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Chicago | Assistant Professor, Couple and Family Therapy Department
Program Director of Sexology, Couple and Family Therapy Department

Dr. Karen Caffee, LMFT



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. Similarly, education is a person-centered experience that is subjective to the person having the experience. Each student learns differently – some of my students are visual, others auditory, and some prefer talking an idea through.

I integrate significant amounts of technical information with real life experiences to bring the data to life, which is then reinforced with experiential applications of the data provided. Education requires inclusivity as part of the work. Research and writing strive to catch up from behind to reflect the changes we see in the world around us and in our clinical spaces. Education requires additional inclusivity of topics – various forms of relationships, multiple and intersecting identities, sexuality beyond orientation and identity.

My research has also been focused on connecting CFT and Sexology. I have worked on theoretical adaptations of CFT models to be used with sexological topics. I also use my research to give space for voices often overlooked or ignored to have a seat at the proverbial table – such as the intersections of autoimmunity and painful sex, or clients that have been stigmatized by therapists when discussing sexological topics. My future research agenda will continue systemically looking at the connections between people as systems, the systems they occupy, and their sexual selves.

Please email me if you have questions or would like more information about me or about the Couple and Family Therapy programs. My curriculum vitae is available here.



  • PhD, Couple and Family Therapy, Adler University
  • MEd, Human Sexuality, Widener University
  • Certified Sex Therapist, AASECT
  • MA, Marriage and Family Therapy, Adler University
  • BA, Sociology, DePaul University
Professional Background

Current Positions

  • Program Director of Sexology, Couple and Family Therapy Department
  • Assistant Professor, Couple and Family Therapy Department

Former Positions

  • Clinical Director and Sex Therapist, Relationship Reality 312, Adjunct, Adler University

Professional Memberships

  • American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) (2010 – present)
    – Clinical member
  • Illinois Affiliation of Marriage and Family Therapy (2010 – present)
    – Board of Directors member – appointed 2020
  • Society for Sex Therapy and Research (SSTAR) (2017-present)
    – SSTAR Associate Member (2021-present)
    – SSTAR Communications Committee (2018-present)
  • American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (2019-present)
  • International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health (2020-present)
  • Association of Counseling Sexology and Sexual Wellness (2023-present)
  • Delta Kappa Honor Society (inducted 2020)
  • Gamma Eta Rho Honor Society (inducted 2020)

Select Awards and Recognition

  • New Writers Fellowship by Family Process Journal: Craft of Scholarly Writing in Family Therapy 2023
  • Honorable Mention, MAP Research and Education Foundation/Sexual Tipping Point 2021
  • Carol Cobb Nettleton Community Service Leadership Award in Clinical Sexology, Widener University 2020

Areas of Expertise

  • Sexology
  • Sex therapy
  • Autoimmune disorders and painful sex
  • History of eugenics in MFT field
  • Theoretical adaptations for sex therapy topics
  • Providing sexological training to clinicians


Select Publications

Select Publications

Select Presentations

Select Presentations

  • Sex Therapy for Non-Sex Therapists. IAMFT Conference. September 2023.
  • Intimacy Blocks Unlocked. Co-presented. IAMFT Conference. March 2022.
  • Autoimmune Disorders and Painful Sex in Ova-Havers. Co-presented. IAMFT Conference. November 2021.
  • Exhumed: A reckoning with the history of eugenics in marriage and family therapy. Co-presented. IAMFT Conference. November 2021.
  • Sexual Harassment Training. Sponsored by IAMFT. 2021.
  • Exploring the Link Between Autoimmune Disorders and Painful Sex in Ova-Having Individuals. SSTAR Conference. April 2021.
  • Desire Discrepancy. Co-presented. Sponsored by ILAMFT. 2019 & 2020.
  • Sex Therapy 101. Co-presented. IAMFT Conference. March 2019.
  • History of desire: The darker side of sex therapy. Sponsored by Chicago Sex Therapist Network. 2019.
  • Incorporating sex into your therapy practice. Co-presented. IAMFT Conference. March 2018

Chicago Campus

Located in the heart of the city, the Chicago Campus was designed to provide and inspire the learning and living experience. To that end, we have created an environment that caters to your mental, emotional, and intellectual growth. Our classrooms are bright and spacious with windows to the outside world and the latest technology. In our Library, you will find every resource you need to research, form, and shape your journey. At Adler University, we have more than enough room to share your thoughts and flex your intellect.

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