January 29, 2012

How I Became A… Couple & Sex Therapist

Do you have an academic interest in sex and sexual difficulties, and enjoy working with people? Couple and sex therapy may be an intriguing career option...

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“I didn’t even know you could make a career out of that!” is a very common comment that myself and many sex researchers/educators/therapists receive. This comment is quite often followed by the question “how exactly did you get into that?” or “how do I get into that field?”

How I Became A…

A bunch of us Kinsey Confidential bloggers, educators, and writers got together recently and decided to do a series of “How I Became A . . .” to give our readers a taste of just how diverse each of our paths have been to get us into this field!

My Journey

First I wanted to be a paleontologist. Then I wanted to be an NBA player… then I thought I wanted to be a lawyer… and then I wanted to study relationships…

My interests in dinosaurs and basketball were satisfied by the Toronto Raptors Universal Studios, and church ball (never mind I didn’t make it past 9th grade hoops). Law school began to fade when on the day I was scheduled to take the LSAT, I came down with a violent cold, throat cankers, and pink eye.

Where It Began

In reality, I realized that when it came to corporate law, basketball, or dinosaurs, I was more interested in the money, the prestige, and the fun than I was in putting in the necessary work.

There was one area of life, however, that I never tired of studying: the psychology of relationships. Or, as one psychologist I know calls it, “WTF is going on?” THAT was something I could do for a career – thinking, reading, teaching, and researching relationships, and how to answer questions like, “Why do my partner and I keep getting into the same fights over and over again?” or “Why on earth, if Cosmo says I can have amazing sex every day of the year, do my partner and I feel so anxious in bed?”

I really enjoy researching these questions, and discussing them with students. I also LOVE working with individuals and couples directly on repairing and improving their relationships.

Where I Am Now

After graduating from Gonzaga University (Yep, I try to pick good basketball schools – do you see a theme here?) in 2009 with a master’s in community counseling, I entered the Counseling Psychology program here at IU. During my time so far, I have had opportunities to teach, conduct research, and work with couples and families. I have also invested a lot of time and money in trainings outside of school to become a better couple and sex therapist.

Where Am I Going?

Working with relationships directly through couple and sex therapy is very challenging AND very meaningful. Whatever the future holds, I hope to make this method of healing relationships a part of my professional life. The counseling psychology program has allowed me to do most of what I’ve wanted to do. I have even been able to take classes in sport psychology, in addition to minoring in human sexuality. I still haven’t figured out how to work dinosaurs into the equation, however.