Comfort in Treating Sexual Problems: Current Training and Counselor Self-Efficacy

Christopher J. Hipp, Ryan G. Carlson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Counselor discomfort with sex can impede couple growth during the therapeutic process. As couples address multifaceted problems during therapy, counselors should be prepared to professionally discuss a couple’s sexuality during the therapeutic process. As such, the continued taboo surrounding the discussion of sex may illicit embarrassment or nondisclosure of the sexual difficulties by the individual or couple, or worse, be ignored completely by the counselor. Therefore, counselor self-efficacy of sexual topics requires continued analysis within the literature and clinical practice. Thus, the focus of this article is to bridge the gap between counselor sexual discomfort and building self-efficacy of sexual topics through the use of practical strategies (i.e., assessments and interventions) to use in treatment by (a) presenting an overview of literature on sexual perspectives of counselors that inhibit therapeutic discussion of sexuality in the counseling environment, (b) highlighting therapeutic lenses of sexuality that assist in understanding how sexual problems positively and/or negatively impact clients while promoting healthy communication between the counselor and client, (c) providing evidence for the use of sexually based assessments to assist counselors in the development of sexual conversations in treatment, and (d) presenting a brief overview of treatment methods for sexual problems. Implications for practice and research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-114
Number of pages10
JournalFamily Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • assessment
  • counseling
  • counselor self-efficacy
  • couples
  • sexual problems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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