Couple or Marriage Therapy
Sexual Behavior Problems
Impulsive Sexual Behavior
Compulsive Sexual Behavior
Low Sexual Desire
Shame & Self-Esteem
Trauma & PTSD
Dr. Shira Olsen
PhD, LPsy, CST, CCPS, DST
Intimate Betrayal Expert
Dr. Olsen has extensive expertise in treating trauma from intimate betrayal (betrayal trauma) and infidelity, as well as healing sexuality. She has a passion for helping clients work through the devastating pain and difficult repercussions of sexual betrayal, affairs, and other relational breaches of trust. She knows that clients can often feel overwhelmed after discovering intimate betrayal and are often not sure what their next steps should be for themselves or their relationship. It can be exhausting to put on a good face each day and pretend everything is fine, when inside you know you're not okay. Dr. Olsen will guide you on a path forward that supports your healing and helps you reclaim your life. Her approach is trauma-informed and uses evidenced based techniques to encourage healing by addressing the burdensome thoughts, overwhelming feelings, and physical symptoms that naturally follow betrayal. She will show you how to set healthy boundaries, naviagate trauma triggers, honor your emotions (including anger), move through the grieving process, find your inner voice, and learn to trust your gut again. She will help you tame any thoughts of not being good enough or blaming yourself—both common beliefs after relational trauma, yet completely untrue, and make moving beyond the hurt difficult to do. She will help you work through the confusion, mix of emotions, and life disruptions that follow relational trauma. You can begin to believe in your self-worth and value once again and rediscover the most beautiful version of who you are, filled with purpose, joy, and meaning.
Dr. Olsen believes in a reconciliation process where wounds are healed through deeper understanding and empathy. If you are feeling stuck and hopeless that things will never get better, Dr. Olsen can help you see a path forward and will instill hope under the most painful circumstances. Dr. Olsen has extensive clinical and research training in trauma and sexual betrayal. She co-developed the innovative Posttraumatic Growth Model for Intimate Betrayal (PTG-IB), a trauma treatment designed to help clients heal after betrayal trauma. She has received her certification as a Sexual and Relational Trauma therapist (CSRTT) through the Society of Sexual Health (SASH) and is a Certified Clinical Partner Specialist (CCPS) through the Association of Partners of Sex Addicts and Trauma Specialists (APSATS).
As an AASECT Certified Sex Therapist, Dr. Olsen helps individuals and couples facing intimacy and sexual challenges. You may be concerned about your lack of desire for sex and wonder if this is “normal.” Perhaps worrisome thoughts get in the way of a fulfilling sexual experience or shut down your ability to sexually perform. You may be struggling to enjoy sex due to pain and discomfort. Or maybe your relationship is suffering from sexual behaviors that you cannot fully understand. Many of Dr. Olsen’s clients are seeking to reclaim their sexuality after painful life events such as infidelity or betrayal from compulsive sexual behaviors. Regardless of what brings you to therapy, Dr. Olsen can help you get back what was lost or build the sexual life you desire. She offers a safe, insightful, and compassionate space to grow and connect with yourself and your intimate partner in ways that you never imagined were possible.
Dr. Olsen enjoys helping her clients to better understand their sexuality. She operates within your own values while exploring your beliefs and the impact of past life events on your current well-being. She will figure out what got you to this point and help you develop the insight and understanding necessary to make genuine changes. She will help you discover what healthy intimacy and sexuality means to you and help you create a sex life with your partner that is filled with passion and built on trust.
Working with Dr. Olsen
Dr. Olsen is incredibly passionate about her work and believes that each person is worthy and deserving of healing. She takes time with each individual to hear their struggles, understand the emotions and burdens they are carrying, and truly understand their perspective. She tailors care to each clients unique needs and believes a collaborative approach to therapy works best. She would love to hear your story and help you reach your therapeutic goals.
Research & National Level Trainer
Dr. Olsen is actively involved in the field of sexual health and has provided national level training for intimate betrayal treatment to help clinicians better understand the experience and aftermath of intimate betrayal and how to help clients struggling with trauma and sexual concerns. Her published scientific research on trauma, betrayal, and anxiety demonstrates her in depth understanding and enthusiasm for sharing her knowledge and helping others. Dr. Olsen’s research has provided her with a deep level of insight into the struggles individuals face after trauma and effective strategies for change. She is also a contributing author to the book Facilitating Resilience & Recovery Following Trauma, which offers evidenced based insight into healing from trauma. You can learn more about Dr. Olsen’s scientific published research below.
Education & Credentials
Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology (PhD)
Washington State Licensed Clinical Psychologist (LPsy)
AASECT Certified Sex Therapist (CST)
APSATS Certified Clinical Partner Specialist (CCPS)
SASH Certified Sexual and Relational Trauma Therapist (CSRTT)
SASH Certified Problematic Sexual Behavior Therapist (CPSBT)
SASH Certified Sexual Wellness Therapist (CSWT)
SASH Distinguished Sex Therapist (DST)
Washington State Clinical Supervisor
Key Speaking Engagements & Trainings
Why Talking About Sex is Essential for Partner Healing: A Posttraumatic Growth Model Following Intimate Betrayal (PTG-IB; Olsen & Schroder, 2020), Presentation at the Annual Conference of the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health.
Advanced Training For Problematic Sexual Behavior - Understanding and Treating Betrayal Trauma (Level 1 & Level 2) Society For Advancement in Sexual Health (SASH).
Five Reasons Betrayal Hurts So Badly
Scientific Research & Publications
How do negative emotions relate to dysfunctional post-trauma cognitions? An examination of interpersonal trauma survivors. Psychological Trauma Theory Research Practice and Policy.
Exploring negative emotion in women experiencing intimate partner violence: Shame, guilt, and PTSD. Behavior Therapy.
Expressive inhibition following interpersonal trauma: An analysis of reported function. Journal of Anxiety Disorders.
The association of mental health conditions with employment, interpersonal, and subjective functioning after intimate partner violence. Violence Against Women.
How do attachment style and social support contribute to psychopathology following interpersonal trauma? Examining clinician rating versus self-report. Journal of Anxiety Disorders.
Understanding the relationship between Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and trauma cognitions: The impact of thought control strategies. Behaviour Research and Therapy.
The effects of dissociation on information processing for analogue trauma and neutral stimuli: A laboratory study. Journal of Anxiety Disorders.
Factors contributing to anxious driving behavior: The role of stress history and accident severity. Journal of Anxiety Disorders.
The Driving Behavior Survey: Scale construction and validation. Journal of Anxiety Disorders.
Predicting violence in romantic relationships during adolescence and emerging adulthood: A critical review of the mechanisms by which familial and peer influences operate. Clinical Psychology Review.
Physical and psychosocial functioning following motor vehicle trauma: Relationships with chronic pain, posttraumatic stress, and medication use. European Journal of Pain.
If you would like to set up an appointment with Dr. Olsen please reach out today!