We expect, and need, better than this from the BACP

Very pleased to see a sane response to this ridiculous ethical dilemma. It my view, the dilemma is should Marna and her supervisor be in practice with such unexamined and sex negative beliefs.
If anyone wishes to read the original article here is a link:
http://www.bacp.co.uk/docs/pdf/15887_therapy-today-march-2017.pdf pages 20-21.

Counselling in Northumberland

The in-house journal of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy is Therapy Today. It is sent to every member of the organisation as well as being hosted online. The BACP have been quick to remind people that reading it counts as CPD, and so it seems safe to assume it promotes it’s beliefs, attitudes and outlook towards ethical practice.

It was therefore  worrying and disappointing to see featured an ethical dilemma around viewing pornography which seemed to be written with no knowledge or understanding or either sexuality or good therapeutic and supervisionary practices. It is difficult to create believable hypothetical scenarios, however, if it is done, it is important that they reflect not only best practice but the values and beliefs of the organisation.

The Dilemma (All people are imaginary)

Marna is a counsellor who rents a room from a larger counselling agency. Another room within the same building…

View original post 1,423 more words

Pink Therapy is changing!

As my plan to share the load for the running and development of the organisation, by creating a franchise where some of my colleagues would take on the administration of the face-to-face courses has stalled, I’m now moving ahead with other plans.

We will be winding down our face-to-face training programme after the current advertised workshops are complete.  So book now or miss your chance!

We will be continuing to run our two-year  Post Graduate Diploma in Gender, Sexuality and Relationship Diversity Therapy (GSRD) which is largely delivered online and we will be delivering online Continuing Professional Development to reach out to people unable to travel easily to London or who don’t have the time to commit to a full specialist vocational training. In fact our PG Diploma is close to having recruited a full cohort, with just a couple of places remaining.

One of the new projects is that I will be increasing the Clinical Associate team. 

Up until now the Clinical Associates team was a small group of highly experienced therapists based in London who met three times a year and were recruited to try and keep a balance in gender and theoretical model.  They got a privileged position on the website and paid an increased membership fee for being an associate (alongside their directory membership); they also got a discount on undertaking our training events and reduced conference fee. They became the faculty for our training workshops and courses and were a great think tank.

I am now seeking to recruit more Clinical Associates especially outside of London.  The organisation has been accused of being too London-centric and I think this is an opportunity to do something about that.  I am keen to demonstrate there are a wider range of GSRD-experienced therapists across the UK (and beyond).

Joining the new Associates team will be by invitation

Apologies in advance if you would like to take up this role but don’t receive an invitation yet. The criteria are largely that you are:
• accredited by us,
• have attended significant training with us,
• are faculty on our programmes
• have contributed to the field through publications, training etc.
I am also keen to ensure the majority are from outside of London and that we continue to reflect the diversity of GSRD identities.

The new Associates will be invited to attend an annual networking meeting and be expected to continue to commit to professional development in this rapidly changing area of work. There will also be a separate membership fee to reflect the elevated profile and provide some additional income for the organisation.

Dominic Davies
Founder and CEO
7 February 2017

UK organisations unite against Conversion Therapy

[My comments at the end of this statement]

Major UK healthcare organisations have united to write a statement firmly against Conversion Therapy. The following organisations have signed the statement:

  • The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
  • The British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies
  • The British Psychoanalytic Council
  • The British Psychological Society
  • The College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists
  • GLADD – The Association of LGBT Doctors and Dentists
  • The National Counselling Society
  • National Health Service Scotland
  • Pink Therapy
  • The Royal College of General Practitioners
  • The Scottish Government
  • Stonewall
  • The UK Council for Psychotherapy.

Major UK organisations have been working against Conversion Therapy for a number of years, publishing a Memorandum of Understanding against the practice (2015) and updating the document to warn against conversion therapy in relation to gender identity and sexual orientation (including asexuality).

Aware of concerns regarding the future of Conversion Therapy in the USA, and pleased that Malta has banned the practice and that Taiwan has drafted legislation to ban the practice, we are publicising the following statement in solidarity with like- minded healthcare organisations in the USA.

“We the undersigned UK organisations wish to state that the practice of conversion therapy has no place in the modern world.  It is unethical and harmful and not supported by evidence.

Conversion Therapy is the term for therapy that assumes certain sexual orientations or gender identities are inferior to others, and seeks to change or suppress them on that basis.

