Shannon Oliver-O'Neil, LCSW (Therapist & Director of Intern Program)
Shannon Oliver-O’Neil, MSW, LCSW, AASECT Certified Sex Therapist
Specializes in: Sex therapy, trauma therapy, pre-marital counseling, phone therapy.
Shannon (she/her) is a therapist and the Director of the Internship Program at the Center for Growth. She supervises interns on a variety of cases including mood disorders, sex therapy, grief, anxiety and couples therapy. She enjoys helping interns to discover their clinical style and understand how their identities and lived experiences shape their therapeutic approach.
In her own clinical work, Shannon draws from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Narrative Therapy, and somatic and mindful practices. Shannon works with clients to set their own goals for treatment that are aligned with their values. She knows that for clients to grow, it’s important not only to feel safe taking risks in session, but also to ensure therapy is working towards the client’s vision for their health and future.
Shannon enjoys working with clients at the intersection of mind and body. As an AASECT-Certified Sex Therapist, she works with clients on sexual function issues. Shannon is a sex therapist because she knows everyone deserves a loving relationship with their own body, and access to safe, consensual and pleasurable sex.
Prior to her career in therapy, she worked as a sexual health educator and artist in the Chicago-land area. You can see her book on arts-based sexual health curriculum here: The Sex Ed Playbook. She received her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Michigan, and her Bachelor’s Degree from Northwestern University.
Shannon is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and AASECT Certified Sex Therapist. Currently Shannon offers inperson therapy sessions at the art museum therapy office and telephone sessions for clients living in PA and NJ.
Shannon sees clients in all of the following clinical areas:
- Anger management therapy
- Anxiety therapy
- Attachment issues therapy
- Bipolar Disorder therapy
- Couples’ sex therapy
- Depression therapy
- Desire discrepancy therapy
- Eating disorders therapy
- Gender identity therapy
- Grief therapy
- Individual sex therapy
- Infertility/fertility therapy
- Infidelity/Cheating therapy
- Life transitions therapy
- Low self-esteem therapy
- OCD therapy
- Panic Disorders therapy
- Poly/open relationships therapy
- Pre-marital counseling therapy
- Sexual function issues caused by aging
- Sexual function issues caused by illness or injury
- Sexual orientation counseling
- Trauma therapy
In particular, she specializes in:
- Anorgasmia/difficulty with orgasm therapy
- Dysphoria during sex therapy
- Erectile dysfunction therapy
- Low desire therapy
- Painful sex/penetration therapy
- Premature ejaculation therapy
- Trauma therapy
Learn more about her approach to these specializations below:
Treating Anorgasmia at the Center for Growth
Anorgasmia is the inability to experience orgasm. Whether you’re experiencing difficulty with orgasm for the first time, or this is something you’ve struggled with throughout your life, Shannon will work with you to improve your connection to your body and sexual self. Through a combination of talk therapy and take-home exercises, you’ll learn how to attune to your body, and explore root causes of disconnection in order to experience sexual pleasure.
Treating Dysphoria During Sex at the Center for Growth
Dysphoria, or extreme dissatisfaction with one’s body, can impact lots of different areas of your life, including sex. Dysphoria can happen during sex for lots of different reasons, but the results are often debilitating. Whether you struggle to connect with your body due to sexual trauma, fatphobia, or your relationship to gender, dysphoria can create feelings of numbness, dissociation and panic during sex. In individual sex therapy, Shannon will work with you through a trauma-informed lens to help you make peace with your body, and feel safe in it during sex and other areas of your life.
Treating Erectile Dysfunction at the Center for Growth
Individual sex therapy can be an effective treatment for erectile dysfunction. Here, you’ll explore common conditions for both difficult and “easy” erections. Often we find that clients who struggle with consistent erections also struggle with being present and tuned into their bodies during sexual encounters. In individual sex therapy, you’ll work with Shannon to develop mindfulness skills that allow you to stay present for longer, as well as somatic skills that allow you to tune into your body.
