Sabitha Pillai-Friedman

Sabitha Pillai-Friedman, PhD, LCSW, CST

  • Associate Professor
Media Expertise:
  • Gender & Sexuality
  • Psychology & Mental Health

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Affiliated Programs


  • PhD, Social Work (1998)
    Bryn Mawr College (PA)

About Me

I received my PhD in social work from Bryn Mawr College. I also received certifications in couples and sex therapy from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. I am an AASECT certified sex therapist and an approved supervisor. I have been practicing individual, couples, and sex therapy for more than 20 years. I am passionate about teaching and mentoring students who want to practice in the field of clinical sexology.

Sex therapists face numerous complicated and challenging situations in their practice. There are no simple algorithms for dealing with all the challenges in the therapeutic environment. Sex therapists have to think on their feet using all their previously acquired knowledge and experience. I strive to teach my students the art of sex therapy in all its complicated renditions.

Research Interests

My research interests include chronic and catastrophic illnesses and sexuality, sexuality across the life span, and the use of sexual fantasies as a treatment tool.

Media Expertise

  • Cancer and sexuality
  • Sexual trauma
  • Sexuality during life transitions
  • Couples/relationship counseling
  • Postpartum issues


  • Pillai-Friedman, S., & Ashline, J. (2014). Women, breast cancer survivorship, sexual losses, and disenfranchised grief—A treatment model for clinicians. Journal of Sexual and Relationship Therapy, in print.
  • Kellogg-Spadt, S., Rosenbaum, T.Y., Dweck, A., Milheiser, L., Pillai-Friedman, S., & Krychman, M. (2014). Sexual health and religion: A primer for the sexual health clinician. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 11(7), 1606–1619.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT); Society for Sex Therapy and Research (SSTAR)


  • Faculty Development Grant, Widener University (2014) (2015)

In the Media


  • Faculty Awarded PA Global Library Licensed Materials Grant

    Assistant Librarian Adam Mizelle, Widener University's campus-representative for Affordable Learning PA, was awarded a PA Global Library Licensed Materials grant in collaboration with Jenifer Norton, Sabitha Pillai-Friedman, and Donald Dyson for their adoption of library licensed materials for use in their classes. 

    Affordable Learning PA is a community of practice among academic libraries and higher education partners in the Pennsylvania region to advance textbook affordability. 

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  • Human Sexuality Studies Professor and Student Receive National Awards

    Associate Professor Sabitha Pillai-Friedman has received the 2020 Distinguished Service Award, and Tanya Bass, a doctoral student in the Center for Human Sexuality Studies, has received the 2020 Sexuality Educator Award from the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) Award.

    Pillai-Friedman's award is presented to an AASECT member who has worked to promote the mission of AASECT, advocating for sexual health through the development and advancement of sexuality education, counseling or therapy. Bass' award recognizes an individual who have made long-standing contributions, outstanding achievements, or otherwise had a major impact in one or more areas of sexuality education. They will receive the awards during the AASECT Virtual Summit on June 5.

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