Alternative Approaches to Therapy


The intersection of sex therapy and relationship therapy touches every aspect of life. A special selection of courses covers somatic interventions, surrogate partners, religion and sex, sex and culture, mindfulness, Imago, art therapy and alternative therapies you can use immediately with your clients.


Surrogacy, Religion and Sex, Imago and Sex Therapy

Sept 22-25, 2021

Held via: Live Simultaneous Webcast, 10 am – 6 pm Eastern/7 am – 3 pm Pacific

– Discounts for Early Registration end Aug 18th –


Wed – Sep 22

  • Somatic Interventions for Sex Therapy – Jennifer Gardner LICSW, CST
  • Introduction to Surrogate Partner Therapy with IPSA – Brian Gibney

Thu – Sep 23

  • Intersectionality and Religion in Sexuality – Estefanía Simich, MA, NCC, LCPC, CST
  • The Past, Present, and Future of Non-Monogamy – Chris Ryan

Fri – Sep 24

  • Intro to Sex and Mindfulness – Part I: Honoring the Unexplainable – Lori Brotto, Ph.D., R Psych
  • Imago Therapy and Sex Therapy – Tammy Nelson, Ph.D.

Sat – Sep 25

  • Sex and Art Therapy – Tammy Nelson, Ph.D.
  • From Trauma to Drama – Douglas Moser, Author
**Courses and presenters may be adjusted periodically. Please check this page or contact for the most up-to-date schedule.

In this 4 day training you can fulfill these requirements:

AASECT Sex Ed: AASECT Core Sex Therapy: AASECT Sex Counseling: ISTI Categories:
Wed: A, E, I, P
Wed: C, E, F


You may register for any combination of individual days. Student discounts available, email in your tuition: eWorkbook for the module, compiled by Tammy Nelson, Ph.D. with additional reading material and resources.

Sep 22 (Wed) 10 am – 1 pm  (Eastern) – Somatic Interventions for Sex Therapy with Jennifer Gardner LICSW, CST


Sep 22 (Wed) 2 pm – 6 pm  (Eastern) – Surrogate Partner Therapy with Brian Gibney

In this presentation, we will examine the use of surrogate partner therapy (SPT) as a supplemental treatment for patients experiencing severe impedances to physical and/or emotional intimacy. We will discuss a brief history of SPT, introduce IPSA (the International Professional Surrogates’ Association), identify typical presenting issues that SPT may be used to overcome, and discuss the process of the work. We will also discuss the overarching philosophies of SPT, ethics, and legality of the use of surrogate partners.

Sep 23 (Thu) 10 am – 1 pm  (Eastern) – Intersectionality and Religion in Sexuality with Estefanía Simich, MA, NCC, LCPC, CST

This lecture will focus on exploring new approaches to sex therapy by considering the intersectionality of sexuality and religion. Acknowledging that religions across the world have unique views on sexuality depending on the geographical location where an individual comes from allows us to understand that migration can significantly alter perceptions and views on sexuality. Furthermore, migration experiences can drastically change the way individuals express or not express their sexual identities and sexual preferences. The main goal of this course is to address the intersectional layers of a client’s identity, such as their identity within the Islamic religion by addressing professional considerations for sex therapy.

Sep 23 (Thu) 2 pm – 6 pm  (Eastern) – The Past, Present, and Future of Non-Monogamy with Chris Ryan

In this course, we’ll look at the evolutionary evidence that Homo sapiens evolved in the context of casual sexual non-monogamy, looking at evidence from the fields of primatology, anthropology, comparative primate anatomy and physiology, and contemporary psycho-sexual research. Next, we’ll look at how these evolved tendencies may affect modern people’s fantasies, sexual compulsions, and relationships, and how clinicians can better serve clients caught in the conflicting currents of biology and culture.

