I recently had the honor of interviewing Dr. Rose Hartzell, PhD, EdS, CHES, LMFT. She is the resident Sex Therapist at San Diego Sexual Medicine, the premier center for sexual health, and is responsible for addressing the sexuality, relationship, and intimacy concerns of individuals and couples who attend the clinic, many of whom suffer from sexual pain. Here are some of the insights she shared.
1. What made you decide to become a sex therapist?
I took a roundabout way of getting there. I started off as a sex researcher and then realized that, although doing research was interesting, I found that a lot of people would come to me with questions. I decided that I really like helping people better. Research is helping people, but helping people as a therapist is more one-on-one, or two-on-one. So I went back to school and while I was working on my PhD I added a Masters and then an EdS in therapy.
On a more global level, I like talking to people about things that they can’t talk about with anyone else. Sex is something that is really important to people, but often times they have difficulty talking about it. And for some reason God granted me the gift of feeling comfortable talking about sex, so I like to help other people feel more comfortable talking about it and have more satisfying sex lives.
2. You are part of the team at San Diego Sexual Medicine. What type of work do you do there? How does your role fit into the larger goal of the center?
Here at San Diego Sexual Medicine we take a bio-psycho-social approach or a holistic perspective. The kind of people I see here is usually different than the average sex therapist would see because a lot of times the people that we see here are people that have a physical component. So I often see people who have some type of physical issue that has affected them psychosocially. My role here is for both men and women, to help them to see how whatever happened to them (erectile dysfunction, low sexual desire or whatever it is) is impacting themselves and their relationships, and how to get what they want out of their sex lives.
I have been working in this office for four and a half years and I love my job. I can’t think of anything cooler.
3. How does sex therapy differ from other types of psychotherapy or counseling? Continue reading