Consulting a sex therapist should never be a last-ditch effort. The sooner you call in someone to guide you through your relationship or intimacy issues, the quicker and more likely they can be resolved. But who should you contact, how do you assess their expertise, and what should you expect?
Dr. Stephen Snyder, a certified sex therapist and associate clinical professor of psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, answers the typical questions people should and often ask when looking for a sex therapist:
1. Are you an AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educators)-certified sex therapist?
Most serious sex experts are AASECT-certified.
2. What is your therapeutic approach?
I wouldn’t know in advance, without seeing you first in consultation. I’ll need to hear your story in detail, then ask you lots of questions. Then we’ll sit down together and I’ll tell you what I think your best strategies and options are. Sexual problems are usually complex, so you want a practitioner who’s not wedded to a single treatment model.
3. How long does treatment usually take?
My goal would be for you to come away from the first consultation meeting with a clearer understanding of the problem, and with a few specific things to do to get to work immediately on it. What we do next is up to you. Many patients get what they need in a single consultation session. Others come for a few weeks or months. Others come in periodically. And a few end up in long-term therapy. It often depends on how ambitious your goals are.