Westland Academy's Approach
Westland Academy’s Approach to Sex Therapy Training
The Westland Academy of Clinical Sex Therapy aims to provide innovative, inclusive and accessible professional development training in the area of Sex Therapy. The depths at which sex, sexual expression, sexuality, and sexual dysfunction can be explored are vast, therefore Westland’s objective is to target the PLISS aspects of Jack Annon’s well-known PLISSIT Model of Sex Therapy.
What is The PLISSIT Model?
The PLISSIT Model is based on the notion that the majority of individuals can resolve their sexuality-based problems and concerns by addressing the first three steps of the four-step model. PLISSIT is an acronym for levels of intervention which include:
- Permission (P)
- Limited Information (LI)
- Specific Suggestions (SS)
- Intensive Therapy (IT)
The model is structured in such a way that it requires a greater knowledge and training base as one moves downwards throughout the levels. The first three interventions are often considered to be brief therapy or psycho-education, whereas the last step (IT) requires more specific therapeutic training – such as a Masters of Arts in Counselling Psychology (MA) or a Doctorate in Psychology (PsyD, PhD) etc.
Westland Academy is NOT training professionals in any way to provide intensive therapy (IT) to clients.
Intensive Therapy (IT) for sex-based concerns can be complex and in-depth therapeutic work that would require a referral to a qualified and specialized Sex Therapist (trained and certified Counsellor, Psychotherapist, Psychologist etc). This work often intersects with sexual trauma and abuse, addictions, family-of-origin issues, attachment styles, and cultural and religious expression, among many others. As always, ethics requires that we practice within our competencies and although our programs reference these considerations, they do not train on how to address them. Nor does taking these programs qualify you as a “Sex Therapist.”
Overall, Westland Academy’s programs address the PLISS aspects of this model to provide professionals with both psycho-educational and behavioural strategies in order to:
- help clients address sex and sexuality-based concerns that do not require long term intensive therapy,
- support practitioners already qualified to provide intensive therapy with a deeper understanding of sex and sexuality-based concerns,
- educate practitioners to be aware of, and identify sex and sexuality-based issues prior to referring clients out to other certified and specialized mental health and health care professionals.
A visual hierarchy of the various levels of the PLISSIT Model, showing the separation between brief and intensive therapy.