If you have sexual and relationship problems, look up AASECT certified sex therapists in your area, and check out their websites to be sure your needs match their training and experience. Anyone calling themselves a sex therapist should be AASECT certified, or in the process of becoming AASECT certified. AASECT.org has listings of certified sex therapists for nearly every area. There are other certifications, but AASECT is by far the most rigorous and prestigious.
If you look at Psychology Today’s listings for sex therapy, you will find far too many who call themselves sex therapists, when in reality they are not what they claim to be. A workshop or a few courses do not qualify a therapist to be an actual credentialed sex therapist. Psychology Today gives its coveted arrow to certify a variety of therapist types, but in truth the arrows mean nothing.
Similarly, some counselors claim to be certified sex addiction counselors (CSAT), which means absolutely nothing. You cannot certify something that does not exist! There is no valid research showing that sex addiction and hyper-sexuality are diagnoses meriting any attention. These charlatans run around trying to convince the media and potential clients that they are professionals who know what they are doing. They do not! Stay away from them.
If you are obsessive-compulsive and can’t make it to work because you are masturbating all the time, you have a problem to solve with a sex therapist—not a sex addiction counselor. AASECT certified therapists are trained to deal with clients who are out of balance.
If you have sexual desire, arousal or orgasm woes, see a sex therapist. Sex therapists usually do couples counseling, and they are the best choice to deal with individuals and couples. A prepared sex therapist does not assume any problem is all mental. They look at medical issues, and they are aware of medications that interfere with sexual bliss. They also look at relationship problems that contribute to sexual problems.
Unless they are also certified sex therapists, marriage counselors are not a good choice for sexual problems. A typical marriage counselor is lucky to have taken a course in Human Sexuality. Good marriage counselors refer to sex therapists for sexual issues. If I had fifty bucks for every couple that comes to me for help having wasted time and money with a marriage counselor or a sex addiction counselor, I would own a mansion in the South Pacific.
A sex addiction counselor does not usually even recognize sex therapy, because it is a threat to their practice to do so. But CSAT counselors have no training to help couples improve their sexual relationship. A marriage counselor sometimes is greedy and wants to keep his clients, and so they attempt to solve sexual problems, and they almost always fail. They give bad advice based on their biases about sex, rather than refer out to sex therapists.
The poor consumer would not know all of this unless they read a blog like this one. There are ethical concerns here. It is unethical to do therapy beyond a therapist’s scope of practice. I would never try to solve a problem outside my own scope of practice.
In the end, each buyer must be careful! Check out a therapist’s website for their credentials, approaches to problems and their experience. If a therapist does not have a website, I would not even consider hiring them. Look at reviews by colleagues and clients. If there are none, this is shaky.
Even AASECT therapists are not all equal. Some lack a sense of humor, or their experience is limited. My best advice is research anyone out by interviewing them on the phone before making an appointment. Make sure you are comfortable with their approach and personality. Can they communicate well? If not, how would they help you communicate better? In the end you have to click with a therapist. You have to get them. Good luck!