How to become a sex therapist

While there are many steps in becoming a professional sex therapist, there are four main tasks.

1.  Be trained and licensed in one of the professional counseling/therapy fields.

Earn a Master’s degree or doctoral degree in the field of marriage and family therapy, social work, psychology, counseling, or medicine from an accredited university or college.

Become licensed as a Professional Counselor (LPCC), Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), Social Worker (LCSW), Psychologist or Medical Doctor (M.D.) in your state.  Your license must remain valid to maintain your certification in sex therapy.

Note: You may choose to begin your sex therapy education (see below) during your masters/doctorate. We have many who have complete their education during their counseling/therapy training, obtain their experience during internship/practicum, and are certified concurrent with licensure.

2.  Pursue further Sex Therapy education and training (a minimum of 150 clock hours) in each of the following areas:

The theology of sex, the history of sexology, sexual and reproductive anatomy and physiology, developmental sexuality (conception through aging), interpersonal relationships, ethnicity, religion and socioeconomic contributions to sexuality and sexual behavior, marriage and family, medical issues influencing sexuality (such as pregnancy, drugs, STIs, illness, disability, birth control and infertility), sexual research, sexual abuse, gender development and gender identity, atypical sexual behavior, sexual dysfunction, high frequency sexual behaviors, and substance abuse effects on sexuality, techniques of sex-related assessment and diagnosis of the Psychosexual Disorders in the current edition of the DSM, theory and intervention in sexual and intimacy problems, medical interventions in the evaluation and treatment of sexual disorders, consultation, collaboration and referral, evaluation of outcomes of therapy, and practicum experience (treatment of cases through observation, demonstration, videotape presentation, role-playing, etc.).

Document all courses/workshops taken and that each of the above areas has been studied.

This education may be from an accredited college or university, AASECT CEUs, other CEU workshops (with approval by ABCST), trainings offered through Sexual Wholeness, Inc., ABCST-approved workshops through AACC, CAPS, or other ABCST-approved trainings. Note that most video based courses do not count. Please contact us if you have specific questions.

3.  Obtain Supervised CLINICAL Experience in Sex Therapy:

Complete a minimum of 200 hours of supervised treatment of clients presenting with sexual issues and a minimum of 50 hours of supervision with an ABCST-approved sex therapy supervisor.  This experience should include the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of psychosexual dysfunctions.  While these experience hours may include cases involving sexual abuse, sexual addiction, treatment of perpetrators of sexual abuse, or gender identity issues, the majority of these experience hours and related supervision should be focused on treatment of the sexual dysfunctions.

4.  Complete the application required to become a certified sex therapist and have it successfully approved.

If you are interested in becoming an ABCST certified Christian Sex Therapist, we highly recommend you download the ABCST Certification Application and begin documenting your progress through the requirements.  Also, the applicant will be required to read and sign the ABCST Statement of Faith and Sexual Theology statements.  When all education, experience and licensure requirements are met, please complete the application, providing all supporting documentation, character references and supervisor recommendations, and submit your application.  To maintain certification, all Certified Christian Sex Therapists must be members of ABCST.