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Working with BDSM Clients: Avoiding Pathologisation, Promoting Acceptance

Sat 7th April 2018, 10am – 4pm

A One-Day workshop for Counsellors and other professionals, to explore good and less good practice when working with clients who present with alternative sexualities (Bondage, Domination and Submission, Sadomasochism and related fetishes)

Venue: Courtwood House, Silver Street Head, Sheffield S1 2DD (Sheffield City Centre, near the Cathedral)

Costs: £280 or special early bird price of £240 for bookings before 1 Nov 2017

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Further details

This workshop has been designed by Bay Whitaker BA (Hons)/MA Philosophy, BACP (Accred)

Bay has been working as a counsellor for nine years, and before that worked at the Universities of Cambridge, East London and Sheffield Hallam, in a variety of roles.  She founded and runs a small group private practice in Sheffield. 

There has been a huge growth in BDSM groups, clubs, activities and suppliers of fetish equipment in the last 20 years.  The novel and film “50 Shades of Grey” is symptomatic of this growth – more and more people are accepting that it’s OK to be into BDSM.  This is very much a grassroots-led shift, facilitated by the internet, as that medium has allowed kinky people spaces to find others like themselves, and to talk, debate, offer support and discuss what they do.  In the UK this shift is also supported by a number of interdisciplinary academic groups, on and offline, including the Advanced Discussion Group for Kinky Therapists at Pink Therapy in London, which Bay has been attending since its first session in 2009.

To help other counsellors build confidence in working with BDSM Clients, Bay has designed a day’s CPD course, which will combine group discussion and workshop activity with more didactic information sharing.  The aims of the workshop are to:

  • support kink-affirmative therapy, promoting principles of acceptance and non-pathologisation
  • provide information about BDSM, safety, norms and resources
  • explore the social context for BDSM in the 21st Century, and reflect on the historical context, particularly among counselling and pschyotherapy professionals.
  • Consider the main types of questions and issues that are often brought by clients wanting to discuss their kinks

“A great opportunity to understand and explore in safety the nature of what could go on in a client’s sexual world. The course offered us, as therapists, the potential and space to reorientate our ideas about our clients’ sexual practices. Thoroughly recommended.”

 - David Smalley, Cotswold Counselling

Working with BDSM Clients: Avoiding Pathologisation, Promoting Acceptance

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