7 thoughts on “What is a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT)? Frequently Asked Questions

  • March 4, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    It’s a good explanation of why certified sex addiction specialists are strong in the treatment of sex addiction, but it doesn’t answer the key question: With so many things that may present like sex addiciton but are not, why isn’t the right person to do the diagnosis a Ph.D. psychologist with a broad range of sexological training, such as AASECT member, quad-S membership, or the like? Or psychiastrists? There are many of both categories who understand sex addiction…and also understand that, in medical terms, every recurrent fever is not the result of malaria.

    • March 4, 2014 at 10:42 pm

      Sounds good but I don’t think that there are very many of these ideal persons. In fact there is a shortage of people with sex addiction expertise in many parts of the country and the world. Given a choice between a practitioner who is not a CSAT and one who is I’d say to choose the CSAT if you suspected these issues. They are generally going to be able to assess for and refer out other treatment issues as needed.

  • March 7, 2014 at 11:48 am

    Good point. I would think then that the best advice in the major metropolitan areas of New York, Washington DC, Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc. would then be to seek out a Ph.D. level person with AASECT or quad-S training for the initial assessment. I would think the same thing might hold true in big college towns like Madison WI, Ann Arbor, MI, etc, because of the likelihood of such a person being affiliated with a college faculty. If that person doesn’t exist in a locality, then they should move to a CSAT person with a lower level of training, such as a Masters in Counseling or an MSW degree.

    Considering the cost of in-patient treatment for sex addiction, I would also counsel anyone who who is considering a 30-day or other long stay in such a facility to get an additional second opinion evaluation from a Ph.D.-level counselor with specialized sex training, even if travel is required for that. In this age of distance therapy, there might be some therapists willing to do that assessment by phone and by review of previous records if those records could be shared.

    I wouldn’t do a surgery without a second opinion. No reason to do in-patient treatment without it too, no?

    • March 8, 2014 at 1:51 pm

      Sure, it’s always a good idea for the buyer to beware! The other professional groups you mention (AASECT and SSSS) offer information and training and professional organization regarding human sexuality in general and sexology. This is no doubt useful information and research. I have at various times belonged as a member to those groups and received their publications. I found that they had little to do with sex addiction although they were interesting articles about sexuality from a variety of angles including physiology etc. If a CSAT person assessed a client with issues appropriate for these forms of counseling/treatment (inorgasmia, etc. etc.) I would think they would refer out. But I still think that if a client believes they are sexually addicted they should be evaluated by someone with a CSAT certification regardless of whether that person has a Masters or PhD. Another point is that many residential SA programs are affiliated with or connected to a hospital which performs a variety of medical evaluations on residential clients.

      • March 8, 2014 at 2:57 pm

        Good counsel. I would say, though, that the belief that AASECT and SSSS are light or unknowledgable on the sex addiction front is outdated. Maybe 15 years ago. Not so much anymore. This, for example, is from the FAQs on the AASECT website:

        “27. What kinds of problems can benefit from Sex Therapy?

        Typically people experiencing concerns about arousal, performance, or satisfaction are likely to benefit from Sex Therapy. Among these problems are decreased or increased desire for intimacy, or in the case of a couple, mismatched or discrepant desire or interest in sexual intimacy. Both men and women can experience concerns about arousal and there are many causes and options for solving these problems. At any age, performance or lovemaking skills can be of concern, just as can issues around orgasm and satisfaction.

        Additionally concerns about sexual trauma in one’s background, medical conditions that affect one’s sexuality, sexual pain disorders, concerns about gender identity or sexual orientation, and issues around sexual compulsivity or addiction are frequent concerns that people discuss with a Certified Sex Therapist.”


        Can’t get any more explict than that!

  • March 22, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    What are your recommendations if I am hundreds of miles from the nearest CSATs. I’ve seen those that teleconference, just wondering if it would be effective.

    • March 22, 2016 at 10:18 pm

      Hi spouse, I can’t say how effective distance therapy is. I don’t do it myself, but I imagine that in some situations it is worth a try, maybe even a lifesaver.


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