Therapists seeking certification as a distinguished sex therapist (DST) represent the highest level of experience and knowledge in the industry. The Distinguished Sex Therapist credential communicates to the world advanced expertise.
Distinguished Sex Therapist (DST) – specific requirements
Requirements for all Certifications
- General Prerequisite Requirements
- Sexual Attitudes Reassessment (SAR)
- General Human Sexuality Education Requirements
- Approved Educational Providers
- A graduate degree in a field of behavioral health (e.g., psychology, social work, counseling, marriage and family therapy) from an accredited university, a medical degree (including Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine), or an advanced practice nursing degree.
- At least one year of licensure to practice independently as a mental health provider (e.g., licensed clinical psychologist, licensed psychiatrist, licensed professional counselor, licensed mental health counselor, licensed marriage and family therapist, licensed clinical social work, licensed psychiatric nurse practitioner, or equivalent) at the masters or doctoral level.
- If the applicant holds a degree from a non-accredited institution, or is practicing outside of the United States or in a Unites States territory, they will provide documentation to demonstrate that the education and licensure that they have obtained is functionally equivalent to these standards.
To be eligible for any of the SASH credentials, an individual must have completed a group experience of no less than ten clock hours in which the individual processes, explores, and reevaluates their own beliefs, feelings, values, attitudes, and trauma involving the topic of human sexuality and human sexual behavior. The experience may be done over multiple sessions, but each session must be conducted for a minimum of three (3) clock hours and must be conducted in a group setting. For the experience to count as credit towards a credential, it must not have been conducted in the course of personal therapy. If the experience was conducted in the course of academic work, the participant must show that it was experiential in nature and not a lecture-based learning exercise. The individual must be a participant in the experience, and not a facilitator. A similar workshop such as the Sexual Attitudes and Values Overview and Reevaluation (SAVOR) available from SASH also fulfills this requirement.
To be eligible for any of the SASH credentials, an individual must have completed no less than ninety (90) clock hours of education in human sexuality (Please note that one clock hour is sixty minutes). The applicant must have completed at least three (3) clock hours in each of the subject matter below marked with an asterisk (*). The remainder may be obtained in any of the subject matter below, including electives marked with a dagger (†), but no more than twenty (20) hours in any of these areas may be counted towards the total. At least fifteen (15) hours of this training must be completed in person or via synchronous video e-learning. The remaining may be completed either in person, or via distance learning. These hours must be obtained from an accredited college or university, or alternatively from a continuing education organization that is certified to provide CE credits from any of the approved organizations. Please note that the Credentialing Committee reserves the right to reject any educational credits or to request additional education in any subject matter prior to awarding a certification. Human Sexuality Core Knowledge Areas 1.Sexual Development, Anatomy, Physiology, and Reproduction a.Sexual development across the life-span from a biological, psychological, and social perspective * b.Sexual and reproductive anatomy and physiology * c.Sexual response cycle and models of sexual desire * d.Theories explaining individual differences in sexuality * e.Conception and childbirth † 2.Sexual Health Challenges a.The influence of health and medical factors on sexuality (e.g., illness and infection, disability, mental health, medications, contraception and safer sex practices, fertility struggles, pregnancy and childbirth, pregnancy termination, sexually transmitted infection, physical injuries) * b.Sexual functioning challenges and dysfunctions (e.g., discrepancy in partner desire, absence of desire, difficulties attaining or sustaining arousal, difficulties with sexual pain and penetration, and orgasm difficulties. * c.The interaction of substance use/abuse and sexuality * d.Sexually transmitted infections * e.Sexual trauma (e.g., exploitation, abuse, harassment, and assault) * f.Multiple theories of problematic sexual behavior * 3.Sexual Identity and Erotic Expression a.Sexual orientation * b.Gender identity and gender roles * c.Diverse sexual expressions and lifestyles (e.g., consensual non-monogamy, tantra, BDSM) * d.Social, economic, cultural, religious/spiritual, and familial factors influencing sexual behaviors and values * e.The interaction of technology and sexuality * f.Pleasure enhancement skills, techniques, and tools * 4.Intimacy and Relationships a.Relationship dynamics and intimacy skills * b.Sexual communication between partners * c.Negotiating differences in sexual desire, interests, preferences, and values between partners * d.Models of effective communication (e.g., verbal and non-verbal communication) † 5.Professional Development a.Ethics * b.Professional communication skills (concerning clients, colleagues, and students) * c.History of the research, theory, and treatment concerning human sexuality † d.Methods and principles of sexuality research † e.Careers in sexual health † NOTE: The applicant must have completed at least three (3) clock hours in each of the subject matter above marked with an asterisk (*). The remainder may be obtained in any of the subject matter listed above, including electives marked with a dagger (†), but no more than twenty (20) hours in any of these areas may be counted towards the total.
Training organizations approved by the following continuing education certifying bodies likely meet the educational requirements of the individual certifications offered by SASH. It is the responsibility of the training organization offering continuing education to maintain their status as an approved provider from these organizations.
- American Psychological Association (APA)
- Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME)
- National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC- ACEP)
- National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
- Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB-ACE)
- Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT)
- NAADAC-The Association for Addiction Professionals
In extenuating circumstances and at the discretion of the SASH Board, any of the criteria may be modified on a case by case basis, as deemed appropriate.