Sexual Health and Integrative Pleasure (SHIP) Model: Using a clinical case example to guide assessment and treatment

Abby Girard, Nicholas P Newstrom, Jennifer Connor, Katherine Arenella, Jennifer A Vencill, Beatrice “Bean” Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This manuscript presents a conceptual model—the Sexual Health and Integrative Pleasure (SHIP) Model—for the clinical assessment and intervention of sexual health concerns. The model was developed by a group of couple/marital family therapy and psychologists who specialize in the treatment of sexual problems. The model consists of five philosophical foundations (systems framework, intersectionality, biopsychosocial model, lifespan approach, and empiricism) and five core therapeutic components (sexual literacy, sexual adaptation and resilience, relational intimacy, pleasure-oriented positive sexuality, and multidisciplinary care). We define each foundation and component, and compare and contrast the SHIP model with other existing sexual health models. Finally, we demonstrate how the SHIP model was used to provide individual and couple therapy with a cis/heterosexual couple in a university-based sexual health clinic and make recommendations for additional clinical applications of the model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-350
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of marital and family therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.


  • Clinical
  • Couples
  • Diversity
  • Intervention/Technique
  • Populations
  • Practice Development
  • Professional/Practice Issues
  • Theory/Model

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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