Northwest Institute on Intimacy was founded to further the field of sex therapy by training therapists to be sex-positive, holistic providers of the couples and individuals they see in their office. There are many important reasons a therapist would want to get training in Sex Therapy. For more information see our blog post The # 1 Reason A Couple Will Be Dissatisfied with You!
Step 1: Enroll in a graduate Marriage and Family Therapy program, or another systems-based psychotherapy program. If you are an MSW, psychologist or counselor don’t fret, you only need to complete training in couples therapy such as EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy), or a David Schnarch’s Crucible Therapy. MFT is the recommended path to get the most out of this, since your supervision hours post graduation can count as both (more on this later).
Step 2: Complete the first weekend of training by participating in the SAR (sexual attitude reassessment). Many people think that you have to have a master’s degree before you can do this, but that is actually not the case! As long as you are enrolled in a masters program, you can begin AASECT coursework.
The Northwest Institute on Intimacy provides a SAR each June. In 2017, the SAR is June 23-25, and ends by marching in the Seattle Pride Parade, and is arguably one of the most dynamic SAR courses in the country! The cost is $590 until 5/1, and then the cost increases to $750. This course provides 14 CEU’s for the following disciplines: AASECT, MFT, LICSW, LMHC.
Register here for by May 1 and get a $160 discount! 
Step 3: complete a weeklong training by taking the Advanced Course in Clinical Sexology. This course occurs each November and deeply explores many different aspects of human sexuality, evidence-based treatment of sexual disorders and dysfunctions, and provides you with a community of like-minded, sex positive therapists.
The Advanced Course is 4 graduate credits, and costs roughly $2800. This course provides 46 CEUs for the following disciplines: AASECT, LMFT, LICSW, LMHC
Step 4: complete 50 hours of post graduate supervision and 300 client contact hours of sex therapy cases. This is broken in two – individual and group supervision. Group supervision occurs in small groups of 2-4, and individual supervision is alone with the supervisor. These 50 hours can occur in as little as 24 months. This supervision will be overseeing the required 300 hours of sex therapy cases. The Institute offers supervision with our medical director, Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers, PhD.  There are other supervisors in AASECT as well. If you are an LMHCA or LMFTA, Dr. Sellers is an AAMFT approved supervisor as well as an AASECT approved supervisor. This means that ALL of your cases for state licensure AND AASECT certification can be supervised at the same time, by the same person, while connecting you with colleagues in the sex therapy community.
Step 5: Once you are licensed, submit your final paperwork, and voila! You are on a career path that sets your couples up for holistic, biopsychosocial-spiritual-sexual care. At the Institute, we call a person with this extensive training, a Certified Integrated Intimacy Practitioner (CIIP). There are less than 5% of therapists in the country with this level of comprehensive training. This is an elite group. However, ALL OF YOUR CLIENTS will come to you with all of these aspects of themselves affected by life’s stresses and hardships.
They expect and deserve someone with this level of training.
For those that are interested in becoming a Certified Integrated Intimacy Practitioner™ and being listed on our referral page, you would need to take a spirituality CEU.  This can be many different things such as: Hebrew Mystic Sexuality (Dr. Tina Schermer Seller’s specialty, she has a book coming soon that explains how we were meant to have a sex-positive experience of faith!), an applied Tantra course, a Gina Ogden‘s 4-D Wheel training, or another course. This course functions as your “elective” in your training where you choose additional training in the integration of spirituality and sexuality to round out your expertise.
For more info on AASECT certified supervisors, click here
For more info on AAMFT supervisors, click here 
More on Dr. Tina Schermer Seller’s New Book: Sex, God, & the Conservative Church
Synopsis: This book is the first of its kind written to help people of faith who have experienced religious sexual shame. This shame and trauma come as an inadvertent byproduct of the sex-negative sexual ethic of conservative religion.  Based on ten years of research, it explains what happened in the formation of the Christian church, the recent purity movement, and how American culture can compound the problem. It goes on to reveal a sex-positive ancient Hebrew story that was buried in Christian history and the sex-positive gospel ethic that was never developed. Finally, it offers a four-step model for healing religious sexual shame, and actual touch and non-touch exercises to bring healing and intimacy into a person’s life.  The book is appropriate for clients, patients, therapists, clergy, physicians, and those who train sociology students, therapists, sex therapists, clergy or primary care physicians.  It also is a text that would function well in a book group or study group and for those who want to explore the impact of religious sexual shame and those who want to heal or help someone else to heal.  It is sensitive to those who grew up in conservative church environments, while simultaneously providing adequate information for the provider that may not be familiar with that culture.


