The sex therapists at the U-M Center for Sexual Health are licensed mental health professionals who have received specialized training in helping people resolve sexual difficulties through counseling. Sex therapists counsel individuals or couples and teach sexuality education, as well as communication and stress reduction techniques. They also give specific information to help resolve sexual problems. No sexual activity is ever practiced in the therapist’s office. Sex therapists listen and talk to you, and help you find ways to overcome or adjust to your problems.
Sex therapists at the University of Michigan Health Systems are required to hold the specialized national certification called “AASECT certified” sex therapy. You will either see a certified sex therapist or a sex therapist who is finalizing their certification in sex therapy. U-M sex therapists are also engaged in teaching sexuality education to faculty and graduate students, and are committed to better standards for providing information about sexual health to patients and clients at the University of Michigan and its clinics.
Sex Therapist Certification
For the great majority of professionals in health care and human services, sex therapist certification is a prerequisite to independent practice as a sex therapist. It is important to know that there is a national credentialing body called the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists. AASECT credentials sexual health professionals on the basis of rigorous standards for academic preparation, supervised training and consultation, field-related experience and applied skills. Certification by AASECT is a crucial step in professional stature, demonstrating to all that the sex therapist has met stringent requirements for training and experience.
Claudia Kraus Piper, LMSW, DST is the Clinical Supervisor for Sexual Health Counseling Services . She is a Diplomat in Sex Therapy and works with individuals and couples. Claudia’s clinical interests include desire discrepancy, relationship conflict and sexuality, vulvovaginal disorders and pain. She also sees patients at the Center for Vulvar Diseases in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Research interests include the effects of vulvodynia on sexual function. Claudia also lectures to Social Work and Medical students at the University of Michigan.
Joyce A. Glisson, LMSW, CST, is a Clinical Social Worker and Certified Sex Therapist at the center for sexual health. She specializes in sexual health and vulvar disease and has clinical interests in vulvar pain and vulvar diseases, male and female sexual function, medical or pain disorders interrupting sexual function, relationship and intimacy concerns, menopause/andropause and sexuality and aging, as well as sexual health education.
Mieke Beckman, LMSW, CST is a Clinical Social Worker and a Certified Sex Therapist at the center for sexual health. Mieke also provides brief sexual health counseling in three UMHS gynecology clinics, including the Women With Developmental Disabilities clinic, the Vulvar Diseases clinic, and the Pediatric and Adolescent clinic. She specializes in sexual health and women's health, and her clinical interests include sexuality and disability, male and female sexual function, women's health, relationship and intimacy concerns, and sexual health education.
Casey O’ Gara, LMSW, RN is a Clinical Social Worker and Certified Sex Therapist at the center for sexual health. She specializes in sexual health and vulvar diseases. Her clinical interests include male and female sexuality related to change/loss due to medical or psychological conditions, trauma, or the normal aging process, in addition to relationship and intimacy concerns.
Daniela Wittmann, LMSW, CST, is the Sexual Health Coordinator in the Department of Urology and the Research Lead in the Department of Social Work. She specializes in the area of sexual recovery after cancer with particular emphasis on prostate cancer. Her research interests include developing and evaluating sexual health interventions with couples when one member is recovering from cancer and understanding individuals’ and couples’ adjustment to chronic illness.