Call us: 412-687-8700

Human Sexuality Program at the
Kurtz Center for Love & Intimacy


About Us

Promoting Healthy & Lasting Love Relationships with Satisfying Sexual Lives

The Kurtz Center for Love & Intimacy sets the standards for excellence in providing specialized clinical services, as well as training of therapists for marriage and sex coaching, and for the treatment of sexual addictions.

The Center is based in Cognitive Dynamic Therapy Associates’ (CDTA’s) Oakland offices at 155 North Craig Street, located conveniently near the University of Pittsburgh’s campus. The Center is named in honor of Shirley Kurtz, M.S.W., Ph.D., a psychologist who has been in practice since the 1970s, and who has been affiliated with CDTA since 1997.

Dr. Kurtz is one of the first therapists in Pittsburgh who earned certification from the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT). After obtaining a Master’s Degree in Psychiatric Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh in 1974, when few women pursued advanced degrees, Dr. Kurtz studied under William H. Masters and Virginia E. Johnson, pioneers in research about human sexual response and the diagnosis and treatment of sexual disorders, and co-authors of two classic texts in the field. Throughout her career, Dr. Kurtz has trained nearly two dozen psychologists to be certified sex therapists, giving CDTA more ASSECT-certified therapists than any psychology practice in the United States.

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Clinical Services for Sexual Problems & Marital Distress

Providing Sex Therapy with the Highest Degrees of Professionalism, Compassion & CONFIDENTIALITY

The Kurtz Center for Love & Intimacy offers an array of clinical services related to intimacy.

Issues addressed include:

  • Communication Problems
  • Sexual Dysfunctions & Addictions
  • Pre-Marital & Marital Conflicts
  • Loss of Sexual Desire
  • Infertility/Adoption
  • Postpartum Adjustment
  • Premature Ejaculation
  • Erectile Dysfunction
  • Inhibited Orgasm
  • Vaginismus/Painful Intercourse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Sexual Addiction
  • Forensic Evaluations of Sexual Offenders

Sexual Dysfunction

Sexual Dysfunction Therapy is conducted by male and female CDTA psychotherapists with formal training and experience in the specific techniques of sex therapy as well as in individual and couples therapy.

Sexuality is a common concern for both individuals and couples. For an individual, sexual problems can be both a cause and result of anxiety and poor self-esteem. In a couple’s relationship, communication about sexual needs may be difficult, creating tension and distance. A specific sexual dysfunction may further impair communication and marital satisfaction.

Treatment begins with a sexual, individual and marital, history. Typically, both members of the couple are included in the treatment process, but individual therapy may also be appropriate. Our approach is an integration of couples therapy, which enhances communication and understanding between partners, and a cognitive-behavioral focus on the specific sexual dysfunction.

A graduated series of exercises helps recondition sexual functioning by shifting the focus to away from the vicious cycle of performance anxiety to pleasure, communication, and confidence-building. When anxiety or depression contributes to the sexual problem, treatment may also focus on individual personality dynamics.

Common presenting problems include:

  • Erectile Dysfunction
  • Premature Ejaculation
  • Inability to Ejaculate
  • Inhibited Orgasm
  • Sexual Compulsion & Addiction
  • Lack of Sexual Desire
  • Vaginismus & Painful Intercourse

Sexual Abuse and Incest

Substantial numbers of women and men have experienced some degree of sexual abuse. Such people are likely to seek treatment for other emotional or physical problems. They may minimize, or not remember their abuse experiences.

Our treatment approach with abuse survivors integrates a cognitive focus on teaching skills that enhance the client’s sense of control. Psychodynamic techniques build trust and explore early relationships in which the patient may have felt betrayed and unprotected. Individual treatment may be combined with couples therapy to correct sexual dysfunctions or relationship problems.

Adult survivors of sexual abuse may exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Dissociation
  • Memory Gaps
  • Depression
  • Self-Hatred
  • Guilt
  • Shame
  • Anger which is repressed or misdirected
  • Fearfulness, particularly of losing control
  • Substance Abuse
  • Eating Disorders
  • Self-Mutilation
  • Self-Destructiveness
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Lack of desire
  • Somatic Complaints: Insomnia, Headaches, Gastro-intestinal and Genito-urinary problems
  • Oversexualization of relationships
  • Social relationships which are controlled, distant, or superficial

Sexual Addiction

Sexual addicts are lonely, fearful of intimacy and have never loved. They compulsively use sexual arousal the way other addicts use chemicals to get high. Sex addicts may get addicted to superficial sexual encounters, to paid sex in massage parlors or strip clubs, or to sexual material and exchanges on the Internet.

