Let’s talk about sex! Training to be a psychosexual therapist at Tavistock Relationships

Published in Blog by Heidi Renton on April 26th 2022

How easy do you find it to talk about sex? During my original MA in couple therapy training at Tavistock Relationships some years ago, I decided that I wanted to specialise in psychosexual psychotherapy.

I realised that most adults really struggle to talk about the sexual side of their relationships, and yet it is often the first thing that suffers when couples experience difficulties – the ‘canary in the coalmine’, so to speak. I really enjoy helping people improve the quality of their communication, and so I knew I wanted to do everything I could to help them address problems in that most private, intimate part of their couple relationship, and promote healthy and fulfilling sexual relating.

... colleagues who had already done this spoke of how frequently their clients looked for practical help with their sexual relationships.

Reasons for becoming a sex therapist

My initial couple training incorporated important aspects of specific psychosexual counselling, which I felt equipped me to begin working sensitively with sexual issues. However, I felt I needed to know more: to develop my skills in psychosexual therapy and so work at an even deeper, more detailed level, with a wider range of clients, sexual problems and presentations. An important consideration was that I wanted to open my own practice, and colleagues who had already done this spoke of how frequently their clients looked for practical help with their sexual relationships. My previous work at The British Board of Film Classification had involved me classifying some aspects of pornography, meaning I already felt reasonably robust when discussing sexual matters. Building on this experience and my previous training, I felt I might be capable of developing into the type of sex therapist who could really make a difference in the lives of my clients.

Getting the right psychosexual qualification

When thinking about where to train as a psychosexual therapist, I wanted a course approved by COSRT (College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists), to provide my clients with the reassurance of the rigorous standards of this specialist organisation. I was also keen to obtain a qualification that would allow me to practice in the statutory and voluntary sectors, as well as in private practice. I needed any additional training to fit around my busy work schedule, so the Tavistock Relationships Diploma in Psychosexual Therapy suited me perfectly, offering weekend training with an extensive range of expert trainers and tutors. The syllabus looked engaging, with topics ranging from sexual compulsivity, to how sex changes throughout our life span. I also liked the course’s focus on working with diversity and different clinical groups. Although I did my research, and looked closely at trainings on offer from other organisations, in the end it was an obvious choice for me to train psychosexually with the same world-renowned organisation that had already given me such a good grounding in couple therapy.

I really enjoyed the variety of outlook, approach and modality of my training colleagues, several of whom were from outside the UK.

Working psychosexually

I think that the time I spent training as a psychosexual psychotherapist was the most fun I’ve had in a long time – especially the session where we were shown an enormous selection of rather intriguing sex toys! Aside from benefitting from the knowledge and experience of our trainers, I really enjoyed the variety of outlook, approach and modality of my training colleagues, several of whom were from outside the UK. This combination, plus the steady support of my supervisor and tutor, made for an incredibly rich training experience, and I rapidly gained confidence in my psychosexual clinical work.

I can’t begin to describe the sense of satisfaction that I have whenever my clients happily report how much their sex lives have improved.

Now, I can’t begin to describe the sense of satisfaction that I have whenever my clients happily report how much their sex lives have improved. And with the steady flow of enquiries for my private practice, I clearly made the right decision to develop my skills in this fascinating area.

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