Amanda Martinez, Intern Therapist

Amanda Martinez, Intern Sex Therapist

2401 Pennsylvania Ave, Suite 1a2, Philadelphia PA 19130

Sex Therapy Website Bio:  

Amanda Martinez (she/her/hers) is an intern sex therapist at The Center for Growth from January 16th, 2024, to May 2025. Amanda attends Temple University and is pursuing her Master of Social. As an intern sex therapist, Amanda looks forward to helping clients expand awareness of self and relationships by cultivating an exploratory environment where clients can question and embrace aspects of their sexual identity and expression. She believes real growth can occur in a collaborative space where the client is both supported and challenged, and that this growth can help facilitate healing from painful experiences that can cause trauma, anxiety, or depression surrounding sexual relationships. Amanda holds special interest in helping those coming into therapy with the hopes of exploring interracial relationships, emotional and sexual intimacy after childbirth, and sexual self-esteem. 

Early Life and Background:  

Amanda was born in South Jersey and lived in the area until her adolescence. She spent her teenage years traveling between the countryside of Puerto Rico and the suburbs of Atlantic County. Amanda’s dual experiences helped cultivate her love for nature and culture, while simultaneously informing her interest in social justice. Affected by her own experience as a second-generation Puerto Rican American, Amanda was drawn to further investigate the way intersectionality, identity, and systemic oppression shape the world. Amanda is deeply inspired by the wisdom of her late Grandmother, who believed deeply in compassion for all living things, and hopes to continue in her legacy by helping others shine their light. 

Amanda currently resides in Philadelphia with her toddler, partner, dog, and cat. When she is not working, she enjoys walking through the woods, going to the thrift store, and listening to music. 

Education and Professional Development:  

Amanda graduated with honors from The Community College of Philadelphia, where she received an associate degree in the Liberal Arts Social/Behavioral Science program. Amanda went on to complete undergrad at Temple University in Philadelphia, where she majored in Liberal Studies with a focus on sociological courses that explored race, gender, and culture. Amanda’s desire to help others led her to pursue her Master of Social Work, where she studies and researches the interplay between social justice, social inequality, and mental health with a focus on trauma informed therapy. 

While attending school, Amanda simultaneously worked as a child caretaker, specializing in care for infants to children aged ten. She has been caring for children in this position for over ten years. She believes in the importance of strong attachments during childhood to help cultivate healthy relationships later in life. Additionally, Amanda has interned as a flower farmer, where she grew and harvested flowers for special events, and has also worked as a florist under a revered florist at a local shop. She understands this time as essential towards her journey as a social worker and mental health professional, as she believes the psychological and affective benefits of working with the Earth can help promote a deep understanding of one’s place in the world. 

Therapeutic and Theoretical Approaches  

Trauma Informed Therapy   

Amanda believes that trauma informed therapeutical approach is essential in sex therapy. This approach helps prioritize the lived experiences and stories of those who have experienced difficult experiences such as sexual trauma and abuse. In sex therapy, Amanda employs this trauma informed approach to recognize and respect the cultural backgrounds, beliefs, and experiences of marginalized populations, and how it affects their sexual expression, from intimacy to bodily awareness. A trauma informed approach helps clients to reclaim their power cognitively, bodily, and emotionally by addressing aspects of their healing such as bodily control, negative attributions of sexual feelings, and intrusive unwanted memories relating to past negative sexual experiences. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy 

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be highly beneficial in the context of sex therapy. CBT focuses on identifying and changing patterns of thought and behavior that contribute to various issues, including those related to sexuality and sexual dysfunction. In sex therapy, CBT might address negative thought patterns, anxieties, or beliefs that impact sexual functioning or satisfaction. During a session with Amanda, cognitive behavioral therapy is used to reframe unwanted negative thoughts and feelings surrounding sex, such as shame or guilt. If a client is identifying their experience with sexual performance as a source of anxiety, for example, a CBT approach can help challenge irrational thoughts adding to their anxiety. By addressing cognitive and behavioral aspects using CBT, Amanda aims to empower clients with the tools they need to enhance sexual well-being by fostering positive thoughts, coping mechanisms, and healthier attitudes toward sexuality. 

 Critical Race Theory 

Critical race theory (CRT) is a transdisciplinary theory that, when used during sex therapy, can help to better understand the ways in which race affects sexual relationships in the context of challenging social hierarchies and other race equity approaches relating to sexual health. Using the tenets of critical race theory when working with marginalized populations in sex therapy can help inform the way Black and Brown bodies move the way they do, which simultaneously helps to understand the structural oppressive systems that may limit ways in which they express themselves.   

