There is sometimes confusion about my qualifications as a general, marriage, or family therapist, since most of my current practice is working with relationship and sex therapy issues. It’s like doctors who are specialists – they have the same medical school foundation as your family practitioner – then years of work in their specialty.
I have training and experience of many years in counseling psychology and family studies – then I became a sexologist through advanced specialized study. I keep informed and continue my education in human development, counseling psychology, and sexology.
I tell clients – sex doesn’t exist in a vacuum – it’s part of our whole lives. Sometimes a problem that manifests itself in sexual issues is straightforward and addressed with information and practical responses. Usually however, sexual issues are symptoms of other things in life and relationships. The sexual symptoms do need specialized focused attention, but treatment often means addressing life issues that are the context of the relationship as well.
Many therapists are not equipped to handle sexual issues directly or specifically. The current Marriage and Family Therapy curriculum as required by the licensing Board of Behavioral Sciences includes just one course in general human sexuality, which does not provide information on counseling for sexual issues. A survey by the American Psycholigical Association of hundreds of practitioners revealed that most of them had little or no training in sex therapy – but that sexual issues come up in counseling 70% of the time.
As a certified sex therapist and a relationship & family counselor, I am qualified to incorporate treatment for sexual issues into therapy.
My specific academic credentials are:
Doctorate in humanistic psychology with a focus in sexuality and relationships through the lifespan.
I am an experienced (since 2000) general psychotherapist with a Master’s Degree plus a Certificate of Advanced Professional Studies in Counseling Psychology and Psychological Services
I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Family and Consumer Sciences/Child and Family Studies (1995)
I am a CA licensed marriage and family therapist (MFT) #MFC51696
I am a Sex Therapist certified by the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists, an active member of the Sex Education Council of the United States, the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, the Association for Pre- and Peri-Natal Psychology and Health, and the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.
I hold several additional certifications including Arthritis Support Group leader; Personal Fitness Trainer, including for injured and disabled persons, and for pre- and post-natal women.
I have completed research at Saybrook Graduate and Research Institute in San Francisco on polyamory, open marriage, and most recently on “low desire” which is really about maintaing positive sex lives in committed relationships.
I have been fortunate to work with Dr. Peter Pacik on groundbreaking work helping women with a painful condition called Vaginismus that is often undiagnosed by physicians and is characterized by severe vaginal pain that makes intercourse impossible or excruciating. For information on Vaginismus search for Dr. Peter Pacik, Manchester, New Hampshire (United States) and for more info on relationships and sexual issues visit my blog, lovehelp.US.