Cassie Wolfe, LCSW, MEd., PhD Candidate
Cassie Wolfe is a clinical social worker at an inpatient psychiatric facility where she provides case management and therapy (specializing in human sexuality) for adults, and sex education to our two adolescent units. She is also a guest lecture and facilitates trainings to other healthcare professionals on a variety of sexuality-related issues: adolescent sexuality, working with the LGBTQ population, and transgender healthcare concerns. And as if that weren’t enough, she is also part of a “sex expert” panel for dick-and-jane.com providing sex and relationship advice to members who email questions.
How did you find yourself here? What’s your story?
Like many other young people, I was obsessed with learning and talking about sex. Since I was always open to talking about sex and relationships, I became the “go to” person for my friends. At 16, an opportunity presented itself to become an editorial board member for a nationally published teen written sexuality newsletter, Sex, Etc. Writing about sexual health issues sparked my desire to continue the conversation about sex and healthy sexuality by exploring any and every issue on the sexuality spectrum. I often joked about becoming a “sex therapist” and even dressed up as what I thought one might look like, for Halloween one year! Deep inside I knew I wanted to somehow merge my passion for helping people resolve their problems with my love and curiosity about sexual health; but, I was clueless about how to make it a reality.
My first real job out of college was as a treatment adherence counselor for individuals who were HIV-positive. It wasn’t, however, until my friend, Heather and I were drinking Starbucks and rummaging through books about relationships at Barnes and Nobles that I realized what I wanted and needed to do. Heather said, “I don’t know why you’re not doing this! You’ve always wanted to do sex therapy – do it already!” That night I started googling programs and was eventually accepted into Widener University’s dual degree masters in social work and doctorate in human sexuality program. Since starting the program, I have continued to work with people with HIV/AIDS, mental health, and/or substance abuse issues. I hope to eventually open a private practice and continue working with other healthcare professionals to educate them about sexuality issues that affect the people they treat.
If you could go back, would you do it again or take another path? And what would that look like you think?
I was always fascinated with law and animals; however, there’s not one day I wake up and think “What if.” I wake up every day loving what I do and feel inspired to do more. There was a three year gap between the time I graduated from undergrad and entered grad school; so perhaps if I could’ve changed my journey, I would’ve had it start a bit sooner.
Describe your life in one word.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Watching Judge Judy.
Worst assumptions made about you based on what you do?
Lots! That I must have something psychologically wrong with me to enjoy talking about sex and listening to people talk about their sex lives; that I must have been sexually abused as a child to pursue a career in this field; that I have sex with my clients; that I have sex with my clients and then teach them how to be better; that I somehow know everything about sex; that I must be interested in any and every sexual behavior; or that I watch couples having sex and coach them through every moment. There’s also this assumption that I’m one dimensional and only want to talk about sex 24/7.
Are women as sexually graphic as men in your experience?
I find that when people, both men and women, feel safe, comfortable, and trusting, they are equally as graphic. Sometimes all someone needs is permission to express him/herself free of guilt and judgment, and then poof, the floodgates are opened!
Correct some misconceptions about (your project/career/lifestyle).
Right now there is no title protection for terms like “therapist,” “counselor,” or “educator.” There are some people who have no formal training in human sexuality and are able to offer services and identify themselves as any of those titles. There are people who also identify themselves as “sexual surrogates” or “body workers” and also as “counselors,” who do engage sexually with the people who come to them for help. This creates mass confusion about who does what and why there are many assumptions about whether sex therapists have sex with their clients. Clinical professions such as social workers, psychologists, licensed professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, and psychiatrists are all ethically bound by their respective boards to NOT have sexual relationships with their clients. Doing otherwise is a major ethical violation that would likely result in the loss of one’s license and ability to practice. In most states, it is still illegal to pay for sex or sexual acts like prostate massages or masturbation. If people are ever confused about what services someone is offering, a good starting place is to look up the credentials after their name.
Contact Cassie at any of her social media links: