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How To Choose A Kink-Affirming Therapist – and Why It Matters

Optimize your mental health journey in a kink context with this essential guide.

Photo: via Pixabay

Finding a good therapist can feel like a daunting task. Add in kink along with the possibility of being judged as opposed to supported and it begins to feel scary! Where should you look? How do you even know the type of therapist to consider? And does working with a kink-positive therapist really matter? 

Well as luck would have it, you’re in the right place for answers. So, if you’re interested in finding a therapist who truly understands the intersection between your personal life and your kink life then read on…

Cultural Competency: A Key Factor in Kink-Aware Therapy

●      Come to grips with cultural competency

●      Understand Kink-Aware Therapy’s unique context

●      Know the risk of engaging with a non-kink-affirming therapist

Before you start looking for a kink-aware therapist it’s vital to understand cultural competency. We live in a world filled with stereotypes and misunderstandings–and that’s certainly true with kink. Cultural competency means having a deep understanding of different cultures, beliefs, and practices–and using that knowledge to have respectful, non-judgmental interactions. 

In other words, a therapist possessing cultural competency regarding kink can provide the right support because they get it. They know about kink, have examined their own biases, and are ready to create a judgment-free space. 

Having this cultural competency is what truly makes a therapist “kink-affirming” and prevents you from wasting your own time educating them. More importantly, engaging with a therapist lacking in kink awareness can lead to misinterpretations, judgment, and harm instead of help. 

The bottom line is even the most well-intentioned therapist might not be able to offer you good support if they don’t understand kink. 

How to Tell A Kink-Compatible Therapist From A Kink-Clueless One 

●      Learn to decode kink-positive language 

●      Examine whether claims of “kink-positivity” stack up

●      Consider their expertise in other relevant areas

If you’re perusing a therapist’s website or therapist directory profile, a good way to start your search is to look for terms like “kink-aware,” “kink-positive,”’ “kink-friendly,” “kink-affirming,” and “GSRD” (Gender, Sexual, and Relationship Diversity). 

These phrases should indicate that the therapist in question is worth considering. At the same time, realize that “kink-friendly” might mean different things to different therapists. And that’s exactly why it’s important to take a closer look.

It’s also important to think about your own perspective regarding kink. Is kink central to what you want to work on in therapy, or completely unrelated? Are there issues around trauma, anxiety, or anything else that you’d like to discuss? If so, make sure your prospective therapist has competency in those areas, too.

Making The Right Decision: Using Initial Consultations

●      Come prepared with questions

●      Assess if it’s a supportive environment

●      Trust your instincts!

Many therapists offer a complimentary consultation. This is a great opportunity to find out a bit more about their understanding of kink. Think of it like a job interview, and you’re in charge of making sure you get your questions answered!

A good approach is to ask them what the kink-positive terminology they feature on their website or bio means to them. Find out what training and experience they have with kink and whether there are any kinks they’d be uncomfortable discussing. 

You can tell a lot about a therapist not only by their response but also how they say it. Do they seem at ease, and do you feel comfortable talking with them? 

Making your decision has to be based on your own intuition, trust, and the understanding you feel with your potential therapist. Remember it’s always okay to change your mind if you realize they’re not a good fit for you after all.

Above all, trust your judgment. Nobody can choose the best kink-affirming therapist for you except you–and you have all the tools you need to identify the right one. Good luck taking this next step in your mental health and kink journey!

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