What Every Mental Health Professional Needs to Know about Sex, by Stephanie Buehler, Springer Publishing Company, New York, 2013, 328 pages, $60.00.
“In our culture, no one escapes having some form of sexual damage,” writes Stephanie Buehler in the book entitled What Every Mental Health Professional Needs to Know about Sex (2014, p. 3). This comprehensive guide provides an in-depth look at a variety of sexual issues both for the client and clinician alike. Readers are provided with an array of sexual topics that occur in clinical practice settings including how to assess sexual problems, an overview of psychosexual development across the lifespan, issues specific to certain groups (i.e., women’s sexual health problems), and ethical considerations in sex therapy. Although this book is written by a sex therapist, it is applicable to any mental health professional working with clients of any age.
Buehler's organization of the content is well constructed, easy to follow, and provides both depth and breadth to sexual issues that occur in professional practice. One of the best attributes of this book is the inclusion of “step into my office” sections in several chapters, which provide the reader with a clinical case example and discussion of how to best approach a specific sexual issue.
To treat sexual concerns that arise in practice, mental health professionals must be aware of their own beliefs, values, and knowledge (or lack thereof) of sex. Thus, each chapter includes questions and activities for the reader to complete and encourages them to become more comfortable with addressing sexual issues in clinical practice.
Each chapter provides educators and supervisors with a framework for assisting students and newer clinicians to gain more self-awareness of their internal conceptions and frameworks for addressing sex.
This book will help mental health professionals at all stages of their careers learn how to address sex in a comfortable and effective manner in clinical practice. It provides useful, practical information on development across the lifespan to assessment and interventions for specific sexual concerns that will aid in the development of clinical skill. It is a practice guide to aid in the development of clinical skill. It challenges personal beliefs and biases about treating sexual health concerns and provides a much-needed resource for anyone who wants to become more familiar with how to effectively address sexual health topics in mental health related settings.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Russell, Ph.D., LCSW, Assistant Professor, Nazareth College, Rochester, NY.