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Cybersex: The Impact of a Contemporary Problem on the Practices of Marriage and Family Therapists


Peter D. Goldberg, LMFT, Clinical Private Practice (Reston VA), Virginia, Clinician Loudoun County VA CSB; Brennan D. Peterson, PhD, Marriage and Family Therapy Program, Department of Psychology, Chapman University, Orange, California; Karen H. Rosen, Ed.D, Associate Professor Emerita, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Northern Virginia Center; Mary Linda Sara, PhD, Clinical Private Practice, McLean, Virginia.

Address correspondence to Peter D. Goldberg, 1606 Woodstock Lane, Reston, Virginia 20194; E-mail:


The number of people accessing the Internet for sexual purposes (cybersex) has increased dramatically over the last 10 years. However, little research has been conducted to determine how frequently clients present for treatment with cybersex-related issues. One hundred sixty-four clinical members of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy participated in the current study, which was conducted to identify the impacts of cybersex on MFTs’ practices. Most respondents report seeing clients with cybersex-related issues, with client numbers increasing over the past 2 years. Although most respondents felt prepared to diagnose and treat adults with cybersex problems, half felt unprepared to diagnose and treat children. Lastly, most respondents reported that their required college courses were not helpful in preparing them to diagnose and treat cybersex-related problems. The implications of study findings are discussed.