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What is a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist or CSAT (& How Can They Help)?

Kathy Kinghorn

December 19, 2022


  • Sex addiction affects about 6-8% of the American population and is classified as a mental health disorder by WHO.
  • Certified Sex Addiction Therapists (CSATs) undergo supplemental training to better treat those experiencing sex addiction.
  • To gain certification as a CSAT, professionals must be fully licensed, have a masters degree or higher, and have been clinically practicing for at least five years.
  • CSAT therapists can help by healing intimacy issues, treating couples, ruling out alternative diagnoses, and have access to exclusive behavioral assessments, as well as the IITAP network.
  • Our fully trained CSAT therapists at Therapy Utah have years of clinical experience treating sex addiction.

Sometimes, addiction can be a hard topic to talk about—especially if you or a loved one are experiencing it. In particular, sex addiction affects approximately 6-8% of the American population and is classified as a mental health disorder by the World Health Organization. 

Although there is no easy fix for sex addiction, there are many ways it can be controlled and maintained—this can include talk therapy, group therapy, and/or medication. But what type of therapist assists those experiencing sex addiction? These individuals are referred to as CSAT therapists. Keep reading to learn more about how therapists earn this qualification and why we use CSAT therapists for patients who need sex addiction therapy at Therapy Utah.

See also:

What Does CSAT Mean?

This may be the first time you’re hearing about CSAT, so let’s identify what it is. Certified Sex Addiction Therapists (CSAT) are professionals who have taken supplementary training to treat individuals experiencing compulsive sexual behaviours, or sex addiction.

CSATs are highly-trained and knowledgeable in treating trauma and the underlying causes that may lead to sex addiction. CSATs have obtained the training to identify the roots, experiences, and patterns that have developed into sex addiction—and know the right course of treatment for each individual client.

How Does Someone Obtain Certification to Be a CSAT?

To earn recognition as a CSAT, professionals must possess current credentials and undergo training that prepares them for the complexities of treating sex addiction. Before taking the CSAT four module training through the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP), a professional must:

  • Be fully licensed through the respective state board as a social worker, counselor, therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist
  • Have completed a Master’s, or higher, degree from an accredited institution
  • Possess a minimum of five years of clinical counseling experience
Man working on laptop

Via Adobe Stock.

The Process of Becoming Certified

After an application to gain CSAT has been approved, the first of four training modules begin. Those in the CSAT program must undergo 30 hours of supervision with an approved CSAT supervisor to be eligible for completion. Once the training and supervised hours have been completed, a final application for certification must be sent for approval. If the application is approved, only then can one be classified as a CSAT.

In addition to renewing this certification every two years, the professional must complete 15 IITAP Continuing Education hours over the two-year period. This ensures that professionals remain competent in this area of treatment.

How CSATs Can Help Patients Struggling with Sex Addiction

Now that we’ve determined what CSATs are and how they obtain certification, let’s examine how their additional training can help those experiencing sex addiction.

Addressing Things Other Therapists May Miss

Although other therapists can assist with sexual compulsive behaviors, diagnoses can sometimes vary and may stray from the root of the problem. A CSAT is able to dig deeper in their approach to diagnosing and treating clients due to their supplemental training.

Healing Intimacy Issues

Sex addiction is considered an intimacy disorder in CSAT training, which looks to identify the underlying issues that lead to symptoms impacting intimacy. Due to their training, CSATs can help in identifying these root causes for their clients, resulting in strategies that provide deeper long-term support.

Couple holding hands sitting on couch while therapist takes notes

Via Adobe Stock.

Treating Couples

Sex addiction or sexual compulsive behaviors affect not only themselves, but the relationships of those close to them. Some couples seek therapy from CSATs to help resolve sexual difficulties, sex addiction, and intimacy issues. CSATs have specialty training in this area that often helps to improve an affected couples’ intimate relationship.

Rule Out Alternative Diagnoses

CSAT training can help therapists with this certification rule out alternative diagnoses that could be influencing their patient’s sexual behaviors. CSATs are therapists first, and specialists in sex addiction second—meaning that they will perform clinical tests to obtain a full picture of their client and not just their sexual compulsions. By doing so, CSATs can better aid their clients in healing.

Exclusive Behavioral Assessments

CSATs are granted exclusive behavioral assessments that assist them in proficiently identifying behaviors and patterns that may have led to certain sexual compulsions. CSAT training allows them to exclusively use the Sexual Dependency Inventory and the Sexual Addiction Screening Test (SAST) to better assess their clients.

Access to the IITAP Nationwide Network of CSATs

Upon completed training, CSATs are given access to the IITAP network, which provides top-quality resources for professionals. Having these resources supports and prepares the CSAT for treating individuals grappling with sex addiction.

Therapist listening to client while sitting

Via Adobe Stock.

Learn More About Our CSAT Therapists

CSATs are essential in helping individuals heal from sex addiction. Our therapists at Therapy Utah have years of clinical experience working with clients enduring this difficult challenge. Additionally, we have highly trained CSAT therapists on our team who specialize in treating patients affected by sex addiction. If you or someone you know is struggling with sex addiction, contact us to get the healing journey started.

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