Sexual dysfunctions are serious mental health issues that impact an estimated one in three Americans. Due to the complex, relational nature of most sexual dysfunctions, mental health professionals trained to work with couples and their relationship interactions are likely to have better outcomes when treating clients with sexual dysfunction. Data from CIGNA Health Solutions was analyzed to explore differences in therapy outcome for various types of mental health professions when treating clients with sexual dysfunctions. The current research is a retrospective analysis of administrative data that explores whether or not type of profession (i.e. psychologists, Masters of social work, marriage and family therapist, or professional counselor) influences the outcome of mental health treatment. This study also explores whether therapy modality (i.e. individual, conjoint, or mixed mode, a combination of individual and conjoint therapy) influences therapy outcome. Treatment outcome was measured by recidivism rates, client drop out from therapy, the total number of sessions, and cost of treatment. Participants included 230 males and 189 females ages 18 to 101 (M =38.9, SD = 11.4) who received treatment for sexual disorders from 2001 to 2006. Participants were from all regions of the United States. Results indicate that overall, psychotherapeutic treatment for sexual dysfunctions is relatively brief, averaging about seven sessions across all professions. Results suggest that marriage and family therapists treat sexual dysfunctions using a conjoint and mixed mode approach more frequently than therapists with other licenses. Results also suggest that mixed mode therapy has drastically lower dropout rates and longer retention than individual or conjoint therapy. These results suggest that utilizing a combination of relational and individual sessions is beneficial to the treatment of sexual dysfunctions.



College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Family Life; Marriage and Family Therapy



Date Submitted


Document Type





Sexual dysfunction treatment outcomes, mental health license type, therapy modality, conjoint therapy, family therapy, dropout, recidivism, mixed therapy, retrospective analysis, CIGNA, cost, cost effectiveness