• findSisterhood

Shannon Chavez

Licensed Clinical Psychologist and AASECT Certified Sex Therapist and founder of SHAPE Center | Sexual Health and Pleasure Enhancement


Tell us about your career and how it all started?

I have always been fascinated by sex but never would have imagined it would be my career to help people dealing with sexual concerns. I originally wanted to go to medical school and was well on my way before having a change of heart. I worked as an assistant for a sex counselor when I was in college. I got to see how she ran a practice and confided in her that my heart was leading me towards a career in psychology. She encouraged me to pursue my passion and I never looked back. When I entered graduate school for psychology, I was surprised to find that there were very few people that wanted to deal with sexual health. I clearly remember a presentation by a sex therapist who asked the group of over 75 psychologists in training “Who wants to work with sex?” and being the only one to raise my hand. I knew this was definitely my path. I took every course and training I could find on sexuality and specialized and certified in every area of sexual health and treatment. I worked in several clinics and treatment centers focusing on sexual health for men, women, and couples before starting my private practice, SHAPE Center, where I offer services for individuals and couples dealing with sexual issues.

What does sisterhood mean to you?

Sisterhood is life changing and powerful because it taps into the deepest areas of our psyche that yearns for connection, community, and bonding with other women. It connects us all on a level of love, support, and validation for other women. It can heal our wounds from the past and bring us into a place of growth and empowerment. Sisterhood brings women into their power and encourages, motivates, and holds women up. It creates a community where we can all share the unique experiences we have as women.

What's your personal mantra?

Anything is possible if you believe in yourself.

What is your superpower?

I have a very strong intuition and empathy that feels like a sixth sense. It definitely helps me in my work but can sometimes make me susceptible to being sensitive to the pain I see in the world. I have to use this skill wisely and know when to take care of myself.

Tell us about women that inspired you and your female role models:

The pioneers in the field of sexual health have been inspiring role models for me. Betty Dodson, the Godmother of Masturbation, taught me to take control of my pleasure and body and give yourself permission to explore your sexuality at any age. Gina Ogden, my sex therapy mentor, showed me the path to integrating sexuality and spirituality and how to work with sexuality using a mind/body/heart/spirit model. These women helped me develop my niche and mission for my practice and encouraged me to be a therapist and an educator in sexuality.

I am also inspired by all the incredible women out there advocating for women’s health rights and being a voice for all of us to address the problems we have in our society when it comes to healthcare for women.

What would be your advice for women who are building careers in your industry? Build relationships with different professionals, network as much as you can, and find your niche. Find a balance between clinical work and business development and believe that you can do it all.

One piece of advice for your 18 year old self?

Remember to have fun and enjoy yourself even though you are working hard. Focus on the present and let go of the outcome. Everything has a purpose and your path will be unique.

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