Sexual orientations and gender identities are not mental health disorders, although exclusion, stigma and prejudice may precipitate mental health issues for any person subjected to these abuses. Anyone accessing therapeutic help should be able to do so without fear of judgement or the threat of being pressured to change a fundamental aspect of who they are.”

Janet Weisz, Chair of the Memorandum of Understanding group, and Chief Executive of the UK Council for Psychotherapy, said:
“We have always been clear that sexual orientation and gender identities are not mental health disorders. Any therapy that claims to change these is not only unethical but it’s also potentially harmful.

“Therefore, this practice has no place in the modern psychotherapy profession. The public must know that they can access therapeutic help without fear of judgment.

“It is great to see so many parts of the psychological and medical profession both in the UK and abroad uniting on this key issue.”

Helen Morgan, Chair of the British Psychoanalytic Council, said:
“Forcing a particular view or prejudice upon a patient has no place in therapy and all competent therapists will implicitly understand and appreciate this.

“Psychotherapy aims to liberate people so they can live fuller, more meaningful and more satisfying lives – and patients meeting a psychotherapist should be able to assume that this is always the case in therapy.

“I am pleased to support moves against conversion therapy and I would urge professional colleagues – wherever they may be – to do the same.”

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:
“The Royal College of General Practitioners is proud to support this statement. As medical professionals, we are highly trained to treat our patients regardless of their sexual orientation – not because of it.

“Being gay or trans is not a disease, it is not a mental illness and it doesn’t need a cure. Any proclamations to the contrary risk causing harm to our gay and trans patients’ physical and mental health and wellbeing, as well as perpetuating discrimination in society.”

Peter Kinderman, President of the British Psychological Society, said:
British Psychological Society is very proud to endorse, support, and stand by this statement. I am proud to live in a country that is able to celebrate the full range of loving human relationships and to offer each one of us equality under the law. Many of us have experienced a great deal of persecution and discrimination as a result of our sexual orientation, and our role must be to combat such prejudice, not to add to it. When people are distressed, for whatever reason, we have a duty to reach out and help. But that must not entail regarding our sexual orientation as any form of pathology. I am very happy to be a party to this statement, and I hope it goes some way to contribution to a more caring and equitable society.”

Dr Andrew Reeves, Chair of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, said:
“BACP strongly believes that anyone seeking therapeutic help, regardless of their gender and sexual diversity, should have access to unbiased and informed therapists who provide ethically skilled therapy. We agree that there is no place in our society for conversion therapy, which is unethical, harmful and not supported by evidence.”

I’m pleased we’ve managed to make this statement.  I’m saddened we’re not yet at the point of producing the more inclusive MoU2 but I do believe we’re not too far off it. There is a story there, but I’m not currently at liberty to discuss it! 

All too often those of us working with Gender Sexuality and Relationship Diverse (GSRD) clients hear about poor practice from other therapists.  Social Media and the consulting rooms of my colleagues who work a lot in this area is replete with the lived experience of GSRD people who have been encouraged by their therapists to assimilate into the heternormative, cisnormative majority rather than having their identities recognised and understood.

It seems that it’s still not acceptable in modern Britain to be bisexual, asexual or have a non-binary identity.  This is not good enough and I am pleased that there are people concerned about this issue to sit around a table and address it.  I have hopes that in the not too distant future, therapy training courses WILL be training therapists to know how to respond to clients who come from GSRD backgrounds.

Dominic Davies
16 January 2017










Backlash Kink Olympixxx

Oh I’m loving the sound of this!

Law and Sexuality


Ever wondered what fisting volleyball looks like?  Well…you might be in luck.  The feminist pornographer Pandora Blake and obscenity lawyer Myles Jackman have united civil liberties campaigners including the Open Rights Group, NO2ID and Big Brother Watch in a protest against the risk posed to personal privacy and sexual freedom by the Digital Economy Bill currently before Parliament.

The Backlash Kink Olympixxx will feature surreal and satirical games including Fisting Volleyball, a Spanking Relay Race and Squirting Waterfight in a playful parody of the sexual acts that are legal to perform in real life, but illegal to represent, possess or publish under UK sex laws.

The Kink Olympixxx will be held outside Parliament between 12-2pm on Monday the 17th October 2016. There will be speeches from the organisers and civil liberties organisations including Privacy International, Index on Censorship and the English Collective of Prostitutes.

