originally posted: May 14, 2020
First, I'd like to give a heartfelt thank you to Miss Mackenzee. In a world where kink is often frightening to first timers, she provides warmth and supportive care to her clients.
There are a lot of misconceptions regarding therapists, in general, but especially in relation to the lifestyle. Even more, in regards to the working relationship with a therapist and how it differs from what might be a therapeutic relationship with a Domme. Therapeutic does not equal therapy, and I’ll talk more about that in a minute.
The first thing to know, is that 9 therapists out of ten, we are the people that you cannot shock or offend. By the time I’d reached licensure I had treated sociopaths, addicts, schizophrenics and soccer moms. A good therapist is here purely for their clients, with no hidden agendas. We don’t take sides, we don’t bring moral judgements into the working relationship.
So a good place to start, if you’re looking to begin therapy, is to ask not only your therapist’s qualifications (there are so many articles on that, I’m going to skip it for now) - but their experience with the lifestyle. Being on the KAP (Kink Aware Professionals) list does not automatically qualify them to help you. Know that, “I’m aware of it,” is going to mean something very different than, “I’ve been a part of it”, or “I’ve participated in it”. And if at any point you start to feel judged, or feel as if you are shocking or causing your therapist discomfort - it’s time to find someone else. Politely, but firmly, state your reasons and if you aren’t satisfied with the response, request a transfer. A valuable, ethical therapist will refer you to someone else at your request - or you can contact resources like Pineapple, Orchard, or even myself, for suggestions. You should never have to go through feeling judged, during your own treatment. No good therapist wants that, and no healing can come from that.
That said, the second most common concern I hear; confidentiality is something that all good therapists hold sacred. We don’t talk about you to your partner, children, employer, community or friends. Some of us will even go so far as to deny that you are a client, if you so request. By ethics and (in most states) by law, the most we will do is to speak of your case, in generalities and without names, specific ages or identifying features, to a more senior therapist if we believe that they can give us a contrasting perspective or a list of resources that will be of help to you. A good therapist will not judge you deciding to have your needs met by Pro-Dommes OR sex-workers. I can say with total honesty that being both a therapist and a member of the kink scene, I’ve heard and seen it all. I treat those who see both Pro Dommes and other sex workers regularly, and have a working relationship with a few Pro Dommes who will refer people to me if they feel their clients would benefit from help, or are having problems that therapeutic applications of BDSM cannot address.
There is one caveat to that - if we believe you are going to harm yourself or others, we will work to make sure that everyone is safe. Although many don’t realize it, we too take the Hippocratic Oath.
Another common concern; if you have a part of you that you haven’t allowed anyone else to see (i.e.-cross dressing, infantilism, fantasies, cuckolding), good therapists will be there for you; with acceptance and empathy. But we aren’t mind readers. You can only take out of therapy what you put in - in order to get the most out of therapy, you need to remove the mask you wear in your everyday life once you come into our room, and ask the questions that you need to ask. Every good therapist has a white noise machine outside their door - trust that your conversations are private. Be open, even if you are more comfortable writing it instead of saying it - let us know what thoughts are bringing you in, so that we can help.
The last, and most common question I’m asked - can I provide a dominant presence in someone's life. This is where I have to tell you - there is a difference between a Domme’s therapeutic relationship with you, and a therapist’s working relationship with you. We cannot, not only due to ethics and our oaths, but also because of how it can confuse the lines of our relationship, act in a D/s capacity for you. BDSM play can be therapeutic, and it can help you feel better and address immediate emotional needs … but it can’t work through deep seated issues. For that, you need therapy. And you may not feel free to say anything you want to a Domme, but you should always be able to feel free to say anything, even graphic language or vulnerable feelings, to your therapist.
I hope I was able to answer some questions for you - entering therapy can be a frightening thing, especially right now as our entire world is in upheaval, and especially when you’re a member of the scene and often already feel as if your secrets have secrets. But trust that a good therapist is going to be beside you, without judgement. They may take you a while to find, as the list of therapists who are also proficient with the scene isn’t a long one (the KAP list makes it seem so, but as you start calling the names on there, you’ll find that “aware of the scene” is all many think they need to work with kinksters) - but we are out there. And we will be ready, open door, for you.
I can be reached by:
Psychology Today profile: https://bit.ly/2WAMdDd