What is Sex Therapy?
Sex therapy is a form of counseling that focuses on sexual functioning, intimacy, and the psychological, behavioral, and emotional issues related to sex. Sex therapy is conducted by a licensed behavioral health professional who has received advanced training in sex and sexuality.
The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) outlines rigorous standards for training, education, and supervision within the sexuality field and certifies professionals who have met this criteria. Kimberly earned AASECT certification in August 2015. Elliot is a member of AASECT and earned a Ph.D. in Human Sexuality Studies from Widener University.
What can I expect during my first appointment?
We usually begin the initial appointment with some questions that are unrelated to sex (work, relationship, hobbies, etc.), to help you feel more comfortable and to better understand who you are. However, if you prefer to take the lead, then we can start with the concerns or information you wish to share, and I will ask clarifying questions when appropriate.
Using the DOUPE assessment model, my goal is obtain a Description of the problem, its Onset, your Understanding of why this problem might exist, Past interventions (if any), and your Expectations/goals for working together.
For therapy, we usually avoid making specific suggestions or tasks during the first session, as our preference is to understand your learning style, level of motivation, etc. before jumping ahead and formulating a plan. Coaching appointments tend to conclude with concrete action steps from the onset.
How long does therapy last?
It depends on your specific goals. Some clients obtain clarity and/or the information they are seeking in 1-3 sessions. A majority of people find they make significant progress within 8-12 sessions. Trauma or concerns related to family of origin usually benefit from a longer course of treatment, but the decision is always yours. Furthermore, progress is not always linear and some people benefit from meeting for several appointments, then taking a break and returning at a later time to resume our work together.
Will health insurance cover the cost of sessions?
It depends upon whether you have a diagnosable condition that would be considered “medically necessary” to treat. Examples of problems that meet this criteria include depression, anxiety disorder, gender dysphoria, erectile disorder, and vaginismus, among others. “Adjustment disorder” may be a valid diagnosis if you a experiencing intense distress and/or functional impairment within 3 months of a major life transition or significant loss.
However, If you are seeking therapy for purposes of personal growth or relationship enhancement then that would *not* be covered by insurance. Examples of this include exploring whether to stay in or leave a relationship, understanding your sexual behavior, or addressing differences in desire.
What is the difference between coaching and therapy? Which service is right for me?
Coaching is a short-term and focused on the present and future. Clients who may benefit from coaching:
can identify specific goals and desired outcomes
are functioning well and do not have mental health concerns
enjoy greater flexibility with scheduling – online or phone sessions are possible
Therapy addresses concerns related to the past and present, often weaving between those worlds Cients who participate in therapy:
want a deeper understanding of self and others
may experience some level of distress or behavioral health symptoms
often describe their problem(s) as a “tangled knot” of issues
always meet with us in the office
Coaching is not a service covered by health insurance, whereas therapy for treatment of a behavioral health condition, sexual dysfunction, etc. may be eligible for reimbursement.
What is your therapeutic approach?
Our background and training is in clinical social work, and, more specifically, family systems theory. This has informed our belief that human behavior can best be understood in the context of our environment and our important relationships, and the relationship between these factors is often reciprocal.
Our therapeutic approach is eclectic and may be described as:
Humanistic – a positive approach that focuses on treating the whole person and eliciting client strengths to promote wisdom, growth, healing, and fulfillment within themselves. The therapist provides an atmosphere of support, empathy, and trust that allows the individual to share their feelings without fear of judgment. The therapist does not act as an authority figure; rather, the relationship between client and the therapist is collaborative
Narrative – a form of counseling that views people as separate from their problems and helps the client to reframe existing challenges. With this new perspective, individuals feel more empowered to make changes in their thought patterns and behavior and to “rewrite” their life story for the future
Psychodynamic – clients learn to analyze and resolve present issues and to change their behavior in current relationships through an exploration of past experiences and emotions.
Solution-focused– examines what the individual is currently doing to initiate behavioral and lifestyle changes, then uses interventions such as specific questioning techniques, 0-10 scales, empathy and compliments, to help a person recognize their own virtues. Clients are guided to reflect on how they may navigated hard times before to discover solutions for the present.
How will my privacy be protected?
Although our web domain is “Providence Sex Therapy,” any invoices, electronic receipts, or building directory listings will contain only the name and credentials of your provider (Kimberly Jackson, LICSW/ Elliot Ruggles, LCSW). The word “sex” will never appear on your credit card statement. Your privacy and discretion is a top priority. Furthermore, as licensed behavioral health professionals we adhere to general standards for confidentiality as outlined by HIPAA.
Do you offer services online?
Yes, we can provide online coaching through a secure, HIPAA-compliant videoconferencing platform called VSee. We also have a videoconferencing platform embedded within our Electronic Health Record (Carepaths). Although we are only licensed to provide therapy to individuals located in Rhode Island, we can offer sexuality consultations and sexual health/intimacy coaching to individuals in any state or country.