The sexual encounters never involve real intimacy but take the addict away from the reality of human relationships that they fear. Addicts typically deny the problem and come for help only after being caught by the police or a spouse.

When addicts hit rock bottom, fear and shame break through the denial. They realize they are vulnerable and become motivated to change. They know they must choose whether to return to a life of destructive fantasy or slowly learn how to love.

Psychotherapy, often in conjunction with couples therapy or a support-group, helps the sex addict gain self-esteem and relate to others as human beings rather than objects to satisfy sexual needs. They begin to experience sexual interaction as a way of expressing love, not as a way of dominating others or relieving physical tensions. The recovered addict has the opportunity to become a complete person and to love for the first time.

Sexual addicts exhibit the following:

  • Compulsive behavior despite costs
  • Poor self-esteem and body-image
  • Self-deception and lies
  • Loneliness and empty feelings
  • Failed efforts to control behavior
  • Negative consequences for job and family
  • Masked depression and anxiety

BalanceQuest Marital & Sex Coaching


“I’ve been married 5 years and rarely feel intimate anymore.”
“He just doesn’t understand my emotional needs.”
“She doesn’t appreciate all the things I do.”
“I have pretty much lost any desire for sex.”


What Issues Does Marital & Sex Coaching Address?

Typical relationship issues include increasing intimacy, improving communication, and re-discovering the love connection that first brought you together. Common sexual issues addressed are heightening sexual passion, increasing sexual frequency, achieving or enhancing orgasm capacity, and improving erection and ejaculatory control.

Is Marital & Sex Coaching Traditional Therapy?

No. Traditional therapy developed from a medical illness model to treat mental and emotional problems or psychopathology. Love is perfectly natural, but not naturally perfect, and the same can be said of sex. Nearly everyone has some problems in loving and sexual expression, so these need not be viewed as pathology. Rather than treating illness, the marital & sex coach works in a similar way as an athletic coach who inspires, teaches, and guides athletes to enhance their skills and reduce barriers that block optimal performance and the achievement of potential.

How is Sex & Love Coaching Different?



Assumes client is wounded & needs healing. Roots in medicine & psychiatry. Focus on feeling, past & trauma. Explores deep roots of problems. Focus on uncovering unconscious. Resolution of inner conflicts and letting go of old patterns.


Assumes client is capable & ready to grow and self-actualize. Roots in positive psychology and personal growth. Focus on action, present & goals. Focus on problem solving. Harnessing the power of consciousness. Removing barriers, learning new skills & making better choices.

How Does Marital & Sex Coaching Work?

Marital & Sex Coaching views marital love as the highest form of human achievement and considers sexuality as a positive, healthy, and spiritual expression of love that can become problematic because of medical, emotional, and interpersonal issues. After evaluating these aspects of your love relationship and sexual functioning, our coaching model focuses on cultivating love and sex positive strategies, thoughts and behaviors that enhance passion.

As needed, we may explore deeper psychological and relationship issues that limit intimacy and sexual expression. Spirituality is emphasized for those so inclined.

What is Your Philosophy of Marital & Sex Coaching (MSC)?



MSC draws on the concept that “balance” is the basis for physical, emotional and spiritual health and that imbalances cause illness or dysfunction.

MSC helps you examine the nature of your love bond and your sexual value system. Values clarification and enhanced love connection are foundational steps.

Cognitive Balancing

Healthy love and sex requires positive thoughts and values. MSC cultivates healthy and well-balanced attitudes, thoughts and self-affirmations that increase the capacity for love and sexual pleasure.

Emotional Balancing

Maintaining emotional balance is one of the critical skills for engaging in a passionate and loving relationship. MSC cultivates the capacity to manage your mood and your reactivity to your partner’s moods.

