Alejandra Chayet, LPCC Now an AASECT Certified Sex Therapist
Updated: Mar 24, 2020
I am pleased to announce that I recently received my certification as an AASECT-Certified Sex Therapist.
Those of you who are familiar with my practice may be wondering, "I thought she was already a sex therapist," and you are right. So what does this mean now? What is the difference?
Well, the main difference is that I am now recognized as a sex therapist by AASECT. The rigorous standards set by the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) assure that when you choose an AASECT Certified Sex Therapist, you have selected a credentialed professional who is qualified to offer their clients in-depth psychotherapy and sex therapy. Only mental health professionals with Master's degrees or Phd's can seek these certifications from AASECT. Most importantly, all AASECT-certified sex therapists are bound by the AASECT code of ethics. This code remains focused on the practitioner’s integrity and competence. Additionally, all certified sex therapists share ethical, moral and legal responsibilities to safeguard the well-being of their clients.
In order to apply, I first had to obtain my clinical license as a mental health psychotherapist, followed by 90 hours of academic coursework in sexuality education and 60 hours of sex therapy clinical training from an accredited college or university. Subsequently, I was required to engage in 10-hours of process-oriented exploration, done through what is called a Sexuality Attitude Reassessment (SAR), in order to explore our own feelings, attitudes, values, and beliefs regarding human sexuality and sexual behavior. This was then followed by a minimum of 300 hours of clinical treatment of patients/clients with sexual concerns and 50 hours of sex therapy supervision by an AASECT-Certified Supervisor of Sex Therapy.
The guiding principles of AASECT are to advance only the highest standards of professional practice for its members. As such, AASECT serves as the guardian of stringent professional standards in human sexuality and health.
Fun Fact: I am the first Spanish-Speaking Female AASECT-Certified Sex Therapist in San Diego.
Able to Guide Clients from All Walks of Life
Often times, people don’t realize that all humans are inherently sexual beings. Human sexuality does not exist only during a finite period of our lifetimes. Rather, it is a continuum on the spectrum of human sexuality. The human experience itself craves connection. Relationships often bring out our deepest fears and sometimes trigger memories of our most painful stories. The human need for both security and freedom within relationship can often make intimacy a challenge, yet we often desire intimate relationships.
I view sexual health as a fundamental value and essential piece of health and well-being, in all of its forms and variations, and believe it is unique to each individual. Sexual health,"requires a respectful and positive approach to sexual behavior and sexual pleasure (and) balances sexual rights such as safety, consent, non-coercion, non-discrimination with congruence between individual and societal sexual values, behavior and desires regarding sex with oneself and with others," (The Harvey Institute). Sexual Health looks, feels, smells and sounds differently for each individual. The definition of a healthy sexuality and identity differs from one individual to another. As a result, before I can help my clients achieve this healthy sexuality and identity, we must first define what that is for each specific individual.
Throughout all stages of your life, I can help you thoroughly address and explore concerns about your own sexuality, performance and general attitude toward human sexual behavior, expression, and values. As humans, we experience distress when there is conflict between our lifestyle or behavior and our values. This distress often leads to depression or anxiety. Sexual health and wellness is one of the basic pillars of the mind/body/spirit connection, alongside mental health, physical health, and spiritual health. I can help you learn how to feel more aligned with your values, which is the foundation to overall health and wellbeing, allowing us to find peace and connection in mind, body, and spirit.
As a bilingual AASECT Certified Sex Therapist, I offer sex therapy in both Spanish & English to multicultural and diverse individuals of all ages, genders, sexual orientations, sexual lifestyles and relationship constellations. I work with individual clients and couples as well as with families who are struggling to come to terms with a member’s sexual orientation or those recovering from past traumatic sexual abuse. I also can help those with chronic conditions or disabilities work through any intimacy issues they may have with present or potential partners. Counseling can be either short-term or ongoing, whichever best suits your unique needs.
Womens Sexual Functioning
Working with a diverse population of women of all ages, culture, and religion is a passion of mine. It is actually where I got started in the field of sexology, and a large source of where I continue to expand my research efforts via my current doctorate dissertation work.
Though we have come a long way as a society, I believe that various communities continue to lack education around female sexual health and female sexual functioning, especially when it comes to pleasure. I enjoy educating all genders, not just females themselves, on female rights to pleasure & their own body. This is an important message for all genders of all communities at large to receive, especially at a young age when we are first starting to develop our attitudes around sex and sexuality. I find it critical that we do not leave pleasure out of the conversation when educating our younger generations around sexual health and wellness.
I work with a variety of female sexual health and dysfunction related issues, including: orgasm concerns, pregnancy & fertility issues, postpartum, sexual trauma, painful intercourse, desire/arousal concerns, and body image issues. I also enjoy supporting women struggling with the interplay of religious views & sex (look for an additional blog post on my specialty in Women's Sexual Health coming soon).
Parenting is tough! Knowing how to talk to children about sex can be even tougher!
I love working with parents and caretakers through a Sex-Positive Parenting approach. Through this lens, I help caretakers learn how to support their children by understanding that they will grow into autonomous, sexually active adults. I help parents feel informed and empowered in supporting their children's individual sexual identity no matter what that may be, and understand that this support is a lifelong process where the conversations start early in age-appropriate ways.
I find that this lens helps ease the anxiety that caretakers can often feel in approaching these conversations with their children. My goal in working with parents and caretakers is to help them feel confident, prepared and empowered when having these conversations, which ultimately will decrease the potential for shaming experiences as children develop their sexuality.
Empirically-Supported and Evidence-Based Treatment Modalities Employed for Best Results
Within my trauma specialty, I work through a strength-based and Trauma-Informed lens, utilizing empirically-supported Trauma-Specific treatment approaches. With children and adolescents, this often includes Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT).
I also utilize a Mindful Self-Compassion approach in my clinical work. I help clients learn how to practice both Mindfulness and Self-compassion techniques in a way that works for their unique selves, bringing present-moment awareness to their experience. There is extensive literature examining the benefits of Mindfulness techniques for general mental health, as well as specifically correlated to improving sexual functioning.
Through developing love and compassion and directing it to ourselves, we can cultivate acceptance, calm and nonjudgmental presence, thus reducing depression, anxiety and stress. Research shows that the power of mindfulness and self-compassion practice can contribute to a more positive self-image, reduce rumination and worry, reduce sadness, increase resiliency, develop a healthier relationship with food, decrease addiction, enhance quality of relationships, expand joy, and increase focus. My current dissertation research seeks to show the benefits of Self-Compassion on sexual health and functioning as well (look out for a blog post on this coming soon).
Feel free to reach out with any questions - you can contact me through my email or phone number under the contact tab on my website. For further resources, you can also follow my instagram page: mindfulsexologist.