Series Overview: This course is part of a 4-course series on Human Sexuality
As a central aspect of human identity, experience, and wellbeing, clinicians should understand sexuality as a part of holistic work across mental health disciplines. This series provides information about language, terms and definitions, and various human experiences that clinicians will encounter when working with clients in general and specifically related to sexual health. Clinicians can use the case examples presented throughout the learning material to reflect upon how their sexual identity, beliefs, and experiences may affect engagement with specific clients and inform their conceptualizations about areas of concern for clients. The courses in this human sexuality series are:
• Human Sexuality Across the Lifespan
• Fertility and Sexual Health Interviews
• Sexuality in Context and Sexually Transmitted Infections
• Sexual Disorders and Sex Therapy
For professionals seeking California licensure: Taken together, the four courses in this series meets the requirement for 10 hours of human sexuality training.
Human sexuality is a broad concept encompassing a wide range of clinically relevant information and concerns. This learning material provides a systems perspective and discusses such environmental influences on human sexual development, behavior, and experience as heterosexism and ableism, religious and cultural mores regarding sexual activity and expression, body image, sexual trauma, exposure to pornography, heterosexism, and sex work. Detailed exploration of existing research around the effect of these environmental factors on sexual development aid clinicians in applying these concepts to clinical intervention. Case examples throughout this material present clinical considerations regarding these influences to guide social workers, psychologists, marriage and family therapists, and counselors in considering how their own clinical practice might incorporate this information to best support and serve clients.
Another vital topic for clinicians to understand when considering human sexuality concerns is sexually transmitted infections (STIs). STIs are common and affect both the people who contract them and people who know about or consider them in their own sexual behaviors and practices. This learning material explains symptoms, potential complications, prevention, and treatment of STIs so that when clinicians work with clients experiencing or concerned about STIs, they can effectively support them with prevention and/or treatment efforts. As STIs are often stigmatized and misunderstood, it is critical that clinicians provide evidence-based and nonjudgmental information and guidance rather than cultural myths that perpetuate stereotypes and even STI transmission. The case examples in this learning material help guide clinicians through appropriate clinical intervention, including ways to ask and talk about STIs with clients in a way that helps rather than harms.