Couples & Sex Therapy Training Program

Part II: Human Sexuality, Sex Education & Sex Therapy


  • Wendy Cherry, Psy.D
  • Ron Crane, MFT
  • Guest Instructors


January 9 – June 11, 2020, Thursdays

12:15 pm - 3:00 pm (15 min. break)


UCLA - room location varies and will be provided each week. 


The Human Sexuality, Sex Education & Sex Therapy (HSSEST) course is offered to all mental health professionals, and is designed to incorporate multiple instructional levels (introductory, intermediate and advanced). Each lecture stands on its own, but together gives a comprehensive understanding of sexual issues, problems, and their treatment. Each lecture covers an important area for the clinician’s understanding of human sexuality and sex therapy. We are fortunate that many national and international experts have agreed to present their material to further our understanding of sexual functioning, problems and treatment. In 85% of all marriages, there is sexual dysfunction. 

There are four problems in sex, which are 1) medical/surgical, 2) sexual performance, 3) sexual desire, and 4) lack of sexual information and education. These areas will be covered extensively. 

Topics to be covered include Sex and the Disabled, Sex and the Aging, Child Sexual Abuse, Cultural Issues in Sex and Sexual Risk Taking, Demographics, Research Diagnosis and Treatment of HIV and AIDS, Fetishes and BDSM, Prostitution and the Business of Sex, The Sex Surrogate, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Infertility Problems, Development of Female and Male Sexuality, Psychological Treatment of Male and Female Sexual Disorders, Sexual Performance Problems, and Lack of Sexual Desire from a Medical and Psychological Point of View. This course will also cover transgender and transsexual problems, transvestism, and gay and lesbian information and issues. There will be a section on the adult film industry with lectures by producers, directors, performers, medical personnel and manufacturers of sexual aids. This is a multibillion-dollar industry that touches all of our lives and contributes significantly to sexual addiction. Current research in sex will be also be covered. 

Students will have an opportunity to explore their own attitudes and feelings as it pertains to this important area. It is time that couples therapy and sex therapy become married. These two fields have too long been divided. The effort in each lecture is to show how couples and sex therapy are inextricably entwined.

Learning Objectives:

1. Summarize the four main problems in sex therapy: medical/surgical, sexual performance, sexual desire, lack of education.

2. Prioritize treatment of couples issues and sexual issues.

3. Recognize the most common sexual performance and sexual desire issues in males and females.

4. Assess appropriate interventions for male and female sexual issues.

5. Assess appropriate interventions for culturally diverse populations indicated by culture, religion, age, orientation, gender, lifestyle and disabilities.

6. Recognize indications of sexual addiction/compulsivity, fetishistic attachments, and childhood sexual abuse/trauma, and plan appropriate treatment.

Educational Goals:

This course is designed to help participants:

1.   Provide mental health professionals with techniques that effectively integrate couples therapy and sex therapy in a clinical practice.

2.   Provide new competencies and knowledge to mental health professionals by presenting new research findings (i.e. neuroscientific, psychomotor, psychobiological) and integrate these findings into existing education, theoretical models, and clinical approaches to the field of couples and sex therapy.

3.   Advance existing skills and competence in the field of couples and sex therapy to better equip mental health professionals to serve the needs of the public.

4.   Promote research endeavors by mental health professionals in the field of couples and sex therapy in order to contribute to the discipline of psychology as a whole.

Instructors (Guest Lecturers listed in Syllabus):

Walter E. Brackelmanns, MD is a board-certified psychiatrist, child psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA, a Senior Instructor for the Extension Division of UCLA, and a mental health consultant to the Los Angeles Unified School District. He is the Director of the Couples and Sex Therapy Clinic, the Coordinator of the Couples and Sex Therapy Training Program, and Instructor of the Inter-analytic Couples Therapy Course at UCLA. He has worked for 30 years developing and teaching a unique and practical approach to couples therapy, both nationally and internationally.

Ron Crane, MFT, a Marriage and Family Therapist, received his Bachelor of Science and his Master of Science degrees from Kansas State University. He has done extensive post-graduate work at the University of Missouri, the University of Southern California, and the University of California at Los Angeles.  He received a Doctor of Laws Degree, LLD (honoris causa) from International College in 1980 for his contributions to the Mental Health profession. Ron has been in the practice of psychotherapy for over forty-five years with special interest in: Individual and Couples Therapy, Gay and Lesbian Therapy, Sexual Therapy, and Addiction Therapy. He has been involved with: Sexual Abuse Treatment Centers, Big Brothers & Big Sisters, Youth Shelters and Family Services, the South Central Los Angeles Mental Rehabilitation Center, and various addiction treatment programs.

Wendy Cherry, Psy.D, a licensed psychotherapist, is the co-founder of AACAST, and the Co-Director of the Couples and Sex Therapy Training Program. She has been training with Dr. Walter Brackelmanns for the last fourteen years, teaches at Ryokan College, and is a part of Dr. Allan Schore's study group. Dr. Cherry has developed an expertise in the neuroscientific theories of relationship and clinical treatment of insecure attachment organization. She has the distinction of being trained in both business management and as a mental health professional. Prior to her work in the field of psychology, Wendy created and directed one of the very first Internet companies, becoming a well-known speaker and media expert on internet issues in the Los Angeles area. 

Satisfactory Completion: Participants must attend each class in the Human Sexuality, Sex Education & Sex Therapy (HSSEST) course. Participants are currently allowed to miss two (2) classes in this lecture series, but must complete the required reading for the missed class(es) and watch the DVD of the missed class(es) in order to meet the stated learning objectives. Participants must have paid tuition fee, signed in for each class, completed an evaluation, and signed out of each class in order to receive an attendance certificate. 

Refund Policy: All course cancellations and requests for refunds must be made in writing. Telephone requests will not be honored. Letters and/or an e-mail to the Executive Director should be received no later than 15 days prior to the first day of the course to receive a full refund of the course payments. An exception is made in the case of an emergency situation defined as the death or illness of registrant or a family member. In case of emergency, a full refund will be issued. In the case of a withdrawal from the course after the course has started, for any reason, the refund will consist of a prorated amount based on attendance, minus a $50.00 administrative fee. All refund requests should be made in writing and sent to: AACAST, Attn: Wendy Cherry, Executive Director, 14419 Riverside Drive, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423 or by e-mail at

Accommodations for Disabilities: Participants who have a disability and require special assistance should contact Wendy Cherry, Psy.D. by email at or by phone at (818) 990-5000.

Grievances, issues, or concerns regarding the conference or registration should be addressed in writing and submitted to

The American Association of Couples and Sex Therapist (AACAST) is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT Provider #133064) to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs. This course meets the qualifications for 44 hours of continuing education credit for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. AACAST maintains responsibility for this program/course and its content.

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