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Megan Speciale, PhD

Megan Speciale


Associate Professor

Contact Information:

Other Positions:

Chair of Counseling Admissions


Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision


Dr. Megan Speciale is an Associate Professor in the Counseling Department at Palo Alto University. She received her PhD in Counselor Education (CACREP) from the University of New Mexico, where she served as the Clinical Coordinator at the UNM Manzanita Counseling and Training Center and co-founded the LGBTQ Counseling Center at the UNM LGBTQ Resource Center.

Megan has worked as a professional counselor, supervisor, and advocate in a variety of community settings, focusing primarily on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA) populations and sexual health, wellness, and intimacy. As a counselor educator, she draws from social justice and equity-centered pedagogies in her teaching of Master's and Doctoral courses, including Sexuality in Counseling, Group Counseling, Multicultural Counseling, Advanced Qualitative Research, and others. Her research explores the intersection of sexual, mental, and relational health, focusing on such topics as kink/BDSM, sexual shame, sexual and gender identity, sex education, and sex work. She is also the current Editor-in-Chief for The Thoughtful Counselor Podcast.

Selected Publications:

  • Speciale, M. & Lamar, M. (2023). Counseling Womxn: Teaching intersectional issues in women's mental health. Journal of Technology in Counselor Education and Supervision, 3(1).
  • Speciale, M. & Oster, D. (2023). Integrating sexuality issues in career counseling: A special commentary. Journal of Counseling Sexology and Sexual Wellness, 4(2), 54-90.
  • Speciale, M. (2023). An intersectional systems approach to counseling sexual issues. In J. Russo, J.K. Coker, & J. King (Eds), DSM-5-TR and Family Systems (2nd ed.). Springer.
  • Litam, S., Speciale, M., & Balkin, R. (2022). Sexual attitudes and characteristics of OnlyFans users. Archives of Sexual Behavior.
  • Speciale, M. & Litam, S. (2022). Beyond kink-aware: Becoming a kink-affirming counselor. In A. Schubert & M. Pope (Eds), Handbook of Human Sexuality Counseling: A Sex Positive Approach. Wiley.
  • Litam, S. & Speciale, M. (2022). The multidimensional nature of sexual attraction. In A. Schubert & M. Pope (Eds), Handbook of Human Sexuality Counseling: A Sex Positive Approach. Wiley.
  • Lamar, M., Speciale, M., Forbes, L., & Donovan, C. (2021). The mental health of US parents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 43(4).
  • Litam, S. & Speciale, M. (2021). Deconstructing sexual shame: Implications for clinical counselors and counselor educators. Journal of Counseling Sexology and Sexual Wellness, 3(1), 14-24.
  • To read more about Dr. Speciale's work, follow her on ResearchGate: