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Chicago | Certificate

Certificate in Sex Therapy

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Program Overview

Adler University’s Certificate in Sex Therapy prepares socially responsible clinicians with core knowledge of human sexuality and sex therapy training that meets the highest standards in the field, including an ethical consciousness and cultural competence.

Adler University is approved to deliver this unique curriculum by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT), as an Organizational Provider II. This means that the curriculum has been reviewed by AASECT and that Adler University is approved to offer AASECT CE (continuing education) credits. The Certificate in Sex Therapy provides human sexuality education and sex therapy training, as well as an attitudes and values training (i.e., Sexual Attitude Reassessment; (SAR)) as required by AASECT.

This program meets the requirements for AASECT to be a Certified Sex Therapist and is approved for a total of 164 CE credits. Completion of this program does not ensure or guarantee AASECT Certification. For further information please contact [email protected].

The Certificate in Sex Therapy is a non-clinical opportunity providing students with all the foundational education and training necessary to accompany the required clinical work and supervision (not included) for the Certified Sex Therapist designation from AASECT. To meet the designation requirements of AASECT, students must engage in specific clinical and supervision requirements. Students will receive advising as part of the certificate to develop a plan to fully complete certification requirements.

Read the latest information from the Couple & Family Therapy Department

The Couple and Family Therapy Department Handbook (“CFT Handbook”) is available for applicants and current students. This contains the most up-to-date information regarding the department and our degree and certificate offerings.

Download Handbook

Important note about sexually explicit content

Watching sexually explicit content is an important part of the Certificate in Sex Therapy as it serves as both representation of possible presenting issues but also serves as exposure. Content shown includes both “heavy-image” and “low-image.” This is most typically part of the Sexual Attitude Reassessment (SAR; SEX-691) as the goal is to cause discomfort as a catalyst to explore one’s biases and reactions. If a student opted out of too significant of portions of the SAR, it could impair their ability to contemplate personal responses to sexual acts, identities, and ideas.

If students find “heavy-image” sexually explicit content beyond their comfort zone, alternative activities include reflection on this limitation as well as observation of “low-image” content. Students may also consider not watching the video, but then engaging in the follow-up discussion. If this is a concern for a student, for example for religious reasons, they are requested to develop a plan in concert with the instructor and Certificate Manager to meet all requirements of the course.

Request Information

      You need a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution to enroll in Adler University programs.


      Student Outcomes

      Program Objectives and Careers

      The mission of the Certificate in Sex Therapy is to prepare socially responsible professionals with core knowledge of human sexuality and sex therapy training that meets the highest standards of the field including an ethical consciousness and cultural competence.

      Program Objectives

      • To provide students with core knowledge on human sexuality education, including diverse identities.
      • To create the opportunity for students to self-assess and understand their own attitudes and values (i.e., self-of-the-therapist), through a social justice perspective.
      • To train students in the ethical practice of sex therapy preparing them to engage in the required clinical component and supervision.
      • To graduate socially responsible practitioners of sex therapy sensitive to social justice and diversity with a goal of inclusion and advocacy consistent with Adlerian principles.


      Graduates can pursue positions as therapists, counselors, clinicians, or social workers in:

      • Schools
      • Hospitals
      • Private Practice
      • Agencies
      • Anywhere behavioral healthcare is needed

      Additionally, graduates can provide certified and specialized knowledge and training in their current positions.


      The Certificate in Sex Therapy is a 10-credit hour program offered in a blended format, with a combination of synchronous and asynchronous eLearning, and one weekend residence per course, located at our Chicago Campus.

      The weekly meetings in SEX-690, SEX-692, and SEX-693 are two hours and are most typically offered in the evening to accommodate most schedules. These weekly meetings will either be synchronous via Zoom or asynchronous assignments as outlined by the syllabus. All content is available on the learning management system (LMS).

      All four courses will also have one weekend residency following this schedule for a total of 14 hours.

      Certificate students are not required to complete the Social Justice Practicum (SJP).

      Find course descriptions and more information in the Adler University Course Catalog here.


      SEX 690 - A Biopsychosocial Approach to Sexuality Across the Lifespan (3 cr.)

      This course will explore developmental sexuality across the lifespan including sexual and reproductive anatomy and physiology, human sexual response cycles, and the normative developmental tasks and challenges related to sex and sexuality from a biopsychosocial perspective. Competency understanding, assessing, and conceptualizing sexuality in a sex-positive way at various life stages including clinical interventions and improved communication skills addressing common challenges will be introduced. Students will explore the impact of gender as it pertains to the development of gender identity, gender expression and gender roles across the lifespan. In addition, students will develop a thorough understanding of unique considerations in working within LGBTQIIA+ populations, including Queer Affirmative clinical approaches and interventions. This course meets the requirements for the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) and is approved for 50 CE credits.

      SEX 691 - Sexual Attitudes Reassessment (SAR) (1 cr.)

      This course is an intensive in-person and experiential workshop designed to allow participants to examine and process their sexual attitudes, values, and beliefs through exposure to various sexual themes. Highly experiential in nature, the SAR involves exposure to films, documentaries, lectures, guest speakers and workshop activities with a focus on processing in both large and small groups. At the end of the course, participants are tasked with writing a paper sharing the impact of the SAR on their sexual attitudes and professional philosophy in sex therapy. This course is a 14-hour workshop over 3 days (Friday – Sunday). This course meets the requirements for the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) and is approved for 14 CE credits.

