The mission of ACSSW is to promote sexuality as a central aspect of being human that includes the intersection of interpersonal and intrapersonal influences on sexual expression and identities inclusive of age, race, ethnicity, religion, sex, gender and gender expression, physical and mental health and abilities, and socioeconomic status.

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Upcoming ACSSW Live Webinars:

Kinky Clients: Whipping Counselors into Shape

Presented by Diane A. Litam, Ph.D., LPCC-s, NCC, and Megan Speciale, Ph.D.

Friday, July 16, 2021

8:00AM-10:00AM PDT/ 10:00AM-12:00PM CST/11:00PM-1:00PM EST

Program offers 2.0 CEs for Psychologists (APA), 2.0 CEUs for Illinois state Counselors and Social Workers*, and 2.0 BBS California CEUs for LPCCs, LPSW, and LMFTs

Sexuality and Cultural Worldviews

Presented by Patricia Arredondo, EdD, NCC

Friday, July 16, 2021

8:00AM-10:00AM PDT/ 10:00AM-12:00PM CST/11:00PM-1:00PM EST

Program offers 2.0 CEs for Psychologists (APA), 2.0 CEUs for Illinois state Counselors and Social Workers*, and 2.0 BBS California CEUs for LPCCs, LPSW, and LMFTs

Intersectionality and Sexuality

Presented by Christian Chan, Ph.D., NCC

Friday, August 20, 2021

8:00AM-10:00AM PDT/ 10:00AM-12:00PM CST/11:00PM-1:00PM EST

Program offers 2.0 CEs for Psychologists (APA), 2.0 CEUs for Illinois state Counselors and Social Workers*, and 2.0 BBS California CEUs for LPCCs, LPSW, and LMFTs

ACSSW Courses Available for Homestudy

The Ethics of Sexual Issues in Therapy

Sexual health and wellness topics in therapy are often ignored, deprioritized, or even pathologized by clinicians. Sexual issues are one of the few issues still considered to be so taboo that they can only be treated by specialists (e.g., sex therapists). Though, of course, sex therapists may be able to provide more specialized treatment of sex-related presenting issues, it is often unnecessary for clients to see a sex therapist for sex-related issues that are only tertiary components of a clinical presentation. Nonetheless, mental health clinicians continue to avoid sexual topics during their care, sometimes missing important components of the issue’s history, etiology, and/or symptomatology. One of the largest barriers to clinicians broaching the topic of sex is the ethical concerns of professionals. There are fundamental misunderstandings of the ethics of treating sexual issues in clinical practice. This program will provide information related to these ethical considerations, including models for arriving at appropriate ethical decisions related to treatment of sexual issues.

Let’s Do It! A Sex Positive Approach to Sexual Health and Counseling

Although sexuality is part of the human experience, it is often disregarded in counselor training, in clinical practice, and professional counseling literature. With so few formal resources and training opportunities, students and counselors alike are left to explore human sexuality on their own – if they do it at all. More often than not, the mental health field as a whole, simply leave human sexual concerns to the “specialists”. Considering the wide variety of mental health concerns that are intertwined with the human sexual experience, it is imperative for counselors to receive a foundational training in human sexuality. Aligning with counselor identity and the wellness approach to mental health, this program will address the differences between a wellness model versus medical model approach to sexual concerns; explore the differences between sexuality counseling and the specialty field of sex therapy; and examine values, biases, and assumptions associated with personal sexual scripts by engaging audience members to examine their own beliefs about sexuality. Lastly, the audience will receive information on how to incorporate a sex positive framework that is guided by radical respect and approached from an intersectional lens.

A Survey of ACA Members & Sexuality Training

The Association for Counseling Sexology and Sexual Wellness sent out a descriptive survey to counseling professionals using both CES-NET and ACA Connect Sexuality Interest Network to gauge the experiences in the knowledge, skills, and self-efficacy about sexuality and sexual wellness in counseling. Nineteen questions were created by one member of the board utilizing current textbooks and research regarding sexuality training, and were reviewed and approved by the remaining members of the board. The survey was sent out two times to get as many responses as possible, and had 178 responses. This presentation will focus on presenting the findings of this survey, and providing implications for counselors and counselor educators (as well as other mental health fields) around what this means for the helping professions in both training and professional practice. Sexuality is a part of the human experience which cannot be ignored, especially in a counseling environment, and represents a call to action for counselors to address this at the systemic level to provide the necessary education and training to help counselors be prepared in session.

Relational Cultural Theory (RCT) Approach toward Sexual Health of Women who have Sex with Women

Relational Cultural Theory (RCT) is a feminist approach to counseling that emphasizes human development through relational connection, explores the impact of culture and social systems on emotional and psychological development, and (Jordan, 2010; Walker, 2008), and underscores how development and relationships with others cannot be understood separately from how those connections have been “raced, engendered, sexualized, and situated along dimensions of class, physical ability, religion or whatever constructions carry ontological significance in the culture” (Walker, 2008, p. 90). Wellness, therefore, is fostered through relationships that encourage empathy, authenticity and empowerment wherein individuals can realize their relational competence and create relationships that can sustain disruption and relational injury (Jordan, 2010). When counseling cisgender women in same-sex relationships, maintaining an RCT approach will allow the clinician to review and examine how clients have been impacted by heteronormative societal messages of what it means to be female, to be sexual as a woman, and how to perform in relationships.

Pleasure Advocacy: A Sexual Wellness Model

Mental health professionals have an ethical obligation to promote sexual health as an essential aspect of the human experience. This includes acknowledging sexual pleasure as central to sexual wellbeing. Competent clinicians need to obtain education and training in order to work effectively with their client to address sexual issues. This means being able to recognize the complex cultural aspects of sexuality and sexual pleasure which includes race, ethnicity, religion, sex, gender and gender expression, values and beliefs, SES, physical abilities as well as current social/political events which work to oppress minoritized groups. The access to and ability to freely engage in “pleasurable and safe sexual experiences free of discrimination, coercion, and violence” as a fundamental human right unfortunately is not available to all people. This workshop will review the political and societal influences which impact sexual pleasure for oppressed groups in the U.S. Sexual pleasure will be redefined in a way that is more expansive and inclusive. Different tools that have been developed to measure sexual pleasure and satisfaction and their limitations will be examined. The presenters will discuss the WAS Declaration of Sexual Pleasure and the importance of pleasure advocacy as mental health professionals.