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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Academics & Research

Human sexuality workshop hopes to break the silence

A human sexuality workshop sponsored by the Graduate College of Social Work will be taught this week at UH by Meryl Cohen, the Vice President of Education at Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast.

Cohen, also a licensed clinical social worker, said the workshop, titled “Sexuality, Values and Ethics in Social Work Pratice” is designed mainly for counselors but students are welcome to come.

“Social workers, as well as students studying to become counselors, will benefit from the program’s honest and open approach to discussing sexuality,” Cohen said. “The workshop will help counselors address the sexuality concerns of clients that are often under-assessed.”

Allison Abdias, president of Alliance at the Graduate College of Social Work, said discussion about sexuality is crucial for healthcare providers since practitioners and clients are uncomfortable with the topic.

“As social workers we see many clients of all ages, gender, races and backgrounds impacted by their sexuality and what society defines as normal,” Abdias said.

Luis R. Torres, an associate professor at the GCSW, said programs like these are needed and encouraged social workers to utilize these opportunities.

“Because of the particularly sensitive and intimate nature of this topic, social workers need to be aware of their own values, beliefs, biases and stereotypes so they can be confident that they are focusing on the client’s issue, not their own,” Torres said.

McClain Sampson, also a professor at the GCSW, said he believes the workshop is “very useful.”

“Sexuality is part of who we are, and to not acknowledge it can result in a less than full understanding of how a person operates in the world,” Sampson said.

According to the description on the GCSW’s continuing education page, the three-hour course will examine sexuality from birth to adulthood, and show attitudes about sexuality from around the world.

“The workshop will be framing a holistic model of sexuality showing the difference between sexual behavior and sexuality, and review client’s diversity of attitudes about sexuality,” Cohen said. “The goal will be to increase counselor comfort in communicating about sexuality.”

The workshop will be held Oct. 3 from 9 a.m. to noon at the GCSW, Rm. 107-B. Fees are $60, and attendees can receive three continuing education credits.

For more information, click here.

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