Certificate in Sex and Intimacy Counselling
Intimacy and Sexuality courses in a nutshell:
Discussion Topics and skills: The series of 4 specialized courses feature text books, demonstration videos, and supplemental materials providing the latest information related to human sexual behaviors, gender roles, GLBT relationships, intimacy, and sexual difficulties. Learn to assess and treat symptoms of sexual dysfunction such as: low level of sexual desire; arousal; difficult climaxing; premature ejaculation. Due to the in-depth coverage of the topics, a series of four courses of related content (taken in the following order) covers theories and counselling techniques used to assist with mild to moderate difficulties related to sexual dysfunction and intimacy.
Experienced practitioners who are members of a professional association or regulatory college may take the following four courses for professional development.
To earn the Specialized Certificate in Sex and Intimacy Counselling, the following courses are required.
- Treating Symptoms of Sexual Dysfunction
- Understanding Human Sexuality
- Culture, Sex, and Intimacy
- Sex and Intimacy Counselling
UHS-400 -- Understanding Human Sexuality , the first course in the series focuses on human sexuality. This emphasis allows students to gain a basic understanding of physical anatomy as it relates to sexual response; gender differences; what’s ‘normal’ in terms of sexual desire and behavior.
CSI-400 -- Culture, Sex, and Intimacy, the second course in the series focuses on intimacy in relationships. Students learn how cultural influences, styles of communication, and family background contributes to the level of intimacy and resulting sexual problems in straight, gay, lesbian and bisexual relationships.
SIC-400 -- Sex and Intimacy Counselling, the third course in the series presents theories and techniques used to increase the level of intimacy and sexual gratification in significant relationships. Students learn to develop and conduct a Marital Enrichment Program for individual couples and small groups.
TSD-400 -- Treating Symptoms of Sexual Dysfunction, the fourth course in the series introduces theories, methods of assessment, and techniques used to treat specific problems related to arousal and sexual function.
Requirements to enroll in the Specialized Certificate in Sex and Intimacy Counselling:
Pre-requisite courses for applicants who do not have a diploma or degree in Counselling:
- Introduction to Applied Psychology and Ethics
- Assessment of Psychological Disorders
- Applied Counselling Skills (ACS I -400)
- Conflict, Suicide and Emergency Interventions
- Introduction to Couples’ Counselling
The Counsellor’s Role as a Professional
The very nature of sex therapy raises concerns with clients who expect their counselor to maintain a strict professional role that includes setting appropriate boundaries, and adhering to ethical and legal guidelines.
Counsellors must remain sensitive and attend to any discomfort their client might experience when divulging highly personal information.
Self-awareness exercises specific to the topic of sexuality give students the opportunity to explore and identify any misconceptions and/or counter-transference issues that might interfere with treatment of related concerns.
Throughout the Certificate program, students learn and practice techniques supported by the current research and information related to key topics. Text books, videos, and supplemental readings used in this series of courses provide theories and techniques on human sexual behaviors, gender roles, culture, intimacy and dysfunction. Students have the opportunity to practice specific techniques related to the content of each course.
The final course in the series presents an integrative approach based on the premise that sexual problems result from getting ‘stuck’ in a defensive pattern that doesn’t allow for individuation. Development of a strong sense of Self is essential to successfully alleviate sexual problems. Treating a couple’s sexual relationship, involves two people with very complex feelings about themselves, each other and the world. The counsellor uses a combination of insight oriented counselling, coaching, and cognitive behavioral techniques to help the couple build an intimate relationship that can sustain healthy sexual functioning.
The video “Sex, Love, and Intimate Relationships” demonstrates the theory that sexual difficulties arise of, or create intimacy problems in the relationship, a cognitive approach used to identify and challenge the individual partner’s belief system that is at the root of inter-personal and intra-personal problems. These introjected negative beliefs become barriers to intimacy and lead to sexual difficulties.
Traditional Behavioral approach:
Techniques used to treat Sexual Dysfunction draw from traditional behavioral methods based on exhaustive research by Masters and Johnson, and adapted by Dr. Helen Singer Kaplan. ‘Sensate focus’ and other techniques are featured in the texts, videos, and supplemental reading material.
Psycho educational approach:
The text used in Sex and Intimacy Counselling provides an evidence-based format used to design and conduct workshops or extended programs relating to marital enrichment.
Scope of practice
Graduates from this Certificate program are prepared to work as counselors or ‘sexologists’- to assess and treat individuals and couples experiencing mild to moderate difficulties related to intimacy and sexual issues.
The certificate program conforms to the ethical guidelines and competency standards set by the Canadian Professional Counsellors Association, (CPCA) and the Canadian College of Professional Counsellors and Psychotherapists (CCPCP).