Sep 24 (Fri) 10 am – 1 pm  (Eastern) – Intro to Sex and Mindfulness – Part I: Honoring the Unexplainable with Lori Brotto, Ph.D., R Psych

Mindfulness is awareness in the moment without judgment. This means noticing thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations in any moment, and accepting without judgment. When we can observe instead of reacting (by lashing out, shutting down, or distracting/numbing), we start to slow down and reflect on what makes us unhappy, anxious, irritated, angry, sad, uncomfortable, lonely, or fearful. This mindful awareness can help get to the heart of patterns and triggers that lead to behavior and situations that cause unhappiness in life. In many interactions with intimate partners, whether mundane or challenging, there is always an opportunity to heal. Therapists and sexuality counselors can learn to use mindfulness as a tool for recovery.

Sep 25 (Sat) 2 pm – 6 pm  (Eastern) – From Trauma to Drama with Douglas Moser, Author

Trauma of all sorts reverberates long after the actual event. As Joseph Campbell said: “You enter the forest at the darkest point, where there is no path.” In our journey to claim our lives as hero, we must learn to follow our own path and find our own light. In “From Trauma to Drama” we will learn how to look at our dark moments through another lens, finding the hero within the victim, the champion in the defeated. We will explore ways to uncover the humor in pain, the transformation in misery, and the triumph in adversity. Participants will explore writing exercises that may take the form of theatrical scenes, short memoir pieces, and fiction based on their own experiences. Remember, what doesn’t kill you makes you more fun at parties. All participants should bring a pad and pen or pencil, and a computer if you’d like.

Recommended reading: Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, On Writing by Stephen King, and Change Your Story, Change Your Life by Jen Grisanti.

About the Trainers:

Lori Brotto
Over the course of his adult life, Brian Gibney has worn many hats: research scientist (MA, Molecular biology; Masters, Microbiology), teacher, professional artist, performer, and parent.  The common thread that has run through all of those vocations was the joy of learning, discovery, and improvement.  Concurrently, he has always enjoyed sharing with others to learn their stories, hopes, and dreams, realizing that these are common elements of the human experience that bind us all together.  In surrogate partner therapy I welcome the ability to utilize my unique skills, disposition, and life experiences to guide others around obstacles to emotional and physical intimacy.

Brian received his training in surrogate partner therapy from IPSA (the International Professional Surrogates’ Association) in 2016 and is currently in the intern phase of his work.  Under the supervision of an experienced mentor, he works with female-identifying clients to aid them in overcoming obstacles that prevent them from experiencing healthy intimate relationships.

Jennifer Gardner
Douglas Moser is a novelist, memoirist, and playwright. He currently teaches playwriting at the Westport Writers’ Workshop. As a writing coach and editor, for therapists, actors, and everyone in-between, his keen sense of content and story structure has put him in demand for those developing plays, novels, memoirs, and professional books. He is the creator (along with Alana Sanka) of “Hunker Down and Write”— one-day inspirational intensives that encourage goal-setting and help writers find ways to break through blocks and reengage with their stories.

Douglas has written for corporations, produced international events, and his memoir pieces have been published in print journals including Echo Magazine, Peculiar Magazine, and the Good Man Project. At the age of 22, his first play “What Happened to Frances Farmer…” was produced in New York as part of Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Oktoberfest. His adaptation of “A Christmas Carol” won the Connecticut Critics’ Circle Award for its performance at the Westport Country Playhouse.

As a theatre director, he most recently directed the world premiere of Mary Ann Frank’s acclaimed one-woman show “Spinning” at the Long Wharf Theatre. He made his opera debut directing the world premiere of the groundbreaking opera “Patience & Sarah” at Lincoln Center. In addition to many projects off-Broadway and in regional theatres, he directed the professional debut of Frederick Stroppel’s one-act “Glacier Bay,” starring Jack Klugman and Brett Somers in their theatrical reunion His film adaptation, starring James Noble (“the Governor” from TVs Benson) won several film festival awards.

With his writing partner Pat Watkins, his TV pilot for “Reborn Again” was a semi-finalist in the 2018 People’s Pilot competition in LA. He received a BFA in film and theatre from the University of Bridgeport and attended the Yale Summer Writers’ Workshop, the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, the New York Theatre Workshop at Dartmouth, and University of Michigan new play festival.

Current: He was recently accepted into the acclaimed seminar, The Writers’ Hotel, a mini-MFA program for novelists, for his darkly comic thriller James & Jim.


