Question by : How do i become a relationship and sex therapist?
Answer by Tom Chase
Sex therapy is a subfield of marriage and relationship counseling. Most sex therapists enter the profession by becoming marriage counselors first, and then specialize in intimacy problems between couples. Other sex therapist work with individuals who have experienced sexual trauma, who need help working through guilt and shame.
As a sex therapist, you help patients overcome their intimacy and sex issues so that they can have better marriages, relationships, and self esteem. Read below to learn the basic steps for earning a counseling license and specializing in sex.
Understand that in order to become a licensed sex therapist, you must first become licensed as a therapist by your state. Your state’s licensing agency will have complete information on how to earn this certification. Thus, the first step is to visit their website, and read up on all the requirements. Although many particulars vary by state, most of these steps are the same no matter where you earn the license.
Complete a Masters or Ph.D. in a field related to social work, psychology, human behavior, or counseling. If you have an bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field, you can still get admitted to a masters program, you will just need to take some supplemental courses.
In addition to taking courses for your degree program, you should also take many classes in human sexuality, anthropology, and human behavior. It may take you longer to earn your degree, but this coursework is necessary for two reasons.
One, all successful sexual counselors have a strong academic background in sexuality. Two, you can’t get an internship with a sex therapist unless you have some academic knowledge of the field.
Obtain practical field experience through internships. Usually these are arranged through the school where you earn the degree. If you want to immediately specialize in intimacy issues, you should apply for positions within a marriage therapy clinic, or a sexual trauma clinic.
Take your state’s licensing exams. As of yet, there is no specific sex counseling license, so you will either earn a general counseling license, or a marriage and family therapy license.
Attend professional development seminars for working therapists who specialize in sexuality. Here you will make connections with other counselors, and build your reputation.
Join the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, AASECT. This is a national organization for people who work in a wide variety of social work fields related to sex. It is another great way to become established in the field.
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