Skip to main content

Program Description:
Research demonstrates that sexual trauma negatively impacts sexual satisfaction and experience with partners and relationships. Survivors are at risk of being triggered, revictimized, and of having relationships dissolve. But despite therapists aware of this, we may be unlikely to center survivors’ sexual intimacy and pleasure because of professional biases and/or inadequate training. In this workshop, Adrienne Michelle will dispel myths about the root of struggles and direct attention to understandable fears of vulnerability and trust more than any sexual “dysfunction.” The approach she lays out aims to help survivors expand their confidence, self-acceptance, ownership and advocacy for pleasure, as fundament to their healing. Participants will learn ways to support clients in this journey with tools, such as a trauma-informed sexual genogram, and other approaches that will work well for survivors. Throughout, Adrienne emphasizes variation in client experience and the importance not centering a phallocentric notion of cis-gendered heterosexuality as the norm.

Learning Objectives:

At the conclusion of this program, participants will be able to:

  1. Name and apply at least 2 strategies to treat sexuality and pleasure as part of self-acceptance, ownership of personal sexuality, and readiness for desirable sexual partnership.
  2. Describe at least 2 reasons that problems may be a natural response to trauma and how to target these in therapy.
  3. Conduct a trauma-informed sexual genogram with clients in session.


Trainer: Adrienne Michelle, LMFT is an LGBTQ+ Marriage and Family Therapist with a specialization in sex therapy. She is also cofounder and CEO of Intersection, and cofounder of NC Diversity and Inclusion, both in Raleigh/Durham area of NC. She has been an educator for ten years, including at Duke University, UNC Chapel Hill, and UNC Greensboro; and an active advocate for representation in all areas of sex education.    



Bagwell-Gray, M. E. (2019). Women’s healing journey from intimate partner violence: Establishing positive sexuality. Qualitative Health Research, 29(6), 779-795.

Bowling, J., Wright, S., Mesaeh, C., Benson, J. K., & Stambaugh, R. (2022). Ownership, enjoyment, arousal troubles, and robust education: Pleasure in LGBTQ+ alt-sex members’ responses to consent violations. Sexes, 3(3), 434-444.

Buller, A., Epstein, S., & Hosken, N. (2022). What is the problem with sexual intimacy following intimate partner violence in the DSM-5? Violence Against Women, 28(2), 395-416.

Ford, J. V., El Kak, F., Herbenick, D., Purdy, C., Tellone, S., Wasserman, M., & Coleman, E. (2021). Sexual pleasure and healthcare settings: Focusing on pleasure to improve healthcare delivery and utilization. International Journal of Sexual Health, 33(4), 572-586.

Mark, K. P., & Vowels, L. M. (2020). Sexual consent and sexual agency of women in healthy relationships following a history of sexual trauma. Psychology and Sexuality, 11(4), 315-328.

Shultz, J. W. (2020). Supporting transmasculine survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence: Reflections from peer support facilitation. Sociological Inquiry, 90(2), 293-315.


UNC Chapel Hill – Clinical Lecture Series  


Comments are closed.