Myles Jackman, an award-winning specialist…

View original post 206 more words

Reporting from Beijing

A couple of months back, I received an invitation from the Beijing LGBT Center to participate in the National Psychologist’s Conference  first ever forum on LGBT psychology.  It was a wonderful opportunity to present some of our work in Gender, Sexuality and Relationship Diversities and I was going to be sharing the platform with a local Chinese psychologist and media personality and Dr Lee Beckstead from Utah, who has been doing a lot of work around Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE).
My schedule went through at least six different iterations as the Centre keep finding other significant events for me to be involved in and they applied to the British Embassy for a grant to sponsor my visit.  I was somewhat pessimistic whether this might get granted given my decision to publicly decline our former Prime Minister David Cameron’s invitation to attend his LGBT Garden Party but fortunately that didn’t seem to count against me.

I arrived last Friday afternoon (the August Bank Holiday weekend) and on Saturday morning at the equivalent of 2am GMT, I began a day’s training of the psychologists and volunteers at the LGBT Centre.  There were around 20 people attending the training in person and a live video link to a bunch of other psychologists across China.  I was very impressed with how a small organisation handled the technology so smoothly and efficiently.

I also brought some books with me to present to the centre so they can get access to some of the information we find useful in our trainings.

The training went well with consecutive translation provided by some volunteers and my presentation slides had been translated into Chinese in advance.  After what was a very tiring day of training a big group of us went out for dinner and got to know each other a bit better. One of the interesting differences between Chinese dining and British dining is they often start with sweet things and end with soup (this particular restaurant was famous for a delicious pear soup, which we drank as as a tea throughout the meal)!

 I fell into bed at about 8.30pm China Time dosed with sleeping tablets and melatonin and slept soundly for seven hours!

On Sunday morning accompanied by Atchoo, one of the volunteers at the centre, I went to find a tailor as I had this fanciful idea to have a suit made whilst here.  I’d done some research on the Internet and found an article written several years ago about the top 10 tailors in Beijing.  The person I saw is Feifei and since the article appeared, two other businesses have opened alongside her all using similar names!

It was fluke we happened to walk into the original Feifei.  She very carefully took note of my scoliosis distorted frame and made some very careful measurements and told me to come back for a fitting the following day!

Atchoo took me for some lunch and then off to the National Psychologists Conference at the Beijing International Conference Centre.  An enormous and impressive building.  About 2000 psychologists from across China attend this conference and so we’d anticipated a good turn out of around 200 for our forum.  In the end we had about 30 people attending.  The convener of the whole conference welcome us and opened the session by saying how important it was that this subject is being addressed and he remained for the forum despite there there being two major figures in Chinese Psychology  presenting elsewhere in the building (and probably taking away most of the potential audience).

The first presenter was a bit of a local celebrity psychologist, she has a TV show and huge social media outreach and was exceptionally pretty.  The convener had invited her to present and she had the first hour and a half of the session, leaving 30 mins each for Dr Beckstead and myself.  She focussed a lot on her work with young gay men who are conflicted about being gay and the challenges they face.

Around 90% of LGB people in China are not able to come out to their parents and most would be expected to marry and produce children. Many families will only have one child (the policy has changed but that’s more relevant for future generations)  This can create a lot of tension within the marriage if the wife discovers at some point that she’s married to a gay man.  There have been quite a few articles in the press about women feeling tricked into marriage by duplicitous gay men.  Domestic Violence/Intimate Partner Violence is also quite a big issue here where I suspect the frustration of feeling obligated to marry and repress one’s sexuality creates immense marital tensions.

There are very few out LGBT psychologists in China.  Most of the volunteer therapists at the Center are not LGBT which is one of the things which struck me as a difference between LGBT Counselling organisations in the UK and here.

After the Forum, we went for dinner in this incredibly exciting four floor 24 hour restaurant.  The hustle and bustle was incredibly exciting at first but by the end of the meal the noise and shouting were playing against my jetlag and I needed my bed!  Bedtime by 8.30pm again! IMG_0012

On Monday Lee Beckstead and I went to the Forbidden City accompanied by Eddy had been our interpreter the day before.  It was very helpful to have someone who knew how to navigate things and Eddy was great fun.  The city is a vast series of palaces dating from around the 15C.  Most of the rooms are closed but we weren’t able to enter those which were ‘open’, but just peer through the doors or windows at the immense throne inside.

