What is sex therapy?
Sex therapy is a form of talk therapy that is designed to help people work through sexual issues, concerns, and/or difficulties they may be experiencing in a professional, safe, and private setting.
Frequently people want a safe space to ask vulnerable questions, address concerns they are having, and/or find ways to enhance their sexual lives. However many healthcare professionals – including counselors and therapists – do not have the training and expertise necessary to ethically and responsibly respond to these concerns. Sex therapy is a space where people can address how sexuality specific issues are impacting their mental health, relationships, personal health, and happiness. Sex therapy’s goal is to support an individual’s ability to reclaim their sexuality, making it a positive and empowering part of their life and overall identity.
While some specially trained therapists practice somatic approaches to therapy, which include a level of professional and healing touch, our program is very strictly a talk therapy model. This means that our work is done entirely through verbal communication and does not include any type of physical contact.
Sessions are structured to create a unique and personalized approach to these needs – since every person has a unique story and goal they are hoping to achieve, we recognize that our services must be tailored to fit the individual. Sex therapy sessions are a client-centered process, meaning that the client drives the agenda and determines the steps, pace and goals. The role of the clinician is to provide accurate information and resources, suggestions, encourage positive reframes, and to provide homework as well as tangible opportunities for clients to learn new skills and build tools.
Appointments are a mix of these elements:
-Personalized sexuality information and education
-Mental reframing and redirection of cognitive processes
–Guided behavioral training
-Resources and referrals
If you think you have something you would like to address, you can contact The CSPH to determine whether a sex therapy appointment might be right for you. Depending on your needs, we may offer you a referral to an outside provider.
Kira is a triple threat: clinician, educator, and program manager with expertise in gender and sexual diversity, sexual pleasure, disability advocacy, and social justice. She is also a Licensed Social Worker with a Masters in Education in Human Sexuality. Due to her obsession with learning she is also working to complete a doctorate in Human Sexuality from Widener University- examining the experience of gender identity development for neurodiverse individuals. She has worked as a sex educator in a large range of settings, from middle schools to medical schools for over a decade. She recently moved from Philadelphia where she worked as the LGBT Health and Capacity Training Manager at The Mazzoni Center, organized the 13th Annual Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference, and co-founded the sex education collaborative ScrewSmart. Energetic and friendly, she strives to create spaces that challenge and support individuals to explore sexuality by using active methods and affirmative and feminist informed therapeutic modalities. She is excited to be back in Rhode Island, and humbled to be hired to work on the RI Trans* Health Initiative to create systemic change in support of accessible and sustainable health care for trans* Rhode Islanders.
View Kira’s Psychology Today profile.
View Whitney’s Psychology Today profile.
Sexuality consultations involve an initial intake and assessment fee of $120.00 for individuals and $150.00 for couples (the first visit). After this visit, sessions for individuals are priced at $100.00. Couples sessions are $120.00 . Payment is expected at the conclusion of each session by cash, check, credit card (in person only) or through PayPal. For Skype sessions, payment is required via PayPal. All prices are in USD.
Unfortunately, insurance does not cover sessions at this time.
What will happen during the visit?
When you first meet with one of our therapists, we will ask what brought you in, what you are looking to learn, and how you are hoping to grow and/or develop. A personalized assessment and intake happens in order to find out more about you and your unique situation. During your first session, your therapist will provide personalized information and resources on sexuality, the body, sexual functioning, behavioral training, and mental reframing. The last 10 minutes of the session will involve clarifying concerns and creating homework – in order to ensure that future sessions run smoothly, homework is intended to be completed before the next appointment. While it might be challenging, it will also be fun!
How long do consultations run?
The first session for both individuals and couples runs for an hour and a half in order to ensure that your therapist is brought up to speed with the specific issues/concerns you are facing.
For individuals, each additional session is an hour long whereas for couples, the second session is also an hour and a half. All sessions after that are one hour
The second appointment for couples is also an hour and a half long so that your therapist can have time to sit individually with each person and get to hear from them how they understand the reason they came in for therapy.
Sometimes therapy only involves one appointment in which the client verbalizes their concerns and their therapist is able to provide resources and clarify misconceptions. Other times, sex therapy is recommended for a series of sessions in order to bring the client to their desired destination. Appointments with our therapists are extremely individualized, with most individuals meeting twice a month for an average of 2-6 months.
What if I’m not close enough to come in person?
Some of our therapists also practice on a digital health clinic called Maven. We appreciate this form of service delivery because it makes our work more accessible to people who are geographically isolated or unable to access a professional with appropriate training where they live. While Maven is marketed for cis women, please rest assured that people of any and all gender identities and expressions are welcome and able to receive healthcare through the Maven Clinic app. If you’d like to find out more about Maven please refer to their website https://www.mavenclinic.com/, or write Therapy@TheCSPH.org to find out more.
Can I bring my partner(s), spouse(s) or lover(s) to the session?
If you would like to invite a person or multiple people to your individual therapy sessions, you must discuss this and make a plan for it with your therapist. Please keep in mind that sessions where both/all partners are present require longer sessions and should be noted at the time of booking.
Many people are nervous speaking about sexual concerns, but rest assured you are dealing with an experienced professional who has received specialized training and has years of experience having these types of conversations. Please know that:
- You will not be judged by the language you use. There is no need to spend unnecessary time trying to come up with the “right” word; you are welcome to use the language with which you are comfortable. If your therapist is unclear about a word or phrase, they will check in with you.
- Sexuality consultations do not involve any nudity or touching. There are no sexual exchanges that take place at The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health.
- We will progress at the pace that works best for you.
- We have a cat named Bisquit that lives in The CSPH and loves to snuggle with people when they are experiencing feelings. If it would make you feel more comfortable you can ask to have Bisquit be present with you during your sessions 🙂
How do I schedule an appointment?
To schedule an appointment, or to find out if therapy at The CSPH is the right fit for you, use the contact form on our website at http://www.thecsph.org/therapy/schedule-a-consultation/ or contact Therapy@TheCSPH.org. You will be able to disclose in greater detail what issues you are facing, what growth you are looking for, and/or what challenges you would like to overcome once you meet with one of our therapists.