reassessment (SAR). SARs are put on by professionals in the field of sex therapy and sex education. SARs have the capacity to delve into general themes or go in-depth into certain sexual subcultures (recently, the Modern Sex Therapy Institute offered a SAR related to ‘dangerous kinks’) that allow participants to gain a better understanding of how they view sex and sexuality.
In conclusion, therapists who address sex related issues should possess a high level of competency, knowledge, and cultural competence in order to provide quality care. They must be knowledgeable about sexual identities, orientations, and preferences, and be able to address sexual dysfunctions and disorders. They must also possess strong emotional intelligence and self-awareness to establish healthy therapeutic relationships with their clients. It is essential that therapists who address sex related issues remain open, respectful, and sensitive to the cultural norms and values of their clients, and possess a deep understanding of their own sexuality.