Later that afternoon I returned to Feifei for my fitting.  In around 24 hours she’s virtually made the suit and one of two shirts!  She compensated brilliantly for my particular frame and build and the garments had a few minor adjustments and we agreed I’d return on Wednesday to collect the suit!

I dashed off (well if you can call dashing in Beijing traffic jams) to a celebratory dinner thrown in Lee and my honour where we got to meet some of the key movers and shakers in the Beijing LGBT Community who support the work of the centre.  Susie Jolly a former colleague of Petra Boynton whom I know through Meg-John and who works for the Ford Foundation here, plus Fan Popo a young independent film maker who gave me some. DVD’s of his latest films.  He’ll be off to Washington DC for another film festival premiere next week.  Ajay who runs an NGO and co-ordinates the AIDS walk which takes place along the Great Wall of China which must be one of the most stunning locations for such an event. James Wang  who is coordinating the SOGIE and HIV programmes for UNDP and Andrew Speke from the British Embassy who sponsored my visit here.  It was a brilliant meal – entirely vegetarian, but where you’d not notice any absence of meat.  The dishes kept coming as did the incredible fruit tea/soup!

On Tuesday I had a supervision group the centre with about 8 of their psychologists and two people presented their clients. I was really impressed by their knowledge and contributions to each other’s case work.  They were all fairly young, mostly heterosexual, but clearly very insightful and well trained.  It was a real pleasure to hear their work and I felt I contributed very little to their clinical thinking.  Although I did get a chance to introduce them to my Sex and Gender Grid as a tool for exploring various aspects of identity and experience.IMG_0003
After lunch,  Joelle the programme manager, accompanied me to the British Embassy where Andrew had invited Iron the Executive Director of the centre and I to make a presentation to Embassy staff on LGBT Mental Health in the UK and China.  Around a dozen people attended including uding one via Video conference from Shanghai.  Iron was magnificent in how she knew how to tell the right stories, provide research and engage the audience and between us we covered a lot of ground off the cuff (the notes I’d made on my phone in preparation for the meeting had to be locked away on entry to the building for security reasons, no phones allowed inside).


Joelle, Iron and I on the porch of the British Embassy with Susie Jolly from the Ford Foundation in the background!

Wednesday was my day off – for shopping and Eddy offered to take me around and find the things I wanted.  We also collected the suit and I’m super impressed (as was he when he learned my hand made shirt was half the price of the one he bought in a shop prior to the Forum on Sunday)!

On Thursday, I had a 10am briefing meeting with the interpreter for the WHO meeting on Friday.  Noon was Lunch with Jack Smith who was interviewing me for Beijing Time Out (we sat and ate delicious Veggie Dumplings in Ritan Park.  At 4pm interviewed by Atchoo at the LGBT Centre and 6pm I was involved in a 3 hour discussion and Q&A around Transgender issues with over 20 local community members!IMG_0022

On Friday afternoon, there was a meeting hosted by WHO Beijing and attended by some professors of psychology,senior psychologists and psychiatrists and doctors and the UNDP HIV Lead representative James Wang. The meeting was also attended by Lottie Murphy Senior Counsellor on Health at the British Embassy (it was she who signed off on my visa invitation to sponsor my trip to China). It was a hugely significant meeting looking at what China can do to bring about the end of Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (aka conversion therapy or gay cure therapy).  I shared our work in the UK with regard to the Memorandum of Understanding and learned about what they’ve been doing in China.

In China, Homosexuality was removed from their diagnostic manual of diseases in 2000 (the WHO declassified it in 1993). But since then there have been multiple accounts of people being given aversion therapy in state hospitals, where these have been challenged, they deny or state it’s talking therapies (one therapist expected the patient to attend a series of five hour talking therapy sessions).  The fees for these ‘treatments’ are also very high compared to regular therapy.

We discussed maybe getting one of the biggest psychological professional bodies to start an LGBT Psychology section to conduct research into evidence based practice and training.  They’re also considering forming a working group to explore a Chinese Memorandum of Understanding to be signed off by all their major bodies, much as we have.


After the meeting – it was off to dinner – again!  You can tell, I was fed very well.  Over dinner I was presented with various gifts from the Centre: some delicious teas, a Moon cake, and some sweet figurinesIMG_0321

Therapist Dating & Sexing in the Modern Age


As therapist who identifies as non-monogamous/polyamorous, and I guess you could call me a bit of an ethical slut (thanks Dossie),  I am very interested in how we manage our professional boundaries and ensure we hold the therapeutic frame, when there can be eroticised feelings bouncing off our consulting room walls and at the same time conducting out personal lives respectfully and appropriately.

