Educational Psychology, Department of
Date of this Version
Training and Education in Professional Psychology 16:3 (2022), pp. 280–286.
Sexual health and sexual well-being are vital components of overall physical and mental well-being yet remain largely understudied, approached mainly from disease prevention and intervention perspectives, and generally excluded from most health service psychology training programs. People of color; women; lesbian, gay, and bisexual people; trans and gender diverse; disabled; and poor people are disproportionately adversely impacted by a lack of access to suitable sexual health services and reproductive healthcare. Sex education is inadequate in the United States across the lifespan, including in health service psychology training programs. Therapy clients often have sexual concerns they want to discuss, yet because sexuality is seldom covered adequately in training programs, psychologists are often ill prepared and uncomfortable addressing sex. Drawing from the Benchmarks Competencies (Fouad et al., 2009; Hatcher et al., 2013), we provide a rationale for and application of several key foundational and functional competencies to explicate a template for addressing sexuality in training psychologists and positioning sexuality as a competency that should be centralized in graduate psychology training. We offer both a roadmap for a graduate course in sexuality and several ideas for infusing sexuality across the curriculum for programs that may be unable to dedicate a course to the study of sexuality.
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