A note on the “certification” of sex addiction therapists

If you google “sex addiction therapist” you will find people who claim to be “Certified Sex Addiction Therapists®” or CSATs®. These are people who have obtained a certification from a company called the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP).

IITAP has done a great job of monopolizing the search results. This is unfortunate, because IITAP promotes one treatment model among many, and the term CSAT suggests – intentionally, and incorrectly – that people who don’t have it aren’t “real” sex addiction therapists, because they’re not “certified.” IITAP says on its web site that “CSAT certification, training and continuing education programs offer a cutting-edge advantage for mental health practitioners wanting to grow their practice.”

IITAP is a limited liability company established by Patrick Carnes to house and administer his business. This business provides training in one approach to the treatment of sex addiction, and provides recipients of this training with the option to continue to pay for the right to call themselves “CSATs,” a term which both IITAP and the Meadows, an organization founded by Patrick Carnes, has copyrighted, promoted, and marketed.

In order to call oneself a “CSAT,” one must:

  • complete eighteen days of training, at a cost of approximately $5,000;
  • undergo a minimum of 30 hours of  supervision under an IITAP-certified CSAT supervisor (which certification itself is subject to training costs), at an estimated cost of $4-10,000;
  • obtain fifteen “continuing education units” from IITAP-sponsored events every two years, at a cost of hundreds or even thousands of dollars, paid to IITAP; and
  • maintain a membership in IITAP, at a biennial cost of at least $150.

According to the IITAP web site, “If you leave the IITAP community, you need to remove all references to IITAP/CSAT and anything related to the training.” In other words, what makes one a CSAT isn’t just the training, it is continuing to send money to IITAP in perpetuity.

The sex addiction therapists at the SAT Project collectively have thousands of hours’ experience treating patients suffering from sex addiction, hundreds of hours of supervision with qualified clinicians, and maintain familiarity with current research in all treatment modalities.

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