Whether you were affected by the church’s negative view of sex, or you are a clinician who works with people whose sexual experience has been diminished, many have been waiting for this book for years! Go to  and sign up to receive a Bonus Chapter of her book and other exclusive information

This chapter is to say thank you for your patience and to give you something NOW you can put into use right away!

If you want to be guaranteed a first edition printing, buy during the presale. The publisher has a limited supply, so don’t delay!


Scholarly Reviews of Sex, God, & the Conservative Church

“Masterfully integrating psychology and theology, Sellers gives us a groundbreaking, razor-sharp view into conservative Christian culture and its shame-inducing sexual ethic. As a psychologist, I am impressed by the precision, validity, and robustness of her research. As a theologian, I am grateful for the Christian sexual ethic — rooted in justice, mutuality and an infinitely relational God — that she introduces. As a millennial who grew up in the conservative Christian purity culture that Sellers describes, the practices in this book lit my pathway to greater freedom from shame and more authentic connection to God, myself and others. I hope that therapists and Christian leaders — pastors, parents and youth workers — will read this insightful book with an open mind.”

– Christena Cleveland, Ph.D., Duke Divinity School, author of Disunity in Christ – Uncovering the Forces that Keep Us Apart


“Most clinical programs – whether they are based in psychology or marriage and family therapy, social work or medicine, pastoral counseling or any number of other fields in the “helping professions” – do not adequately prepare trainees to work with individuals or couples who have been indoctrinated with Church-driven messages of sexual guilt and shame.  As a therapist and educator, I have struggled to find resources that help guide clients on a path to healing and growth – and to do this in a way that simultaneously embraces their sexuality(ies) and religious/spiritual faith.  The wisdom and counsel that Dr. Tina Sellers offers in this book should be in every training curriculum, on every providers’ bookshelf, and in every couple’s home.”

-Tai J. Mendenhall, Ph.D., LMFT; Couple and Family Therapy Program, University of Minnesota


This book is powerful medicine for anyone who has ever suffered religious shame about sex.   You will find compassion for your dilemmas of conscience, wisdom regarding the teachings of the church, and best of all—explicit practices for opening your mind, nurturing your heart, touching your body, and celebrating the spirit of all that is truly erotic.

-Gina Ogden, Ph.D., LMFT, author of Expanding the Practice of Sex Therapy, The Heart & Soul of Sex, and other books


Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers’ provocative book addresses the sex-negative doctrine in the conservative Christian church that instills in many people deep shame about their body and discomfort with the opposite sex, making them ill-prepared for marriage. Showing how notions of Christianity and sexuality are complementary, Dr. Sellers offers both therapist and lay reader examples of working with clients to heal the soul-body split, reduce shame, and deepen a couple’s loving connection.

-Stella Resnick, Ph.D., Couples and sex therapist in private practice in Beverly Hills, CA. and author of The Heart of Desire: Keys to the Pleasures of Love


“This book is a practical and yet deeply theological path towards healing for those wounded by a shame-based purity culture. Dr. Schermer Sellers researched and written a roadmap towards a sex-positive Gospel ethic of intimacy. I will be recommending it to pastors and counsellors and teachers everywhere.”

– Sarah Bessey, author of Jesus Feminist and Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith


“This is an enlightening, well-written, and a clinically useful book on the problems and potential of conservative Christianity for clients dealing with sexual problems. Tina Schermer Sellers is uniquely positioned to make this unique contribution to therapy for a population often misunderstood by clinicians. Whether you’re new to the field or highly experienced, I promise you’ll learn a lot.”

-William J. Doherty, Ph.D., professor, director, Minnesota Couples on the Brink Project, University of Minnesota; author, Take Back Your Marriage.

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