by Geneviève Parent and Annabel McLaughlin, Bloggers
Now that we are at the end of our university studies, both of us doing our master in clinical sexology, we often receive questions about the field. It must be said that the Ordre professionnel des sexologues du Québec is still young, its creation goes back to 2013. The sexologist is a professional who evaluates the behavior and sexual development of a person. It can be an individual, a couple, a family, a group or a community. As presented by the Ordre professionnel des sexologues du Québec (OPSQ): “The purpose of the sexologist’s practice is to promote a better sexual balance in humans interacting with their environment. His interventions are to improve, maintain or restore sexual health. When sexual health has been deteriorated, a new balance must be reinstated and the sexologist can use in this regard a set of interventions and treatments that he can determine, recommend or apply”.
The practice areas of sexology are varied, so the sexologist can work in private cabinet, health and social services institution (CSSS, youth centers, public health departments, hospitals), school network establishment (schools, school boards), correctional services or in community settings (CAVAC, shelters).
Among the questions on sexology, many wonder about the academic training necessary for this profession. To obtain the title of sexologist, one must have a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in sexology or equivalent recognized by the OPSQ. The Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) is the only university in North America to offer a Bachelor’s degree in sexology. The program is only offer in French, this is probably why sexology is not something well know or common in others Canadian provinces or even in the United States of America. It is possible to practice the profession of sexologist directly after the baccalaureate. For those who wish to obtain the title of psychotherapist, the master in clinical concentration is the way to access to the practice of sex therapy.
Often, people do not know that the Bachelor of Sexology is a professional baccalaureate that allows the acquisition of the title of sexologist. Those graduates are commonly referred to as sexologist educators.
Bachelor’s sexologists are skilled at sex education, awareness and prevention programs, and can also help and support people in need. In this turning point of demand for the return of sex education in the school curriculum, sexologists are the best trained professionals for this teaching mandate. Unfortunately, budget limitations mean that sexologists are not the people designated to do so. This question could be the subject of an article on its own. The reflection on the subject remains important and it is necessary to propagate the idea that sexologists are the best qualify persons for sex education.
It is important to distinguish the profession of sexologist educator from the one of sexologist psychotherapist. They have not only the sexologist’s licence, but also the one of psychotherapist, attested by the Ordre des psychologues du Québec (OPQ). The clinical master’s program in sexology is approved by the OPQ and allows the sexologist that had completed the master’s degree to obtain the psychotherapist’s licence and, to practice sex therapy. The assessment of sexual disorder is the activity reserved for sexologist psychotherapists, which means that they are the only professionals able to do it.
For both of us (Annabel and Geneviève), we cherish the idea of opening a clinic offering sexological services, such as couple therapy or individual therapy for different sexual issues. For us, the profession of sexologist and psychotherapist is exciting and challenging on many levels. It is a real pleasure to be able to help people in the most intimate sphere of their lives and to help them in their evolution process.
We would also like to know which topics of interest would you like us to explore in our future articles on Heels & Brains? The menstrual cycle in all its stages ? The formation of spermatozoa and eggs ? Sterility? Sexual development at puberty?
Leave a comment below for any other question or topic you will like to learn about.