Save the Date for the 2018 Summer Institute!

Save the Date for the AASECT 2018 Summer Institute

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

WHEN: July 26-29, 2018

 (from 8am Thursday through 1pm Sunday)

WHERE: the Brown School,
Washington University in St. Louis

HOTEL: Clayton Plaza

7750 Carondelet Ave, Clayton, MO 63105

Registration opens SOON!

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.   

Institute Co-Directors:

Chris Donaghue, PhD, LCSW, CST. Psychotherapist, SexTherapist & Activist. Tv Host, LoveLine podcast cohost & "author of Sex Outside the Lines

Prem Pawa, MSW, LCSW, CST, CSTS, Director of the Sexual Health Certificate Program, University of Michigan

Institute Faculty:    

Chris Donaghue, PhD, LCSW, CST. Dr. Chris Donaghue is an international lecturer, therapist, and educator. Dr Donaghue is the Director of Clinical Education for The Sexual Health Alliance (SHA), host of the LoveLine podcast, weekly expert on “The Amber Rose Show”, and frequent co host on “The Doctors” tv show.  He previously hosted WE tv’s “Sex Box” and Logo tv’s “Bad Sex”.  He is published in various professional journals and top magazines, and has been featured on The Today Show, VICE, CNN, HLN, OWN, Nightline, Dr Drew and in Newsweek, New York Times, Daily Beast, Mens Health, Cosmo, and National Geographic.Author of the book, “Sex Outside the Lines: Authentic Sexuality in a Sexually Dysfunctional Culture”.

Session Title: Outside the Lines: Liberating Sex from Problematic Culture, Psychology, and Normativity

Bradley Lewis MD, PhD is associate professor at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study and a practicing psychiatrist. He is affiliated with NYU’s Disability Studies minor, Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, and Department of Psychiatry. Lewis writes and teaches at the interface of humanities, cultural studies, disability studies, madness studies, medicine, psychiatry, and the arts. His recent books are Narrative Psychiatry: How Stories Shape Clinical Practice and Depression: Integrating Science, Culture, and Humanities.

Session Title is: Queering Mental Health: The Intersections of Sexism, Heteronormativity, and Sanism

Keiko Lane ,MFT is a Japanese American psychotherapist, writer, educator, and activist. She has a psychotherapy practice in Berkeley, CA. specializing in work with queers of all genders, artists, activists, academics, healers and clinicians, and other clients self-identified as post-colonial. Keiko writes about the intersections of queer culture, oppression resistance, racial and gender justice, HIV criminalization, reproductive justice, and liberation psychology and she teaches graduate and post-graduate psychotherapy courses on queer and multicultural psychotherapies, sexualities and countertransference, and the psychodynamics of social justice. Her writing has appeared most recently in The Feminist Porn BookQueering Sexual ViolenceThe Remedy: Queer and Trans Voices on Health and Healthcare, and online on and    

Session Title is: “Queer(ing) Attachements: Sex, Death, and Trauma

Conner Habib is an author, sex workers' rights activist, and host of the podcast Against Everyone with Conner Habib. He's appeared in nearly 200 porn scenes, and for 2 years was the Vice President of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee. His writing has appeared in Vice, Salon, CR Fashion Book, MEL, and more. As one of the world's most recognizable voices on pornography and sex & culture, he's spoken at universities and organizations around the world. He's the recipient of multiple awards for writing, teaching, and pornography.

He lives in Los Angeles.

Session Title is: Pornify Your Practice: What Sexual and Mental Health Professionals Can Learn from Porn Performers

Dalychia Saah, MSW, is an educator and the co-founder of Afrosexology. Afrosexology creates educational content and workshops that centers the pleasure and liberation of Black people. Afrosexology’s work covers topics such as masturbation, self love, enhancing communication in relationships, radical twerking, oral sex, body agency and much more. Through Afrosexology, Dalychia has created space for thousands of people of color to reclaim their sexuality. Dalychia believes that systematic forms of oppression can be overthrown by a reclamation of intra- and interpersonal power.

Dalychia is an adjunct instructor at the Brown School of Social Work, where she teaches courses in social theory, social justice, and sexuality.   

Dalychia’s work and words have been featured in HuffPost, Vibe Magazine, Fusion, Playboy, Sex Out Loud with Tristan Taormino, and Sex Gets Real with Dawn Serra.

SessionTitle: Sexual & Social Liberation: Connecting our Pleasure to our Power

Jamila Dawson, LMFT

Jamila M. Dawson, is a kinky, queer, polyamorous sex therapist, activist, and educator. She specializes in counseling around sexuality, relationships, personal and organizational development with a specialty in supporting high-achieving people of color. In particular, her work focuses on helping people in the kink/polyamory/swinger communities enhance their relationships and move beyond sexual challenges via therapy that combines interpersonal neurobiology, sex-positivity, liberation psychology, and the politics of pleasure. She believes deeply in the ethic of embodied social justice to explore the intersections of sexual health, and relational wellness. An educator at heart, Jamila has lectured at USC, Antioch University Los Angeles, collaborated with sex educators such as Tristan Taormino, and she has also worked with Buzzfeed, Playboy, Harper’s BAZAAR and other media outlets.

Session Title: Centering the Edge: Sex Therapy and BDSM

Bethany Stevens , MA, JD

Bethany is a doctoral student in Sociology at Georgia State University (GSU) specializing in sexuality and the life-course infused with critical disability studies and phenomenological analysis. As a passionate lecturer and workshop facilitator, she has given invited talks internationally with a focus on the politics of pleasure and other intersectional sexual health issues of disabled people. One of her passions, developed while working in the Division of Violence Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is working to train peer educators to prevent sexual violence using protective measures, such as teaching sexual health and bystander intervention. Within her years of teaching at Morehouse school of Medicine (MSM), GSU, San Francisco State University, and Widener University, pedagogy is vibrantly engaged to work to manifest the transformative space of learning. 

Session Title: Disability Sexual Justice: Intersectional Approaches to Clinical Practice

We hope to see you in St. Louis!


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