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University of Guelph

Sexual, Gender, and Relationship Diversity: Tools for Health Professionals

AN online course!

Today’s health and wellness professionals are often expected to be prepared for a wider range of sexual concerns than ever before. Are you ready to assist clients with sexual needs that intersect with experiences of trauma, sexual and gender minority statuses, accessibility and other chronic health concerns, polyamory and other types of non-monogamy, kink and BDSM practices, and more?

This course is designed for health and wellness professionals who already have a strong foundation in human sexuality, and are seeking advanced, applied knowledge for in-depth work with diverse clinical considerations and client populations. You will finish this course with your own customized portfolio or toolkit of therapeutic activities tailored to your own (current or future) clients and patients, that can be used right away.

Applied Approaches and Advanced Issues in Sexuality examines advanced topics in sexuality from systemic, sex-positive, strengths-based, and trauma informed perspectives. Utilizing current research, foundational and current theories, and clinical & outreach literature, the course will explore a range of advanced topics with a focus on applied interventions and outreach techniques.

During this 12 week online course, participants will focus on the following topics: defining and applying a sex-positive and body-positive approach, sexual wellbeing after experiences of trauma, consensual non-monogamy, nurturing pleasure-positive sexual communication, and relationships that are inclusive of or based upon kink/BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, Sadism, Masochism) dynamics.

This class will include multimedia components with explicit content for educational purposes, and attendees must be willing and able to engage with explicit audio, video, and imagery of a sexual nature. No multimedia depictions of non-consensual violence are utilized in this class, however educational material may contain readings that include quotes, descriptions, and summaries relating to survivors of relational and sexual trauma of diverse origins

Your Instructor

Dr. Ruth Neustifter is a Registered Family Therapist and Assistant Professor who teaches classes within the Couple & Family Therapy Program (CFT), Department of Family Relations & Applied Nutrition at the University of Guelph.

The creation and nurturance of sex-positive community, outreach, and knowledge is at the heart of much of their work, and they recognize an essential link between non-violence (relational and societal) and sex-positivity. Dr. Neustifter utilizes various qualitative methodologies to explore their areas of interest, which include issues of sexual well-being, sexuality and gender diversity, and survival of sexual and intimate partner violence. They draw particular inspiration from social constructionist ideas, sex-positive feminism, and the strengths-based perspective.

Course Learning Outcomes

At the end of the course you will be able to:

  1. Define and apply trauma-informed, strengths-based definitions of: trauma, resilience, power, and agency.
  2. Using common sex therapy techniques and relational communication skills, create and utilize a relational agreement for consensual non-monogamy in psychotherapeutic settings.
  3. Define your own professional and personal definitions of sex-positivity and body-positivity to create an aspirational ethics code or professional vision statement to approach sexuality and body esteem.
  4. Recognize and encourage pleasure-positive sexual communication within relationships as one of many possible sources of health and healing.
  5. Drawing upon the work of others, sensitively utilize common language around consensual-non-monogamy and kink in clinical and outreach settings.
  6. Define and apply terms including: LGBTQ, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, pansexual, agender, non-binary, asexual, sex, gender, and other words used to express sexual orientation and gender.

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Sponsored by

Family Relations and Applied Nutrition (FRAN) and Open Learning and Educational Support, University of Guelph


For more information please contact

Open Learning and Educational Support