silhouette of couple under stars as the sun sets
CPD Credits
Event Type
Live Online Event
Zoom & Not Recorded
Time (UK)
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
silhouette of couple under stars as the sun sets
Saturday, October 5, 2024 - Saturday, May 17, 2025

Certificate in Psychosexual Studies

Working with the sexual relationship in therapy

With Albertina Fisher, Silva Neves, Heidi Renton & Sylvie Deroche

This certificate course will increase your confidence and skills when helping clients and patients with common sexual issues. Suitable for qualified counsellors, psychotherapists, and health professionals who will have the opportunity to apply their learning in their day-to-day work.

Sex is a critically important part of life for most people, yet it is the subject clients are least likely to bring up with their therapist or health professional. This course will empower participants to discuss sexual issues more openly and offer guidance on how to approach these conversations without appearing intrusive, carefully considering the setting and the cultural context. The course covers crucial issues that can affect the sexual space, including the dynamics of couple relationships, the stages of psychosexual development, and the complexities of intimacy, desire, and arousal. Participants will also explore the causes of sexual dysfunction and the impact experiences such as sexual trauma, fertility, ageing, menopause, illness, and disability can have on sexual functioning. Working within the diversities of sex, sexuality, and gender identities will also be explored to help therapists feel better informed when discussing these clients.

Across the 8-month course, lectures will provide foundational knowledge, while case study examples and role-play practice offer practical experience in handling complex situations. Group discussions encourage the sharing of insights and strategies among peers, and participants can bring their own cases for discussion. Additionally, the course includes three individual tutorials with an experienced psychosexual practitioner, offering personalised guidance and support. These tutorials are designed to help participants refine their skills and apply their learning effectively in their professional practice.

There is an optional 3,000-word essay. Successful completion of this results in a Certificate in Psychosexual Studies being awarded. Those students not wishing to complete the essay will be able to gain a certificate of attendance instead, subject to 80% attendance.


Saturday, October 5, 2024

Introduction to Psychosexual Therapy

This session will provide an overview of the field of sexology and psychosexual therapy. We will start to explore which aspects of sex can helpfully be addressed in general therapy, and when a referral to specialist psychosexual services is indicated. Participants will be introduced to key experts and resources.

Overview of psychosexual development

 Human sexual development, basic sexual anatomy, psychological and social/cultural factors influencing sexual functioning and wellbeing are explained. Participants will gain an awareness of the kinds of questions they may need to ask to better understand the reasons behind sexual difficulties.

Application seminar – participants bring own cases to discuss

Saturday, November 2, 2024

Sex and the couple relationship

Whilst paying due attention to sex that takes place outside of the context of couple relationships throughout the course, this session provides an understanding of the mutual impact sex and relationships have on each other. Drawing on over 70 years of research, clinical practice and teaching about couples, Tavistock Relationships is uniquely placed to help participants think about partnerships when working with sexual issues.

Application seminar – participants bring own cases to discuss

Saturday, December 7, 2024

Talking about Sex

Difficulties both clients and professionals may have about introducing sexual issues are explained. Participants will be guided to examine their own attitudes towards sex, and (privately) identify issues that may stop them from helping their clients with these issues. The setting (e.g., psychotherapy, GP, or cancer nurse) will be considered, alongside cultural sensitivity towards the client. Use of language and other practical considerations are discussed.

Thinking about Desire

The most common sexual dysfunction for women, and a common problem for men, is lack of desire. Sexual desire difficulties strongly impact, and are impacted by, relationship satisfaction. Desire is poorly understood and surrounded by persistent myths and idealisation. This session will cover theoretical models which participants can use to explain desire to their clients, together with some excellent resources to point them towards.

Application seminar – participants bring own cases to discuss

Saturday, January 11, 2025

Understanding Common Sexual Dysfunctions

The sexual problems the therapist or health professional are most likely to encounter are covered here, including erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, pain on penetration, and orgasm difficulties. Helpful tools and resources are provided for the therapist to use and recommend to clients

An introduction to BDSM and Kink

In this guest lecture, Heidi Renton will provide an overview of key terms and concepts in the field of BDSM and Kink, enabling participants to feel more confident discussing these practices with their clients. 

Application seminar – participants bring own cases to discuss 

Saturday, February 8, 2025

Gender, Sex and Relationship Diversity (GSRD)

Silva Neves, GSRD specialist and author of several books on the subject, explains different gender orientations including transgender, genderqueer, and non-binary identities, together with best practice around pronouns. Sexual diversity is discussed both in terms of sexual orientation (the extent to which we experienced attraction, and who to), as well as how and where sex is engaged with. Relationship diversity, including various types of non-monogamy, is also covered. Intersectionality between gender and sexual diversity and other minority identities such as race is explained.

Working with Compulsivity and Pornography

Silva will describe his sex-positive approach to working with people who present with difficulties relating to sexual compulsivity, including the use of porn. Seeking to minimise the role of shame in the subjective experience of these difficulties, Silva provides a helpful framework for thinking with clients about how they can best achieve the balance they are looking for in their relationship with sex. Consideration is also given to partners and couple relationships.  

Application seminar – participants bring own cases to discuss

Saturday, March 8, 2025

Sexual abuse and trauma 

In this seminar, the particular impact of child sexual abuse and sexual trauma on sexual functioning is explored. The need to practise a trauma-informed approach when working with such issues is emphasised, along with the importance of not making assumptions about the specific impact in each case, as this can vary widely. Practical tools and helpful resources are provided. 

Fertility Issues and the sexual relationship

Sex and procreation are inextricably linked in the human psyche, and in this seminar we will consider the specific impact of the fertility journey on sexual functioning. Consideration is given to ‘Baby-making sex’, pregnancy, childbirth, as well as child loss and involuntary childlessness, and helpful tools and resources provided to help participants support their clients with these issues. 

Application seminar – participants bring own cases to discuss

Saturday, April 26, 2025

Sex and Ageing

Sexual needs, functioning, and satisfaction vary hugely across the lifespan, and are highly susceptible to the effect of both positive and adverse life events, as well as ageing and related issues such as menopause, illness, and disability. The vital importance of giving the client permission to talk about this is emphasised, as clients often worry their sexual concerns will be seen as trivial relative to the life events being discussed. Commonly held myths and prejudices around age and sex will be challenged. 

Sex and Affairs 

In this seminar, Sylvie Deroche provides an overview of the fascinating two-way relationship between sex and affairs. Along with some surprising research findings about the prevalence and reasons for affairs, Sylvie will provide useful pointers and resources for therapist working with any individual or couple affected by affairs. 

Application seminar – participants bring own cases to discuss

Saturday, May 17, 2025

Integration and application of the learning over the eight months of the course.

Essay information and support for those pursuing this option.

Consideration of next steps for participants.