The Sex Therapy Program at ICP commits to being a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and anti-racist program where sex therapy training and practice is made as accessible as possible.
Educational, therapeutic, and ethical goals of psychotherapy teaches that everyone has the capacity to learn, grow, and heal, and that our own growth and liberation is bound up with that of all others. Thus, the Sex Therapy Program at ICP must be universally accessible and supportive for the good of everyone’s health and development. We want everyone who comes to STP to feel that they are welcomed, included, safe, treated equitably, and have full access to training and therapy opportunities—regardless of factors such as race/ethnicity, country of origin, income level, class background, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, age, and disability status. In order to do so, we foster diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
STP’s long-term vision for DEI is:
To embody diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout STP’s teaching, practice, organizational culture & structure, leadership, policies, and operations in accordance and collaboration with ICP’s policies as a manifestation of our vow to serve all people.
Definitions of D – E – I
Diversity is the representation of all our varied identities and differences (race, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, national origin, tribe, caste, socio-economic status, thinking and communication styles, etc.), collectively and as individuals.
Equity seeks to ensure fair treatment, equality of opportunity, and fairness in access to information and resources for all.
Inclusion builds a culture of belonging by actively inviting the contribution and participation of all people.
These are some of the specific ways we are manifesting D-E-I in STP
Diversity: Acknowledging and valuing differences among a group of people. STP is committed to increasing and supporting diversity within both ICP and the wider mental health community. This includes: differences of race, ethnicity, language, nationality, cultural and religious background, socioeconomic status, education, age, gender, gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, mental or physical ability, marital status, relationship form, parental status, opinions, and other social and economic differences.
Equity: Treating people fairly. This means making access to sex therapy training opportunities as broad and unbiased as possible. Sex therapy training opportunities include offerings open to ICP community members as well as non-members. These opportunities also include recruitment and selection into STP leadership, faculty, and staff, as well as recruitment, placement, promotion, and retention in work practice and leadership positions.
Equity does not necessarily mean treating everyone the same. Certain groups of people have been historically under-served and under-represented in terms of their access to many types of opportunities within the US, including sex therapy training opportunities. Thus, in order to foster greater equity, STP’s policies and practices in accordance with ICP’s policies must identify and remove barriers to the full participation of some groups.
Inclusion: Ensuring that individuals across different backgrounds feel safe enough to participate fully, by being welcomed, respected, valued, seen, and heard. Strengthening inclusion involves sharing power with individuals and/or groups who have not previously been fully included in processes, activities, and decision/policy making. It also involves examining the social and cultural practices, norms, and environment of STP and ICP and intentionally modifying them to make them more inclusive.
Members of the DEI Committee
Due to our full commitment to DEI, all members of the STP faculty will serve as committee members.
DEI Liaisons to the STP Community
Two faculty members per year will serve as DEI liaisons to create a safe confidential mechanism to report experiences with micro-aggressions, macro-aggressions, insensitivity, exclusion, and inequality within STP programs and offerings. The liaisons, with full knowledge of the reporter will decide how to process, make amends, learn from, and correct the situation with the aim of fostering community safety and transparency. If the situation cannot be resolved within STP the reporter has the option of taking their concern to ICP’s Ethics and Review Committee.
Strategic objectives that STP has been focusing on
STP is offering culturally-informed educational and training opportunities for ICP members and the wider mental health community through classes, study groups, materials, workshops, and public programs.
We are inviting more BIPOC speakers for our classes and community-wide events. We are developing those relationships with the hope that more BIPOC sexuality professionals will join our faculty.
All STP faculty and outside speakers will incorporate a cultural lens into their offerings.
We have instituted the Joycelyn Elders Honorary Scholarship, which offers free tuition for BIPOC professionals to complete our Sex Therapy Certificate Program. So far, we have accepted one candidate per year. We are open to increasing that number.
ICP, inclusive of STP, will institute a BIPOC graduate student internship program to educate graduate students about sex therapy with the goal of encouraging them to pursue sex therapy training and practice. ICP will collaborate with STP to reach out to NYC area masters and doctoral programs to create connections with their faculty and students.
White-identified members of STP are learning how to recognize and practice skillfully considering their racial conditioning, with a goal of practicing anti-racism on a personal, programmatic, and institutional level. Toward this goal every STP faculty meeting includes allotted time to discuss assigned readings about culture and race to sensitize and educate ourselves and by extension our students and colleagues.
It is our goal to create a culture that reflects a collectivist vs. individualist environment and as such, STP will equally value all voices in our community. We challenge the myth that an individual’s contribution is based solely on their own effort rather than being impacted by many people and many factors, and we will always strive to see the community’s needs as primary rather than any one person’s goals and ambitions.
Affinity groups help support inclusion by creating dedicated spaces for those with a common identity to meet and support one another in their STP/ICP experience. We are committed to growing and nurturing our Elders Scholars as a potential affinity support group going forward.
In order to create effective strategies to reduce barriers to inclusion, we need to better understand the barriers that currently exist. We will re-examine input we have already received regarding STP’s culture, policies, and practice with an eye to where we can have the most immediate impact. We will also seek additional input from current and past students, with an emphasis on feedback from students who identify with a marginalized group such as BIPOC.
The STP faculty is also taking immediate steps to overcome barriers to inclusion, and will continue to make recommendations going forward as additional barriers which need to be addressed become apparent. Some additional steps include:
One example is more flexible faculty arrangements that balance NYS requirements and utilizing a larger pool of BIPOC professional participation nationally.
Another example is that we are inviting Elders Scholars to co-teach a class with senior faculty.
The STP faculty is putting in place policies, procedures, and organizational structures to support ongoing DEI work. We will quantify goals when possible and review progress annually in June of each year. We will report results to the STP community along with plans to address issues that hinder our goals.
We are communicating about our DEI work and improving pathways for ongoing feedback to our faculty, through our DEI liaison positions and confidential online surveys incorporated into our class/offering evaluations.
We are communicating requirements for cultural humility, awareness of and commitment to DEI for all STP faculty, staff, and leadership positions.
We will assess how STP students are understanding and utilizing cultural awareness and racially sensitive practices to determine the effectiveness of our course offerings.
We are setting a goal of 25% BIPOC faculty by the 2022-23 academic year.
Vision for STP
Our effort here is to practice what trauma psychologist Dr. Jennifer Freyd coined Institutional Courage. It is defined below:
An institution’s commitment to seek truth and engage in moral action, despite unpleasantness, risk, and short-term cost. It is a pledge to protect and care for those who depend on the institution. It is a compass oriented to the common good of individuals, institutions, and the world. It is a force that transforms institutions into more accountable, equitable, healthy places for everyone.
DEI definitions were inspired by and adapted language from The Ford Foundation. Vision statement was inspired by the work of trauma psychologist, Dr. Jennifer Freyd, founder of The Center for Institutional Courage.