Advice to Future Sex Therapists (and Other Topics)

Thanks to sexpert Megan Andelloux from Rhode Island’s Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health for permission to reprint the following interview (slightly modified) from her site
What do you do in the field of sexuality?

I’m a New York City psychiatrist and psychotherapist specializing in sexuality and relationship issues. I also write a blog, “SexualityToday,” on my website and on PsychologyToday,  focused on new developments in sexuality, clinical sexuality, and sexual medicine.

Where are you based?

Central Park West in New York City — right across from Strawberry Fields.

What is your focus? What do you do?

I spend most of each day consulting with individuals and couples about sex and relationship problems. Not many sex therapists are MD’s, and not many psychiatrists still do much psychotherapy. So I’m somewhat of an anomaly on both counts. I also think about sexual issues and write about them.

What are your particular goals and passions in the field?

I like to see the look on a person’s face when they begin to feel more hopeful about themselves. I also enjoy working with patients whom no one else has been able to help or understand.

Why did you choose to work in this field?

Why would a person choose to do anything else?

Where did you go for school/training?

Psychiatry at the Payne Whitney Clinic, New York Hospital/Cornell; then sex therapy training with Raoul Schiavi and Patricia Schreiner-Engel and their group at the Program for Human Sexuality at Mt Sinai School of Medicine in NYC. Most of my clinical education since then has been through involvement in the Society for Sex Therapy and Research (SSTAR) and AASECT. But my most important teachers have been my patients.

Do you have any literature out (websites, articles)?

I’ve lately been chunking the basics of clinical sexuality into blog articles on my website, which is searchable. For instance, you can type in “simmering” under “Search Blog Articles” on my homepage to find articles on the subject — such as “Sexual Arousal for Its Own Sake.”  I’d like to continue writing until I have nothing more to say. Then I may retire!

What would you recommend to future sexologists attempting to get into the field?

No two sexual minds are alike. Acquire as deep a knowledge as possible of human psychology, and learn as many approaches to the mind as possible (behavioral, cognitive, psychoanalytic, biological, existential). You’ll need them all as a sex therapist.

What is the most challenging aspect for you working in this career?

It has nothing to do with sex. The most challenging aspect is seeing so many bright, talented people who can’t find jobs.

One must read.  What would you recommend?

For awhile I noticed that couples who read David Schnarch’s Passionate Marriage seemed to make more progress than those who didn’t.  But these days, few people seem willing to read books . I’ve been trying to condense the books that I like into blog articles. For instance, my article “Dining and Differentiation” is meant to be a quick dose of Schnarch for the distractible.

I also loved Ian Kerner’s She Comes First, because Kerner knows how to write about sex without making it boring – which is the worst and most common sin in our field, in my opinion.

stephen snyder md author photo Stephen Snyder, MD

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