Treating Low Desire at The Center for Growth
While low desire in and of itself is not a problem, it can be painful if you want to want sex, or are with a partner who wants to have sex more often. Whether low desire is something you’ve felt your entire life, or something newer, Shannon will work with you to explore your motivations for changing your relationship to desire. In individual sex therapy, you’ll use a combination of talk therapy and take-home exercises to develop skills to connect with your sexual self in a meaningful way.
Treating Painful Sex/Penetration at the Center for Growth
Painful vaginal penetration can occur for a variety of reasons both physiological and emotional. Whether you are experiencing painful penetration for the first time, or as a lifelong struggle, Shannon will support you in finding ways to connect to pleasure in a meaningful way. In many cases, you may find that you are even able to enjoy penetrative sex after completing individual sex therapy!
Treating Premature Ejaculation at the Center for Growth
Individual sex therapy can be an effective treatment for premature ejaculation. Premature ejaculation can feel like losing control of your body, and your sexual experience. In individual sex therapy, Shannon will help you to understand the emotional and sensation patterns you are experiencing. Through mindfulness and somatic exercises as well as talk therapy, she’ll help you to slow down, and reconnect to your body and to your sexual partner(s).
Trauma Therapy at the Center for Growth
Traumatic experiences can impact how we see the world and ourselves, making it difficult to trust either. Whether clients have experienced “Big T” stand-alone traumatic events, or “little t” chronic trauma exposure over a prolonged period of time, it’s important to take space and time to rebuild feelings of safety, agency and hope.
Trauma can often cause us to disconnect from the body in order to lessen the impact of what we’re experiencing. While this strategy may keep us safe in the moment, it can make it difficult to thrive in the long run. Shannon works with clients to create safety by reconnecting the body and mind through mindfulness practice and somatic exercises. She understands that meditation is often difficult for people experiencing intrusive thoughts or “flashback” symptoms, and creates a safe scaffold for people to re-enter their bodies slowly over time.
Shannon blends narrative therapy and ACT modalities to help clients process traumatic experiences and free them from harmful and ingrained coping strategies such as: avoidance, black and white thinking, hypervigilance, hopelessness, anger, impulsivity, etc.
Individual Sex Therapy at the Center for Growth
Sex can be an important part of how we relate to ourselves and others. It’s also a large part of our culture, so when we aren’t able to engage in sex the way that we want to, it can feel like a failure on more than just a personal scale, even if that is not actually the case. Similar to our relationship with food, it sits at the intersection of mind and body. The ability to fully enjoy sex relies on being able to be present and attuned to our body while also being able to accept and understand our emotions: a block with one will lead to a block with the other.
Often the emotional patterns that help or harm us in other areas of our life (difficulty with vulnerability, willingness to take risks, etc) are present in our sexual selves. If you are experiencing difficulty with sex, it’s likely that there’s an underlying issue present in other areas of your life too. In your initial sex therapy intake, Shannon will ask questions in order to assess not just your current sexual issues, but their emotional impact, and any connections you can make to similar patterns in work, relationships, family, eating and more.
In individual sex therapy, clients get an opportunity to explore themselves within the realm of sexuality. Shannon works with individuals to deepen their connection to their sexual selves, increase their ability to attune to physical sensations and emotions. This is accomplished using a blend of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Narrative Therapy and somatic or mindfulness frameworks.
Common sexual issues addressed in individual sex therapy can be: anorgasmia/difficulty with orgasm, dysphoria during sex, erectile dysfunction, low desire, painful sex/penetration and premature ejaculation.
If you’d like to set up an appointment inperson at the Art Museum Therapy Office with Shannon, you can call her at 267-428-2610, or self schedule online. Currently all sessions are provided via phone. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about our internship program, or questions about therapy, sex therapy, supervision or what it’s like to work with Shannon!
Shannon Oliver-O'Neil, LCSW (Therapist & Director of Intern Program)'s Resume
- Pennsylvania: CW020155
- New Jersey: 44sc05987000
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