I am an AASECT Certified Sex Therapist that has been in private practice for 8 years treating adults with sexual concerns. I'm here to tell y'all why I think Sex Therapy Intensives are the way of the future of Sex Therapy treatment.
Why do we only do therapy for an hour?
For starters, something you should know is that the structure of having a 50-min or less session per week was designed by insurance companies and not by therapists who have their clients’ best interests at heart. Let me tell you, I don't think insurance companies really understand how healing through therapy works. Sometimes, when I am working with a client, it can take 30-40 minutes to get to the place where the real art of sex therapy happens, then we have to prepare to close our session. Leaving little time to simmer in the growth edge. Imagine having surgery or getting a hair cut and after the time limit was up, no matter the situation, you had to stop, then wait a week for your next scheduled appointment to pick back up.
Additionally, when you are a weekly or bi-weekly client, sometimes illness, holidays and other life events get in the way of maintaining consistent sessions. That means it’s taking us even longer to get to the center of your concerns, let alone work towards positive change.
Why should I go to a Certified Sex Therapist?
Did you know that most therapists are required to take only 3-5 credits in Human Sexuality to obtain their degree? I've actually taught this course and it is not enough training to be competent in treating sexological concerns. To make matters a little more complicated, "sex therapist" is not a regulated term. That means anyone can call themselves a sex therapist, even if they don't have any additional training.
To ensure you are in good hands, it is recommended that you find a Certified Sex Therapist. The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) is a certification body, based in the US, that ensures your therapist has 150 hours of sexuality education, sex therapy training, and 50 hours of clinical supervision.
Why Would I do a Sex Therapy Intensive?
When you do a Sex Therapy Intensive, you get more time for uninterrupted deep work that can get you further in your healing process in a shorter amount of time. If you had consistent weekly appointments, it would take 3 months to complete 11 hours of therapy. 6 months if you see your therapist bi-weekly. Instead of weekly or bi-weekly appointment, during an intensive, you target a specific intention within a much shorter amount of time.
They are so expensive. Why would someone pay for that?
You may have heard about the Good Faith Estimate. This provides the consumer with the expected cost of therapy for the year. When considering the cost of a Sex Therapy Intensive, compare the amount of money you would pay for consecutive sex therapy sessions, and the amount you would pay for the sex therapy intensive. Then, add up the amount of therapeutic time that comes with your Sex Therapy Intensive and figure out how long it would realistically take you to complete the same amount of face-to-face hours of therapy if you were coming to sex therapy weekly or bi-weekly.
Sex Therapy intensives are great when you want to work on a specific sexual concern, without the confines of time, and scheduling getting in the away of you feeling better faster.
Using it as Adjunct Therapy
Sex Therapy Intensives work very well as an adjunct therapy. That means, you can continue to see your regular individual or relationship therapist and add a Sex Therapy intensive with a sex therapist to target your sexual concerns with an expert. When I do a therapy intensive, I ask my clients if they would like me to coordinate care with their primary provider. The only thing they would have to do is sign a Release of Information so that their current therapist and myself can collaborate to best serve you. This is the best option when your current therapist is not a sex therapist.
What does this actually look like?
Every Certified Sex Therapist that provides Sex Therapy Intensives does things a little differently. At my practice, I offer a 3 day intensive that includes a pre-intensive interview, three 3 hours sessions, and a post-intensive follow up. Each intensive comes with individualized assessments and a customized workbook. When doing relational Sex Therapy Intensives, I provide my clients with additional relationship building homework that is completed outside of session.
Sex Therapy Intensives are a larger upfront cost than traditional therapy models. However, they offer the potential to target your concerns with less overall cost and in a shorter amount of time.
How do I find Sex Therapy Intensives?
You will need to find a sex therapist that is licensed in your state that provides Sex Therapy Intensives. If you are in Washington state, you are welcome to check out Sex Therapy Intensives with me, Anne Mauro, at my private practice, Mending Connections, PLLC to see if we would be a good fit. You can also look at the AASECT provider directory for a list of Certified Sex Therapists in your state.