Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Social workers-Attitudes, Sex-Study and teaching (Graduate), Sexology, Social work education, Psychotherapist and patient, Transference (Psychology), Sexuality, Erotic transference, LGBTQ, Therapist comfort with sexuality, Sexual attitudes, Gender, Sex, Feminist history, Human sexuality training, Sexuality discussions


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between human sexuality training and clinical social workers' comfort with addressing sexuality issues with clients. A mixed methods survey was responded to by 90 participants who had graduated from Smith SSW between the years 2000 and 2009. Participants were asked questions pertaining to their level of comfort with discussions about sexuality; their attitudes about sexuality; and their knowledge and comfort with issues regarding erotic transference. The results of this study indicate that participants who received human sexuality training had a greater degree of comfort with discussing sexuality issues with their clients than those who had not received training. Respondents who had received some sort of human sexuality training reported that they initiate sexuality related discussions with clients and viewed such discussions as necessary more often than those with no training. A positive correlation was found between the amount of human sexuality training respondents had received and their inclusion of sexuality related questions in biopsychosocial assessments. Additionally, a positive correlation was found between the amount of human sexuality training received and respondents' reports of detection ability and frequency of experiences with erotic transference encounters in therapeutic relationships. This indicates that the more human sexuality training clinical social workers receive, the more comfortable they are to address their clients' sexuality related issues and the more prepared they are to detect erotic transference.




iv, 82 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2011. Includes bibliographical references (p. 63-70, 82)