|"How fantastic to see such a wide range of letters in the September issue of Therapy Today commenting on Su Connan’s excellent article ‘A kink in the process’ (Therapy Today, July 2010). The editor must have felt vindicated in her courageous decision to publish this article, as it is clearly ‘on target’ as a hot topic for therapists to arouse such passion in the readership, and I wanted to share my own reflections on a couple of the letters."|
I am shocked and appalled by the front cover and editorial comments in the July edition of Therapy Today.
Categorising, judgemental and pathologising
I am shocked and appalled by the front cover and editorial comments in the July edition of Therapy Today. The subject of sadomasochistic sex as a presenting client issue is one which I agree absolutely needs to be brought to a more general awareness, and I applaud you for including Su Connan’s article in the journal. I also totally agree with your comments in your editorial that, ‘Clients need therapists who are not going to be shocked or make them feel judged or indeed who will categorise them as pathological or sexually deviant and in need of treatment and cure’.
In light of your comments I am therefore even more horrified by the front cover bearing the headline ‘Understanding the kinky client’, an equivalent of which might, in my view, be ‘Working with nutters’ or ‘Understanding poofters’. I am also stunned by your own references to ‘... someone walking into our consulting room who identifies as kinky’ and ‘Unless we have personal experience of the world of kink’ – all of which appear to defeat your own argument for not judging, categorising or pathologising.
The BDSM community referred to by Su Connan in her article may be comfortable with this terminology and be happy to ‘identify as kinky’. However, my own experience of working over many years with a wide range of clients informs me that there will be at least as many, if not a great many more individuals, who feel that their sadomasochistic activities are causing them a problem and who wish to seek help, who would be seriously damaged by any clinician referring to them as ‘kinky’ or as engaging in ‘the world of kink’.
It is one, in my opinion laudable, thing to publish an article in the journal which will open and stimulate much needed discussion in this area, but quite another for the front cover and editorial comment to suggest that this kind of categorising, judgemental and pathologising language (more reminiscent of a headline in a tabloid newspaper) is representative of the standards and thinking of the professional body to which I belong. I object in the strongest of terms.