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2018 Summer Institute


 2018 AASECT Summer Institute

Decentering the Norm: Social Justice Transformations in Sex Therapy, Counseling and Education

Save the Date - July 26-29, 2018

 (from 8:00am Thursday, July 26, 2018 through 1:00pm Sunday, July 29, 2018)

Registration is OPEN! 

Brown School, Washington University - St. Louis, MO



About the 2018 Summer Institute Theme 

We are in a powerful cultural moment, the center is failing to hold. Conventional practices reflecting ideologies of dominance are giving way to pluralistic solutions, collaborative sharing, and social justice values.

How to seize the moment for greater sexual health and sex positivity? We can recognize the opportunity, that fields of psychology, social work, sex therapy, sexuality counseling, and sexuality education are ripe for a paradigm change that integrates transformative powers of non-traditional sexualities and identities.  

In "Decentering the Norm: Social Justice Transformations in Sex Therapy, Counseling and Education", this Institute will go beyond inclusion and "affirmative” therapies as we currently know them. It will critically explore how pathologizing marginal practices and pushing conventional visions of coupling have coerced people to conform and assimilate, supporting social control rather than social liberation.

A faculty of creative cultural innovators will show how legitimizing non-traditional, non-conventional ways of being, thinking, and having sex can open new paths to human flourishing. 

Using perspectives of strengths-based models and social justice systems, the Institute will spotlight how considering effects of class, gender, sexual orientation, race, and ability can revise the practice and improve the effectiveness of conventional diagnosing. Viewing symptoms as purely individual problems misses how social processes and political inequities make people ill. New theories, forms of practice, and skills will be discussed and explored to allow for attendees to transform to a new model of practitioner--educator--activist.

“Decentering the Norm” will pull from Social Justice Perspectives, Gender Studies, Queer theory, Feminism, Mad Studies, Disability Studies, Critical Race Theory, Kink, and Sex Positivity. An assumption animating this Institute is that we cannot help our clients and the world heal until we have destabilized the center in ourselves.

We hope to see you in St. Louis! 


About the AASECT Institutes

AASECT’s twice-annual Institutes complement AASECT’s Annual Conference. Both attract a mix of experts, new members, and seasoned colleagues, who come to touch base with each other and professional innovations. Both Conferences and Institutes offer clinicians and educators alike training sessions that update best practices in optimizing sexual pleasure, dispelling dissatisfaction and building hope for better connections and communities. Institutes, like Conferences, introduce members to new tools, perspectives, and strategies for advancing sex positivity, fostering appreciation for difference, and working for sexual freedom and social justice.

Differences between these two forms of AASECT’s professional development include depth, intensity, and focus. While a Conference may attract 700 attendees, Institutes are limited to 50 and usually have a 5-1 ratio of faculty plus facilitators to participants. While a conference offers a panoply of plenary sessions, concurrent workshops, poster sessions, film screenings, business and award-conferring meetings, an Institute focuses on one current, critical theme and investigates it in sessions attended by everyone. At Institutes, noted experts on the chosen theme explore with participants assumptions, dimensions, implications, frameworks and what’s at stake in working on these particular issues.

Four full days and three evenings of presentations and more intimate conversations with Institute faculty and other participants can shift worldviews and transform how participants see and want to work with clients and students. Each day of learning ends with a process group, where feelings about the day are expressed, recognized, explored, and valued. Facilitation aims to help participants see more fully the meaning of their work, the core values that are guiding them, and how they feel. Meals taken together and informal conversations with faculty and other participants can lead to long lasting professional relationships that go beyond networking. AASECT Institutes are designed as transformative education. Feedback from participants indicate Institutes surpass expectations, objectives, and other training participants have previously encountered. 

AASECT Institutes can lead to new ways the organization and its members work.  Position statements can grow out of Institute discussions, and work with newly met colleagues can lead to new initiatives and projects.  When smaller groups of sexuality professionals take time out to think together deeply, engage holistically, and reflect personally on their work, growth is likely to take place—in the individual, in AASECT, and in the field.



Hosted by the Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis, MO.

Continuing Education (CE) Information

AASECT: This program meets the CE requirements of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists. These CE credits may be applied toward AASECT certification and renewal of certification.

APA: AASECT is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. AASECT maintains responsibility for this program and its content.