In an earlier blog (“Who is a Real Sex Expert?”) I argued that a license and certification as a sex therapist are basic considerations when choosing a sex therapist.

I did not mean to imply that all you should consider is a license and AASECT or other certification as a sex therapist or a sexologist (one who studies and encourages sexual pleasure!). Experience doing therapy, and actual sexual experience are also important. Obviously, therapists who have been practicing a long time have more experience doing therapy.

Actual personal sexual experience is not something you ask a potential therapist about, but if a person has little sexual experience, they cannot claim to know how to fully fix problems or superbly fine-tune a couple or an individual. We learn from graduate training, but even some training programs lack a broad brush to teach students about sexology and how to do sex therapy. Too often I hear about professors who teach that sex addiction is real. This is one example of incompetence and the lack of an evidence-based approach.

Since graduate programs are often weak in some areas, self-learning through reading, videos and actual sexual experience complement what is missing. We should all be life-long learners when it comes to knowing about sex and offering proper as therapists and educators.

AASECT certification is not enough. Neither is a license. I agree with fellow professionals who contend that you can be licensed and certified and still not have enough background in sexology and theoretical approaches to be a great sex therapist. Personality, sense of humor (how many boring, inhibited and narrow-minded therapists have you met?) and the skills to listen and provide direct feedback are essential.

A thorough website answers many—perhaps most—questions you may have about a given sex therapist. Some therapists do not even have a website. These therapists may not have accomplished enough to write about what they can offer. A website usually helps you determine if a therapist has a sense of humor, and you should get some idea about the approach they would take. The “how do you feel?” approach is not a treatment plan.

I am a cognitive-behavioral therapist (CBT), which has empirically been shown to be an effective modality of treatment. I am also very aware of sexual medicine, and I work with medical specialists as well as general M.D.s. Many sex therapists have little knowledge about the medical issues, and I believe they need to learn more if they are deficient. It is not enough to refer to a doctor or call their doctor and ask them to deal with a problem the therapist has no clue about. Keeping up on sex research and medical topics make for a more integrated approach to the mind-body connection.

All of this applies to sex educators too. AASECT certifies sex educators, but graduate training and self-learning is relevant too. An educator must be a good speaker and a good listener. Again, a sense of humor is highly recommended! Some porn stars and other sex workers know a lot when they give a presentation or are interviewed in the media. Some of these people become certified as sex therapists or sex educators. Their experience is invaluable to share with sex therapists and sexologists.

As I argued in my earlier blog, media-created sex experts are often not true experts! Dr. Drew Pinsky is one example. He was not accurate about many sexual issues when he hosted Loveline on the radio. He saw sex addiction as real, and his own lack of experience was obvious. I hosted my own radio show in Atlanta (“The Pleasure Dome”) and my show was favorably compared to Loveline. The same is true of social media created “sex experts.” We need more than sex appeal to be real sex experts.

Finally, sex addiction counselors are not usually sex therapists. Their so-called certification means nothing! They should be disregarded for their lack of an evidence-based, sex-positive approach. All of this can be confusing to those seeking sex therapy, but everyone should do their homework on therapists before they decide on one.

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