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    Ethics Class Available:

    Sexual Ethics: Beyond the Basics

    Category: Law and Ethics, Up to 6 Hours 

    “Sexual Ethics: Beyond the Basics” evolved from a series of in-person and web-based trainings previously offered on sexual ethics in the context of therapeutic sexual abuse recovery, sexual addiction treatment, and general professional clinical development. This training combines the most popular and relevant aspects of those classes, based on feedback from participants. 

    The training offers instruction on key issues facing clinicians today, filling a gap that many American educational settings have left open as graduate level sexual education and ethics of the 60’s – 70’s narrowed to only AIDS education in the 80’s and vanished in many institutions from the 1990’s to the present. Faced with an ever growing public exposure to and consumption of sexualized media, with greater access to a wider variety of sexual experiences than ever due to technology, “Sexual Ethics: Beyond the Basics” aims to broaden what has often been viewed as a narrow legal and ethical prohibition (Do not have sex with clients!), and further prepare professionals to address the ethical complexity that sexuality brings to our clinical work. We will address:

    • Understanding the basics: dual relationships; meeting outside a clinical or therapeutic setting; appropriate and inappropriate touch (e.g. hugging, kissing); suggesting a sexual or romantic relationship; changing the therapeutic relationship to pursue a romantic relationship
    • Case studies of actual ethical questions, violations, and situations in between, including legal and professional consequences
    • Beyond the basics: the influence of the therapist-client power imbalance on the impact of words and body language used by the therapist; understanding the emotional vulnerability of special populations, for example post-divorce, post-affair, those processing grief and loss
    • Energetic boundary violations: when affirmation becomes seduction; questions about commenting on a client’s physical appearance or attractiveness
    • How to discuss a client’s sensitive sexual issues in a clear and ethical way, including raising concerns without judgment and appropriate use of self-disclosure

    Learning Objectives

    By the end of the training, participants will be able to:

    1. Describe the five components of Maltz’s model for healthy sexuality
    2. Assist clients in constructing their own model of healthy sexuality
    3. Use four skills to maintain sexual boundaries in the helping relationship
    4. Understand the relevant law, WAC 246-16-100, Sexual Misconduct of a Health Care Provider, and relevant criminal justice implications
    5. Maintain scope of practice and determine when consultation and referrals are clinically indicated to certified sex therapists (CST), sex offender treatment providers (SOTP), and certified sex addictions therapists (CSAT) and how to find them

    Teaching methodology may include lecture with slides and written outline, facilitated dialogues, small group discussions and role-play of “skilled” and “unskilled” clinical approaches to sexual ethics, as well as experiential grounding for workshop attendees. The workshop tone combines intellectual stimulation, emotional safety, and tasteful humor for an engaging educational experience.


    If you are interested in this training for your practice or organization, please contact me via email or phone. 

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