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Approach to Sex Therapy

What is the PLISSIT Model?

The PLISSIT Model is based on the notion that the majority of individuals can resolve their sexuality-based problems and concerns by addressing the first three steps of the four-step model. PLISSIT is an acronym for levels of intervention which include:

  • Permission (P)

  • Limited Information (LI)

  • Specific Suggestions (SS)

  • Intensive Therapy (IT)


The model is structured in such a way that it requires a greater knowledge and training base as one moves downwards throughout the levels. The first three interventions are often considered to be brief therapy or psycho-education, whereas the last step (IT) requires more specific therapeutic training – such as a Masters of Arts in Counselling Psychology (MA) or a Doctorate in Psychology (PsyD, PhD) etc.

Westland Academy is NOT training professionals in any way to provide intensive therapy (IT) to clients.

Intensive Therapy (IT) for sex-based concerns can be complex and in-depth therapeutic work that would require a referral to a qualified and specialized Sex Therapist (trained and certified Counsellor, Psychotherapist, Psychologist etc). This work often intersects with sexual trauma and abuse, addictions, family-of-origin issues, attachment styles, and cultural and religious expression, among many others. As always, ethics requires that we practice within our competencies and although our programs reference these considerations, they do not train on how to address them. Nor does taking these programs qualify you as a “Sex Therapist.”

Overall, Westland Academy’s programs address the PLISS aspects of this model to provide professionals with both psycho-educational and behavioural strategies to tackle sexuality-based concerns. 

A visual hierarchy of the various levels of the PLISSIT Model, showing the separation between brief and intensive therapy.

PLISSIT Model for Sex Therapy by Jack Annon
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