Tammy Nelson Ph.D. is a sex and relationship expert, an international speaker, and author of several books including, “Integrative Sex & Couples Therapy,” “Getting the Sex You Want; Shed Your Inhibitions and Reach New Heights of Passion Together,” “The New Monogamy; Redefining Your Relationship After Infidelity,”  and “When You’re the one Who Cheats.” She is a Board Certified Sexologist, an AASECT Certified Sex Therapist, and a Certified Imago Relationship therapist, a TEDx speaker, and the host of the podcast The Trouble with Sex
Chris Ryan’s work has been translated into over twenty languages, and appeared just about everywhere, including Netflix, HBO, MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, NPR, The New York Times, The Times of London, Playboy, The Washington Post, Time, Newsweek, National Geographic, and The Atlantic. Chris has been a featured speaker at TED, SXSW, The Festival of Dangerous Ideas at the Sydney Opera House, the Portland Comedy Festival, the Einstein Forum in Pottsdam, Germany, and is a frequent guest on The Joe Rogan Experience, the Duncan Trussell Family Hour and many other podcasts. He’s provided expert testimony in a Canadian constitutional hearing, won a coveted AVN award (best non-sex performance, Marriage 2.0) and popped-up in dozens of documentary films and television shows.

Even before co-authoring the New York Times best-seller, Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What it Means for Modern Relationships with Cacilda Jethá, MD in 2010, Chris was on a wild ride.

After receiving a BA in English and American literature in 1984 he spent the next two decades traveling around the world, pausing in unexpected places to work at very odd jobs (e.g., gutting salmon in Alaska, teaching English to prostitutes in Bangkok and self-defense to land-reform activists in Mexico, managing commercial real-estate in New York’s Diamond District, helping Spanish physicians translate and publish their research).

In his mid-30s, Chris decided to get a little serious and pursue doctoral studies in Psychology at Saybrook Graduate School, in San Francisco, CA, using his dissertation to examine Darwin’s rather naive understanding of human sexual evolution — providing the core arguments later advanced in Sex at Dawn.

Chris’s latest book, Civilized to Death: The Price of Progress (Simon & Schuster/Avid Reader Press, 2019), asks whether civilization has been a net benefit to our species. He hosts a weekly podcast, Tangentially Speaking, often recorded from the road while traveling in his van, Scarlett Jovansson. The podcast features conversations with comics, bank robbers, drug smugglers, porn stars, authors, and an occasional rattlesnake expert.

Estefanía is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Board Approved Supervisor in Maryland, and an ASSECT Certified Sex Therapist and supervisor in training. She has worked in the non-profit and governmental sectors in Peru, The Netherlands and the US. Currently, she has a bilingual private practice in Baltimore, as a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and Supervisor, and a Certified Sex Therapist and supervisor in training. Estefanía is passionate about supporting migrant populations who have experienced violence and sexual trauma. As well as working with clients from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds. She acts as an immigration court expert on gender violence cases involving Latin American migrants.


Estefanía is also an academic and is currently working on her PhD dissertation at the California Institute for Integral Studies. Her dissertation addresses the conceptualization of sexual citizenship of migrant Peruvian women living in the US.

All lectures will be taught by top experts recognized in the field of human sexuality both nationally and worldwide. Other faculty may be announced at a later time.

**This program meets the educational requirements of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) and is approved for 28 CE credits. These CE credits may be applied toward AASECT certification and renewal of certification. Completion of this program does not ensure or guarantee AASECT certification. For further information please contact or go to  Please contact your local certifying organization for detailed information on courses they accept for CEs.

** You will receive a refund less $50 deposit for your registration if you cancel within one week of the course. If you cancel with 24 hours’ notice for any reason, you will receive a refund less a $100 deposit. If you cancel with less than 24 hours’ notice, you forfeit your tuition but may use your payment at any other time, for any other course.

Additional information

Days to Attend:

SAR + Fri/Sat, 4-day Series, SAR 2-day, Weds, Thurs, Fri, Sat, Weds/Thurs, Thurs/Fri, Fri/Sat, Weds/Thurs/Fri, Thu/Fri/Sat