Become a Sex Therapist
The path to become a sex therapist can be confusing. But it doesn’t have to! Here is an overview of the process. For more details and specificity, see the list of requirements on the AASECT website. Here are Natalie’s recommendations on how to make your dream a reality.
Get a degree that allows for licensure first. The first step to become a Sex Therapist is to become a therapist. This means attending either a Masters program or a Doctoral program in psychology, social work, or marriage and family therapy so you can become an LMFT, LCSW, PhD, or PsyD. There are so many different programs to choose from. Each program has a different emphasis, cost, and timeline, so bear this in mind when choosing the program that is right for you. Attending one of these programs will provide you with the basics on becoming a therapist. Once you’ve graduated, you will have the foundational skills necessary to choose a specialization. Upon graduation from one of these programs, you will then have to complete “training hours.” Each license has a different requirement for how many are required.
Choose an AASECT approved Sex Therapy education. To become a Sex Therapist, AASECT requires two primary components: Education/SAR, Supervision, and Experience Hours (I’ll address the latter two in a minute). AASECT requires 150 hours of Sex Therapy specific education and a SAR (Sexual Attitudes Reassessment). Ninety of the hours are “Core Knowledge.” Human Sexuality is the general focus. The additional 60 hours are Sex Therapy specific. This includes topics like theory and methods of sex therapy, diagnosis, treatment planning, ethical considerations. Lastly, the SAR must be a minimum of 14 hours. Here are my four favorite AASECT education programs. Each has a different “style” or “flavor” to it, so I recommend choosing the one that resonates the most with your interests!
Choose an AASECT approved Sex Therapy Supervisor. To become a Sex Therapist, you’ll need to complete 50 hours of supervision with an AASECT approved supervisor. These fees can range in cost from $100 – $250 per hour depending on the supervisor. Twenty five of these hours can be conducted via Group Supervision, which is often less costly (approx $75 – $125 per hour). A list of approved AASECT supervisors can be found here. Supervision cannot begin until a formal contract is established between the supervisor and supervisee.
Complete Clinical Experience Hours. To submit your application to become a Sex Therapist, you need to complete at least 300 hours of clinical experience. Clinical experience means treatment of clients with sexual concerns as a primary therapist. These are the cases you will be discussing in with your AASECT approved Sex Therapy Supervisor. If you are not yet fully licensed, depending on the setting, these may be hours that apply towards your licensure if properly supervised. If you are fully licensed, these can be clients from your own practice.
Submit your application to AASECT! If you begin your journey to become a Sex Therapist prior to obtaining your license, you will need to wait until you are fully licensed to submit your application. If you begin your journey after obtaining your license, you can submit your application as soon as you’ve completed all of the AASECT requirements!
A few notes:
- You must be an active AASECT member while accruing supervision hours/experience hours
- You must abide by the AASECT code of ethics
- AASECT supervision does not apply towards your licensure unless your agreement with your supervisor explicitly states it does
- Most people begin the education part first, but you don’t have to! If you have active cases with sexual concerns, you can begin with supervision!
- You must have active cases with sexual concerns to begin supervision
- Supervision must span a minimum of 18 months to ensure a deep understanding of the clinical work
Do you have more questions about the process? Feel free to contact Natalie!