Queer theory 

By using queer theory to challenge traditional gender norms, sexuality, and identity, Amanda helps clients explore how social constructs influence our understanding of what is “good or bad” in sex. Employing queer theory during sex therapy can involve addressing societal norms and dismantling stereotypes with the hope of breaking down hierarchical power dynamics associated with sex. Queer theory can help dismantle normative assumptions by adopting an inclusive approach that recognizes diverse identities and experiences. Fostering a supportive and understanding environment for clients with non-normative sexualities and gender expressions helps clients feel validated and accepted. Amanda believes all individuals, regardless of the implications put onto them by society, and regardless of their orientation or identity, deserve an elevated level of sexual health and experience. As the concept of queerness aims to include a variety of ideas, Amanda uses queer theory to explore the difficult to categorize aspects of sexual identity ranging from attraction to gender. 

Feminist theory 

Intersections of gender, power, and sexuality in the context of sex therapy, when observed through a feminist lens, helps critique and challenge societal norms and power imbalances that affect sexual experiences. In sex therapy, a feminist approach acknowledges and challenges traditional gender roles by underscoring equality in relationships. Addressing issues such as sexual consent, agency, and pleasure emphasizes empowerment for not just women and non-binary identifying folks, but all people. During sex therapy, Amanda helps individuals to arm themselves with the knowledge necessary to make informed choices about their sexuality and relationships regardless of their gender. Incorporating feminist theory into sex therapy creates an egalitarian space for clients, recognizing the impact of social and cultural factors on their sexual well-being. 

Conflict Theory 

Amanda uses conflict theory to examine how societal power structures and the inequalities within them contribute to conflicts in intimate relationships. Using conflict theory during sex therapy helps emphasize the impact of socioeconomic and political factors on sexual dynamics. In sex therapy, conflict theory might explore issues related to power imbalances, gender roles, and societal expectations that affect sexual relationships. More specifically, Amanda uses conflict theory to explore how unequal power dynamics can lead to sexual dysfunction or dissatisfaction within a relationship. Addressing these issues in sex therapy helps challenge societal norms that contribute to these unfair power dynamics by fostering mutual respect and open communication. 

Interracial Relationships 

Amanda has a thorough understanding of the power dynamics that can be found in interracial relationships. Explicit and implicit biases and stereotypes found projected onto these relationships can cause clients to feel a myriad of complex feelings and emotions which may be difficult to discern without knowing how and why they are occurring. By using different lenses and theoretical perspectives, Amanda helps guide clients who are facing challenges that pertain to their cultural, racial, and/or ethnic differences, and how observable differences (such as skin tone and body features) can influence an intimate partnership. She believes access to an interracially competent sex therapist can help promote cultural and racial sensitivity, resiliency, hope, and dedication. For the individual in such relationship, Amanda focuses on identity exploration and uses sex therapy to facilitate discussions involving self-discovery. She believes helping clients to better understand their contribution to an interracial relationship can help attain a more holistic understanding of an interracial couple’s interpersonal and sexual dynamic. 

Emotional and Sexual Intimacy After Childbirth 

With the birth of a child often comes a multitude of emotional and physical changes that can highlight vulnerability for new parents and caretakers. Coupled with the hormonal, social, and physical challenges presented post childbirth, sexual and intimate relationships may prove challenging for those adjusting to parenthood. For those seeking therapy to develop or help enhance emotional and sexual intimacy after the birth of a child, Amanda uses a mindfulness-based approach to help clients explore intimate partner relationships and their role within it. She believes a mindfulness-based approach can help to affirm and reaffirm emotional and sexual connection between partners, as well as learn new ways of developing intimacy post child birth. 

Sexual Self Esteem 

Sexual self-confidence not only affects one’s physical relationships but shapes the way in which we look at ourselves, our partners, and our relationships. Sex therapy is an excellent way to help build that confidence by addressing issues surrounding sexual performance, body image, and overall mental health. Amanda understands that sexual self-esteem can prove challenging when a client is experiencing resurfacing trauma, oppressive familial or partner relationships, or cultural taboos. Amanda believes that the strengthening of sexual esteem can help clients to regain their power, allowing them to write their own sexual narrative from a place of understanding and acceptance.