There’s a lot that goes into attaining the highest level of sex therapist skills: being an attentive listener, responding with empathy and compassion, providing a sex-positive and non-judgemental safe space. These might sound like abilities you’re either born with or you’re not, but in fact, it’s absolutely possible to develop them.
Upgrading your sex therapist skillset not only makes you better at helping your clients, but it also helps you build a better practice. However, with so many capabilities to hone, it can be difficult to choose which ones you should work on.
The good news is there aren’t really any wrong answers – leveling up on any tools will make you a better therapist and help your practice grow. But if you’re limited on time (and who isn’t these days?), here are the top 12 in-demand sex therapist skills you should prioritize in 2024.
The Most In-Demand Therapist Skills You Need Today
1. Active Listening
You need to be a truly attentive and nonjudgmental listener. Creating a safe and supportive space for your clients will allow them to express their concerns, desires, and needs openly.
2. Empathy and Compassion
It’s essential not only that you feel empathy and compassion for your clients, but you also need to demonstrate empathy through your words, gestures, and overall presence. You must be able to put yourself in your clients’ shoes and understand their perspectives and emotions. You should be able to relate to your clients’ experiences without judgment and provide validation and support.
3. Communication Skills
As someone who will be called upon to teach them, you also need to have strong communication skills yourself. You’ll need to convey information effectively, and facilitate open and honest discussions about sensitive topics. To help your clients open up to you, you need to ask relevant questions and guide the conversation sensitively.
4. Knowledge of Sexual Pleasure and Anatomy
You should have a solid foundation of knowledge about sexual pleasure, what turns people on psychologically and physiologically, as well as the anatomy and physiology of pleasure. Understanding the multiple pathways to arousal will help you guide your clients in maximizing their sexual pleasure.
5. Awareness about Diverse Sexual Communities
It’s important that you know about the wide variety of sexual communities your clients may want to access. There are more communities beyond those that are more well known, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. Examples include various polyamorous and kink communities.
6. Non-Binary and Inclusive Approaches
In 2023, it’s extremely important to recognize and respect the diversity of human sexuality and identities. You should be knowledgeable about various sexual orientations, gender identities, and relationship structures, and provide inclusive and non-judgmental support. [Read our “7 Steps to Creating a Nonbinary & Trans-Inclusive Practice”]
7. Education and Resource Provision
Stay up-to-date with information about reliable resources in your local area, online, and in any of the areas where you see clients. You should be able to recommend appropriate books, articles, workshops, trauma specialists, pelvic floor therapists, doctors familiar with hormone treatments, etc.
8. Goal Setting and Action Planning
Helping your clients set realistic and achievable goals related to their sexual lives is a vital skill for a sex therapist. You should be able to assist clients in developing action plans to implement positive changes and overcome the obstacles they may encounter.
9. Boundaries and Ethics
From the beginning, you must establish and maintain clear boundaries with your clients, prioritize their well-being, and refer clients to other professionals when necessary. Make sure you have a strong understanding of the boundaries and ethical guidelines required in your state and country.
10. Continual Learning
It’s your job to stay updated on the latest research, trends, and practices in the field of sexuality. Taking continuing education (CE) courses will help you stay abreast of new information in your field. Other ways of continuing to learn include attending workshops and participating in supervision or peer consultation.
11. Unbiased and Non-Directive Approach
As much as possible, adopt an unbiased and non-directive approach so that you can empower your clients to make their own decisions and explore their desires without imposing your personal values or judgments. This approach helps clients feel supported and respected in their unique journeys.
12. Entrepreneurial Spirit
Since part of your daily tasks is getting clients and maintaining the business of your practice, it helps to have an entrepreneurial spirit. Consider offering different services to your clients, including workshops, couples retreats, and individual or couples coaching, not to mention podcasts, blogs, and more. The more excited and motivated you are, the more your practice will thrive.
Uplevel Your Therapist Skills With Somatica
People become sex therapists for a lot of reasons. They want to help others, make the world richer and more fulfilling, and be entrepreneurs who set their own schedules and make their own rules. And all of these reasons require constant self-improvement and personal growth.
Upleveling with the most in-demand sex therapist skills of 2024 will empower you to meet your career goals, earn more money and become a better therapist. The Somatica Institute can help you get there with our professional sex coaching training. Get more information today!