Self-Other Balancing

Close relationships must maintain a delicate balance between individuality and attachment. Imbalances occur when people become overly aloof or get so involved they lose themselves in the relationship.

The key to passionate love and sex, according to international sex expert, Dr. David Schnarch, is the ability to “hold on to yourself”, to maintain your individuality, while also being involved in an intimate relationship. MSC helps you learn how to be yourself AND be in an intimate relationship which releases your full potential for deep love and passionate sex.

Past-Present-Future Balance

In real estate, the maxim is “Location, location, location.” In love and sex, it could be “Time, time, time.” The key to happiness generally is in the present moment, experiencing what is happening directly and fully as it unfolds. People who dwell on losses in the past become depressed, and those who worry about the future are anxious.

MSC strikes a balance that helps you clarify future goals for love and sex and discover ways to deal with past experiences that may impede progress towards these goals.

But the emphasis is on learning how, during the intimate encounters, to let go of past and future so you can be totally immersed in the present moment with your partner, aware only of each other and expressing your deep feelings of caring, closeness, appreciation, respect and passionate desire (i.e., love) in a sensual, loving and spiritual way.

How Do Sessions Work?

Most sessions are conducted in person. Some are conducted by telephone, which can be highly effective. Most sessions are about 45 minutes to 1 ½ hours in length. Sessions may be scheduled for once a week or less or more frequently depending on your schedule, my availability, and your needs for sex coaching.

What Are The Fees?

Fees range from $100 to $150/45 minute session and $130 to $185/60 minute session. Payment is expected at the conclusion of each session by check, cash, or credit card. For phone coaching, payment is made in advance. If finances are a problem, a limited sliding fee scale or payment programs may be available.

Clients typically contract for anywhere from 4 initial weekly sessions to 3-6 months. Coaching is NOT covered by medical insurance.

What About Missed Appointments?

There is a 48-hour-advance cancellation policy. If you fail to cancel or reschedule within that time frame, a $100.00 charge will be asked of you for the missed appointment. Of course, in the case of serious illness or injury, there is no charge for the missed appointment.

What Can You Expect?

This type of work can be transformational for your whole life, not just your marriage and sexuality. By trusting the process and allowing me to be your guide, you will grow, learn, and become a more empowered person generally. Thank you so much for choosing me as your coach. I am honored and excited that we are going along this path together.

What are My Credentials?

Dr. Schwartz is President of Cognitive Dynamic Therapy Associates and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He has 30 years experience helping hundreds of couples and individuals to enhance their sexual and marital functioning.

Dr. Schwartz authored over 30 scientific research papers and popular articles on positive thinking, love, and sexuality, and teaches sex therapy to medical and psychiatry students. He is a Sex Therapy Fellow certified by the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists.

How Do I Get Started With Marital & Sex Coaching?

Call Dr. Robert Schwartz for a Free Telephone Consultation to see how Marital & Sex Coaching can help you.

Phone: 412-687-8700 Ext. 102

Or e-mail me at

Therapist Training

Preparing Therapists to Help Patients Achieve Satisfying Sexual Lives

The Kurtz Center for Love & Intimacy offers a comprehensive array of training programs to help therapists empower patients to achieve emotional and sexual fulfillment from their long-term relationships.

Programs offered by Kurtz Center therapists who are certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) include:

  • Ongoing Sex Therapy Seminars
  • Supervision in Sex Therapy
  • ASSECT Certification Supervision: Preparing the Next Generation of Sex Therapists

At The Kurtz Center, we believe – and countless studies show — that people who are fulfilled in long-term relationships are more effective in all aspects of their lives. That’s why we’re committed to helping ensure that fellow therapists have the expertise to provide highly effective sex therapy that helps patients overcome, or deal successfully with:

  • Communication Problems
  • Sexual Dysfunctions & Addictions
  • Pre-Marital & Marital Conflicts
  • Loss of Sexual Desire
  • Infertility/Adoption
  • Postpartum Adjustment
  • Premature Ejaculation
  • Erectile Dysfunction
  • Inhibited Orgasm
  • Vaginismus/Painful Intercourse
  • Sexual Abuse

The Kurtz Center for Love & Intimacy offers sex therapy training that can lead to AASECT certification in a group format, or as individual supervision sessions.