      SEX 692 - Diversity in Sexuality: Socio-cultural, Medical, Technological, and Ethical Influences (3 cr.)

      This course will examine the socio-cultural, medical, technological, and ethical factors impacting the current landscape of sex and sexuality. Students will explore the impact of race, religion, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender and ability on sexual values, attitudes, and behaviors, including an understanding of the impact of a range of pervasive social justice issues on sexual functioning and satisfaction. Diversity in sexual expression and lifestyles, as well as the unique considerations for these populations and lifestyles will be reviewed. From a sex-positive, culturally competent place, students will further explore the impact of changing technology used for both pleasure enhancement and the risks of maladaptive use. Students will also gain competency in ethical decision-making and best practice in sex therapy becoming knowledgeable about the history of sex therapy research. Primary to this course is the expectation that students will engage in personal reflections around their own sexuality including learning to complete a thorough sexual history. This course meets the requirements for the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) and is approved for 50 CE credits.

      SEX 693 - Sex Therapy in Action: Assessment, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Psychosexual Issues and Dysfunction (3 cr.)

      This course will cover the practice of sex therapy through the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of psychosexual disorders in the DSM-V including sexual issues arising from trauma, medical or mental health factors, relational factors, or environmental factors. Students can expect to learn several models and theories from both an individual and relational perspective to effectively diagnose and treat sexual functioning issues, as well as out-of-control sexual behaviors and paraphilic disorders. Students will explore the short and long-term impact of sexual abuse and trauma on sexual functioning including clinical skills in application with survivors through a trauma-informed lens. This course will also cover professional communication, collaboration, and supervision skills in order to offer an integrated treatment model and to gain knowledge in appropriate referral practices to other healthcare providers. This course meets the requirements for the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) and is approved for 50 CE credits.

      Faculty Spotlight

      Dr. Karen Caffee, LMFT, MEd, CST
      Assistant Professor, Couple and Family Therapy Department
      Program Director of Sexology, Couple and Family Therapy Department

      Providing education is a bit like therapy. People come in with different levels of information, a different motivation, a different relationship to the materials they will engage with over the course of their education. To facilitate an adult’s education, I need to meet them where they are starting from. This starts with creating a safe space for all folx to express themselves in conversation, an invitation to lean in, and permission to be curious and not-knowing.


      Admissions Requirements

      Students must meet one of the following criteria:

      • A clinical degree (couple/marriage and family therapy, medical family therapy, counseling, art therapy, psychology, social work, or other related mental health field that leads to clinical licensure);
      • Licensure or provisional licensure in one of these fields, or;
      • Be currently pursuing a clinical degree and are practicum eligible.

      Additionally, application requirements include:

      • A grade point average of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale for all undergraduate coursework and/or a 3.25 or higher on a 4.0 scale of all graduate coursework.
      • A statement of intent specifically outlining the applicant’s interest in becoming certified as a Sex Therapist, consistent with the mission of the certificate.
      • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
      • Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate schools attended (U.S and Canada)
        • Please have official transcripts sent directly to the Office of Admissions
        • Unofficial transcripts may be accepted for any schools in which a degree was not received
        • International transcripts must be evaluated by a transcript evaluation service

      Admission for Current Adler University Students

      Current Adler students* may only add the CST with approval and recommendation (via letter or email) by their faculty advisor in their degree program. Adler graduate students may concurrently enroll in the certificate as they are working on their clinical master’s or doctoral degree. Prerequisites for students of this standing are that they must have completed the coursework in their own program that allows them to be practicum eligible or ready. These students will use the registration exception form.

      Students may not transfer coursework into the CST as it has been uniquely designed to meet AASECT requirements. Transferred coursework may not align with the design and structure of the certificate. Current students may consult with their primary program of study about utilizing CST courses as electives to meet their degree requirements.

      *Students in the Couple and Family Therapy Department may add the certificate program during their degree program in consultation with their faculty advisor. They are also pre-approved to utilize CST courses to meet the elective requirements in either the MCFT or CFTD programs.


      “Student-at-large” Enrollment

      Students who are neither in a current graduate program nor enrolled in the CST may take select courses with approval from the Certificate Manager and as space is available. Most commonly, students may request to take SEX-691: Sexual Attitudes Reassessment as a stand-alone course which is equivalent to AASECT’s SAR requirement (14 CEs).

      Please submit all application materials including official transcripts to the Office of Admissions prior to the application deadline.

      Adler University – Office of Admissions
      17 N. Dearborn Street
      Chicago, IL 60602

      Official electronic transcripts should be sent to [email protected].

      Information for International Applicants

      Tuition & Fees

      Tuition for Adler University’s programs is charged each term according to the number of registered academic credits. The number of credits a student will register for varies by academic program and by term. To estimate the amount of tuition and fees that would be charged in a given term, please use our Tuition Estimator tool below, or read about tuition and fees for all Chicago programs.

      Tuition Estimator

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