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Counsel House therapist adds new specialty

There are only five sex therapists in Indiana, and one of them practices in Corydon.
Lara West, a licensed neutral health counselor who practices at Counsel House, recently earned her certification as a sex therapist. Training involved 150 hours of educational instruction and 50 hours of supervision during client contact.
West stressed that a sex therapist is different from a sex surrogate. There’s no touching, and clients keep their clothes on, she said.
Clients include heterosexuals, gays, lesbians, transgenders and teenagers.
‘We all have a need to love and be loved,’ West said.
Discussions might center around medical conditions, spirituality, religion, social norms, reproduction, effects of sexual situations on children, a person’s thoughts, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder. And she can see individuals or couples ‘ counseling couples is more helpful, she said ‘ as well as an entire family.
‘A lot of it is education, what’s normal for their bodies, and medical conditions can affect bodies,’ West said. ‘If sex is bad, it leads to overall unhappiness.’
She also can help women get to know their bodies better and she can counsel teenagers about sexually transmitted diseases, birth control and safe-sex practices.
Often, people are hesitant to seek help because they believe they should be able to handle problems or conflict on their own.
‘Therapy is helpful because it allows people to talk to someone who’s objective,’ West said.
Counseling is done without judgment.
‘I don’t gang up on men,’ West added. ‘I work really hard to see both sides. Both sides are right.’
Also, sex therapists also don’t preach their own ideas to clients.
In her line of work, West also counsels victims of sexual abuse, both adults and children.
Referrals are not necessary, and, in many instances, insurance covers at least a portion of the cost of the sessions.
‘People ‘google’ sex therapist’; that’s how they find me,’ West said.
Sessions last 45 to 50 minutes. West is available Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; evening and weekend appointments can be arranged.
West said she ‘loves’ to give homework and recommends books and movies that might stimulate experimentation.
‘I really try to make people comfortable,’ she said, and she emphasizes that everyone faces issues, it’s part of being normal.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 738-3277.

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