It is our duty as therapists to maintain professional and ethical boundaries.  To act as Boundary Riders, tending the fences which make the therapeutic frame.  But being a therapist does not mean we ought to sacrifice our sexuality and become celibate.  I think maintaining a healthy sexuality and relational life  is an essential part of being able to be to serve my community and my clients. Knowing that those personal needs are being attended to outside of the therapy room.

Grindr and its ilk has changed the way we date and meet romantic and sexual partners.  Grindr has only been around for seven years and yet pretty much every gay man I know has had a profile on it, (often deleted and reinstalled).  Love it or hate it, geolocation social networking apps have altered the landscape for how we engage with each other.  Of course, it is not just gay men who use these apps, and there are many gay men who don’t use them at all. But fact is, they are there, and they impact the way we meet and conduct ourselves and there is very little guidance yet on how best to manage their impact.

The instant log-in and nearest proximity, and ability to search for people by various sexual preferences across a range of different apps (many with special interests) and chat to other guys is a huge improvement on standing in a draughty bar drinking on a wintery Saturday night before catching the bus/tube home.

However, there are many challenges which concern me and which aren’t being discussed (there are no journal articles I’ve been able to find on the subject).  It’s also my experience that my peers aren’t discussing this issue either.  There is a shroud of secrecy surrounding how we conduct ourselves on apps.  We may acknowledge using them, but the details of how… ‘no comment.’

So far, our professional bodies have given very little guidance on how we should be using these apps and so I think in the meantime, we need to be thinking about this ourselves.

The situation is even more acute for the gay/bi male staff working in sexual health clinics in Central London where they scores of gay men every day and then after work, go online where they may run across people who have been patients earlier that day.

So I’m undertaking a Survey Monkey to gather more information and conducting a brief piece of research which I will present at our Pink Therapy conference next year and hope to get something into the therapy literature to help other therapists.

Dominic Davies
22 August 2016

A study of app use among Gay/Bi Male Therapists & Health Care Workers


We would like to invite you to participate in a research study being carried out by Pink Therapy investigating app use among Gay/Bi Male Therapists & Health Care Workers.  You should only participate if you want to; choosing not to take part will not disadvantage you in any way. Before you decide whether you want to take part, it is important for you to understand why the research is being done and what your participation will involve.  Please take time to read the following information carefully and discuss it with others if you wish.  Ask us if there is anything that is not clear or if you would like more information.

What are the aims of the research?

We’re aware there is a huge lack of guidance being given to gay/bi male health care professionals about how to manage the changing face of dating and meeting other guys whilst at the same time managing the ethical boundaries inherent in being able to provide high quality professional care to our community.  We want to understand more about how people who use the apps do so, and the kind of challenges they face.  This first phase of the research is to gather some general information.  We hope later to be able to undertake some more detailed interviews.

Who is being asked to take part?

We are inviting all gay/bi men who have experience of using sex/dating apps and who work as therapists or healthcare professionals to take part in this study.  This includes counsellors, psychotherapists, counselling psychologists, etc, as well as health care workers such as medical doctors, registered nurses, sexual health advisors, peer volunteers, health care assistants, etc. 

What will happen if I agree to take part?

If you agree to take part, you will be asked to complete an online, anonymous survey that should take approximately 15 minutes to fill out.  We will ask all participants who complete the survey to provide a name, contact number, and email address if you are interested in taking part in a follow-up interview.  However, it is not compulsory to do so. 

What are the benefits for me if I choose to participate?

We cannot guarantee that there are any benefits to you personally from volunteering to complete the online survey, although you may find it helpful to think about your experiences and reflect on them in supervision.  The information you provide will be used to help us think about the training needs of therapists and healthcare workers.  You will be making a valuable contribution to an under-researched area in the healthcare professions. 

What are the possible risks for me if I choose to participate?

We are not aware of any risks of taking part in this research study. 

Will my taking part in this study be kept confidential?

All information you provide will be kept strictly confidential.   No identifying information is required for those completing the online survey.  The information you provide will be used for data analysis.  The results from this study may be published, however you will not be personally identified in any literature.  The information you provide will be accessed only by members of the research team for the purpose of this study, and will not be shared with any other parties.  The only exception to this would be any information you give us which could indicate that you or somebody else is at risk of harm or any evidence of negligence or malpractice in your work.  We do not consider this likely, and unless the situation requires immediate action, we would inform you and involve you in our response.

