Working with Gender, Sexual and Relationally Diverse Clients

In seeking out help with issues going on their lives, individuals with a kinky or non heteronormative sexual orientation or gender often need to have someone who understands the culture and community in which they live, socialise, play and meet others, either for sexual or non-sexual  connection. There are many different mores, cultural values, mating rituals, sexual practices, terminologies, relational forms, dress codes and social values, not to mention the spiritual and ancestral legacies and collective unconscious that inform and inhabit us. Some also come to therapists seeking an empathic psychoeducational experience.

It is probably difficult for many non-kinky therapists to admit or acknowledge, but it is a truth that there are very few psychotherapists who are competent by their training and expertise to treat anyone from gender, sexual or relationally diverse communities.

I work within the Clinical Practice Guidelines for Working with People with Kink Interests:

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As a kink-aware, poly, trans and sexwork[er] friendly clinician:

  • I won’t assume that the issue you’re seeking help with is caused by or is related to your kink, poly, trans or sexwork identity.
  • I won’t make assumptions about your treatment goals – particularly that these goals include changing your sexual desires.
  • I won’t try to “cure” you of BDSM, poly desires or trans identity, or have any pre-assumptions around sexwork or drug-use behaviour (although I would want us to explore this)
  • I will be aware that any distress you have about your kink, poly or trans identity may be a normal part of internalized cultural bias against your sexual orientation rather than evidence of a disorder. I will help you to locate and get support from community resources.
  • I will be sensitive to whether and how your kink, poly or trans identity affects your work, social, and family relationships.
  • I will not assume abuse when you are in a BDSM relationship. I will not assume you are cheating or are tolerating cheating if you bring up other partners.
  • I will not assume that BDSM interests mean that you are not also interested in vanilla sexual behaviors.
  • If you have experienced abuse within a BDSM relationship, I can help you to process and understand that. I know that this can sometimes happen and that it can be very difficult to talk about.
  • I can help you to navigate the terms of your poly relationship and negotiate agreements that best serve you and your partners, identifying and honoring your needs.
  • I will remain aware of my own issues and how they may enter the therapy. I will consult with colleagues who are knowledgeable about altsex behavior if you bring in issues that are outside of my knowledge base or boundaries of competence.