Becoming a Kink Aware Therapist  book cover
1st Edition

Becoming a Kink Aware Therapist

ISBN 9781138239654
Published October 21, 2016 by Routledge
168 Pages

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Book Description

As a result of recent media interest, the practice of BDSM has become more mainstream yet remains marginalized. Now more than ever, greater numbers of heterosexual and LGBTQ couples are starting to explore some form of BDSM. However, profound misunderstandings continue leading to unintentional physical and psychological harm.

Drawing on current research and ethnographic narratives from the kink community, this book seeks to provide psychotherapists with an introductory understanding of the culture and practice of BDSM, and presents specific therapeutic concerns related to common misconceptions. This book strives to de-pathologize BDSM practices, while also providing concrete ways to distinguish abuse from consent, harmful codependency, and more. Packed with practical suggestions and rich case studies, this book belongs on the shelf of every therapist seeing BDSM and kink clients.

Table of Contents

Foreword Margie Nichols  Foreword Barry McCarthy  Preface  Acknowledgments  Introduction  1. Reimagining Healthy Sexuality  2. There are More Than Fifty Shades of BDSM  3. Is it “Bad”, “Mad” and “Sick or, Is It Okay?  4. Psychotherapeutic Persecution: Kinkophobia and Othering  5. Becoming a Kink Aware Therapist  6. The “Yes But’ Questions—Controversial Psychological Issues  7. Into the Psychotherapeutic Borderland  Appendices  References  About The Authors 

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Caroline Shahbaz, BBSc(Hons), MPsych, MA, is a trained clinical psychologist. She has spoken widely at conferences across the US and Australia on issues related to BDSM relationships, consensual master slave dynamics and kinkophobia as it applies to the practice of psychotherapy.

Peter Chirinos, MA, LPC, NCC, DCC, is the president and CEO of Capital Counseling Services, LLC, where he provides psychotherapy services as well as professional coaching, training and expert consultations in the area of sex, intimacy, and alternative sexualities.


Praise from the forewords:

"The book lives up to its title. It is the first capable of taking an interested but wholly unexposed and untrained therapist through a process that will result in the ability to handle some complex therapeutic issues–or to know when those issues need referral to someone more experienced. Shahbaz and Chirinos have a commanding understanding of the research and clinical literature. They use their resources to persuade, through rational argument, those therapists who may not understand the paradigm shift within their own profession. The authors quickly and effectively demolish the pathology model by marshalling the scientific evidence used to change DSM-5…. The book is worth reading for the psychoeducational information alone, including the appendices and resources at the end."—Margie Nichols, PhD, founder and president, Institute for Personal Growth; psychologist and sex therapist


"Becoming a Kink Aware Therapist is a much needed book on an understudied and misunderstood clinical issue. Traditionally, sex therapy had focused on married and partnered couples who experience problems of desire, arousal, or orgasm. The study of atypical or variant sexual desire and arousal has featured a psychopathology bias and treatment of the ‘identified patient.’ In contrast, Shahbaz and Chirinos have written an insightful book for therapists with a focus on a respectful understanding of the culture and practice of BDSM."—Barry McCarthy, PhD, professor of psychology, American University; author: Sex Made Simple and Rekindling Desire