Should you be interested in participating in a follow-up interview after completing the survey, we will ask you to provide your name, contact number, and email address to enable us to get in touch with you.  This information will be kept strictly confidential and will be separated from the data provided in your online survey answers.  As the follow-up interviews represent a different phase of the overall research project and are not a requirement of participation, a separate Participant Information Sheet will be provided to those taking part at a later stage. 

Who is organising this research?

This project is being carried out by Dominic Davies, Fellow BACP, MNCP Accred. FNCS, and Director of Pink Therapy – the UK’s largest independent therapy organisation working with gender and sexual diversity clients.  The research is being conducted in line with the Ethical Guidelines for Researching Counselling and Psychotherapy, as well at the Ethical Guidelines for the Counselling Profession, both of which are published by the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP). 

Do I have to participate in this study?

Participation in this study is entirely voluntary and you can withdraw at any time, without giving reason for doing so.  Please be aware that it is not normally possible for us to identify survey responses since no identifying information is used for the phase of the study.  Therefore, any data you supply may still be used by the research team for the purposes of analysis and publication. 

Further Information

If you have any questions or require more information about this study, please contact Dominc Davies – dominic.davies@pinktherapy.com

If you have any concerns about this study or feel it has harmed you in any way, you can contact Professor Darren Langdridge darren.langdridge@open.ac.uk

Click here to undertake the survey https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/Y3HKRF9 

Do we therapists have an ethical duty to attend to our own sexual needs?

I recently delivered a training day on working with erotic transference and counter-transference. I must confess that teaching is one of the ways in which I learn best. I research the subject, sometimes masochistically, torturing myself about not knowing enough thus reading even more. When in fact I reflect and process the material over and over and over… And keep this reflection alive in me when supporting supervisees or working with clients. Then eventually I reflect some more to come up with my own understanding and my own experience. I gain further learning by hearing the students’ reflections on the material. This time what came up strongly was around therapists’ self care.


I find the subject of erotic transference to be a vast one: it encompasses so many aspects of human relationships like love, intimacy, attachment, attraction, choice of partners, sexuality and of course SEX. Yes sex, a subject that appears to still be the great taboo in our generic counselling and psychotherapy training. Of course there is a lot written about it, not a lot talked about and even less taught. Erotic transference and counter-transference can be unique means to work at depth with the therapeutic relationship, a delicate work of accepting the invitation for intimacy without shaming or acting out and working within safe boundaries.


When considering the many dynamics of erotic and sexual feelings in the therapy room, it occurs to me that erotic counter-transference can be happening if we, therapists have not been listening to our sexual needs and attended to them in our private life. It can be very difficult and demanding for therapists to hear the sexual exploits, joys, hopes and/or distresses of clients, for all these can resonate and interface with the therapist’s own erotic world. This is why, in the various training events I facilitate, I invite my students (often very qualified therapists) to explore their own sexuality and relationship with sex. But let’s not kid ourselves, this work can be a long and slow process that includes exploring our shadow and other uncomfortable territories. I find this work on self essential in order to be aware of our erotic templates, core themes, fantasies, desires and needs. Of course, some of it can be looked at in therapy, couple or relationship therapy and possibly supervision. I therefore raise the question and pose that the sexual part of our selves needs to be nurtured as well as nourished. Without this we will risk addressing our needs within our consulting rooms and getting our own sexual gratification via the client’s material or transference (sometimes outside of our awareness) and THAT is unethical.


So here it is: as part of our self care, do we have an ethical duty to be sexually ‘fulfilled’ in our private lives so we can be safer when exploring (amongst other subjects) the erotic in the consulting room?


PS: This thoughts may appear to be irrelevant to certain asexual, demi-sexual or post sexual therapists on a personal level, yet be useful in their supervisory capacity.

Olivier Cormier-Otaño mBACP Accred
Counsellor, Psychosexual therapist and Supervisor




Seriously Purple -Micro aggressions

I’ve been wanting to write this blog for a little while now and I’ve just returned from the Vigil on Old Compton Street to show solidarity with the LGBTIQ folk across the world who are facing homo, bi and trans phobia and hatred within their communities and especially with the people affected by the massacre by a man with a gun shooting over a hundred people at the weekend most of them People of Colour (49 deaths and wounding at least 53 more). But many others have written eloquently about the Massacre, and so this blog isn’t about that.

