Statement on Sexual Diversity
People have a wide variety of ways to understand and express themselves, and a wide variety of ways to experience desire and partnering. Sociocultural influences cause us to group people into categories that can be experienced as limiting for many people. Further, sociocultural valuing of one category over others can create an environment of devaluation and oppression. I understand the difficulties that sexual minorities can encounter when attempting to seek help, whether directly about their minority status or about issues completely unrelated. Hopefully the following information will clarify the theoretical and clinical stance you can expect when you seek my services.
I see a variety of people who do not conform to rigid, stereotypical gender identities or expressions. I do not see this as pathological or problematic. For those people who would like hormonal or surgical changes to their bodies related to their genders, I use the WPATH Standards of Care as a guideline for assisting clients to become physically authentic in the way they wish to do so. I am not a gatekeeper and will not stand in the way of clients getting the treatment they need and deserve.
While some people function best when partnered with one partner exclusively, other people function best when partnering is not limited to one, while others function best without partners at all. Relationships come in all kinds of arrangements. This is part of the normal variation in relational orientation. I provide relationship therapy for traditional couples as well as for polyamorous, open, and swinging relationships. I do not assume that your relational difficulties are a result of you failing to follow the long-term monogamy mainstream.
We have the capacity for a substantial range of erotic experiences that need not focus on genitals, or even orgasm for that matter. Adults who find consensual enjoyment and arousal from intense stimulus, constraint, power exchange, sexy shoes, feathers, or... (feel free to add your variety to the list here), are not mentally ill. People who enjoy Kink/BDSM as a lifestyle (or just for special occasions) frequently encounter mainstream psychotherapists who focus on their kink as the root of any problem in their lives. In psychotherapy with me, you will not need to be closeted about your erotic practices. If they are troubling you, we can explore your feelings about them without judgement. If they are not troubling you, I will not ground the cause of your unrelated concerns in your lifestyle/practices.
For many, sex and gender are crucial elements in attraction/arousal. For others, sex and gender are not as relevant to attraction/arousal as is the beloved’s smile or scent or way of being in the world. Theories that posit a heterosexual orientation as the only mature developmental outcome are outdated, misinformed, and grounded in oppressive heterosexual privilege. If you are concerned about your non-heterosexual attractions, we can explore those concerns but we cannot change or “repair” them. There is nothing broken. Attempts to change sexual orientation are not only ineffective but harmful to the client and have been deemed unethical by governing bodies for psychologists, social workers, and counselors.