This blog is about hatred, but not the shooting-your-neighbour-and-their-friends kind of hate, but the impact of what have come to be called the ‘Microaggressions of everyday life’.  The tiny sneers, avoidant gazes and snickers at someone else expense. Being basted with a toxic marinade every day and wherever we go. It’s a very subtle form of hatred that is done to us, and we do to each other.

I think we all know by now the emotional and psychological costs of Minority Stress on the lives of Gender, Sexuality and Relationship Diverse people. The elevated rates of depression and self harm, alcohol and substance misuse, and anxiety and other major mental health problems. The research has largely focussed on LGBT people and has shown much more elevated levels of mental health distress amongst bi and trans folk. 

This is the impact of living on a planet where people are made to feel bad for who they love and how they express themselves.  Research seems to show that for many people finding ‘community’ and selectively sharing the information about one’s gender and/or sexuality, tends to have a positive effect on mental health.  There is even some evidence that being in a relationship is good for our mental health and can build resilience and have physical and mental health benefits.

But when you have found your tribe or community, and when you’ve found someone to share your life with, and maybe even marry them – does life get easier?  I’m not sure it does.  At least it’s not as simple as that.  Every time you reveal yourself IMG_7116to be who you are you’re likely to receive some forms of micro aggression.  Whenever I hold a partners hand out in public, I will almost always encounter some micro aggression or when I’m pulling on my leathers to go to a bar in town for a drink on a Saturday night and travelling on the tube or bus, or when I’m wearing something fab-u-lous like the purple hat I’m sporting here, I will encounter someone else’s negative reaction.  These micro aggressions are most common when I’m amongst the hetero-majority.   People will see that I’m queer and respond accordingly, in a microsecond.  Probably before they’re even aware they’ve responded and if you see them – you will register the tiny micro aggression and it can eat away at your soul and if you don’t feel you have a soul, it will eat away at your confidence, in time. 

When I was with a few thousand other wonderful people on Old Compton Street nobody seemed to care, but a few minutes walk away and my ‘gaydar’ detected two or three individuals who undoubtedly batted for our team and were very close friends with Dorothy, each of whom found a way to ensure I didn’t exist!

So we think by being out and proud and living our authentic life, and being our own special creation, everything is going to be fine and dandy – and most of the time they are. And sometimes they are not.  Sometimes, we can be as guilty about quietly spooning out this marinade over each other and THAT IS NOT GOOD.  We can see someone, especially someone who is looking more fabulous than we are, or behaving in a loud and outrageous manner and giving the game away and we too can ladle it out with a sneer or avoid their gaze, snicker, not want to be seen as like THAT! Not wanting to be one-of-THOSE-people. We can also do it when someone’s body-shape doesn’t match the gay or lesbian ‘ideal’, when someone is significantly older than the others in the bar or club, and when their gender presentation is outside what is considered the accepted cultural ‘norm’.  The years of having to hide, and pass and survive, leaves us all with a legacy, whereby we often, quite unconsciously, avoid acknowledging each other, we withhold our smiles of recognition and warmth for a kindred spirit and THAT IS NOT GOOD!

I think we need to continue to build community, celebrate diversity and be kind to each other and if someone is a bit more full-on or different than we are when we see them in the street, perhaps we can smile and wink and celebrate our differences and our similarities.


Dominic Davies
CEO Pink Therapy – June 2016


This captures my feelings very well.
Dominic Davies
CEO Pink Therapy.

Law and Sexuality

BfYEUy95_400x400Sometimes events can change everything.  Other times, they serve to crystalise realities, (re)presenting the truths of our times.  Whether the tragic events of Orlando will have a lasting effect remains to be seen.  Right now, they serve as an awful lens through which we find ourselves reappraising our society.

For many, the events will have resulted in a desire to hug a loved one just that little bit closer, that little bit longer in the hours that followed.  For many, far too many, fifty at present, those loved ones are gone.  Lost in a hail of bullets delivered by a deeply disturbed individual with apparently a flawed sense of meaning, they can neither comfort nor be comforted again.  Desperate texts that have come to light suggest some of those at Pulse club drew their last breaths cowering in toilets as a murderous gunman unleashed his hate on the gay club…

View original post 651 more words