Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Healing Sex: A Mind Body Approach to Healing Sexual Trauma

On April 26 TJP had the great honor of co-sponsoring an all-day workshop with Staci Haines, founder of Generative Somatics. The workshop was attended by a large group of body workers, activists, advocates, mental health professionals and healers. It was intense, invigorating, and incredibly relevant to the work we are trying to do in TJP. Here we reprint, with her permission, the introduction to her book entitled Healing sex: A mind body approach to healing trauma. We hope to follow up with some more personal pieces about participants' experiences at the workshop.

Introduction to the Second Edition

Staci K. Haines

In 1999, when this book was first published as The Survivor’s Guide to Sex: How to Have an Empowered Sex Life after Child Sexual Abuse, I haggled over the title with the publisher. I wanted the word somatics in the title; the publisher understandably said no one would know what that meant. The next round continued over the term trauma and whether people would understand that word in the context of child sexual abuse. Now, here we are eight years later, and trauma is a more commonplace concept. Well beyond the boundaries of psychology, the general public uses the term to describe anything from the impact of war on soldiers and civilians to the intimate traumas of domestic violence and sexual abuse. And while somatics doesn’t roll off of everyone’s tongues, mind/body integration is recognized as something relevant to healing and learning.

To read this introduction, click here.

Monday, April 19, 2010

If you do one thing today...

by Stacey Prince

Dear Allies,

If you do one thing today to work on your allyship skills, I hope it will be to watch this brief, 13 minute video. It contains excerpts from the keynote speech given by Dr. Omi Osun Joni L. Jones, Director of the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies at the University of Texas / Austin at the 17th Annual Emerging Scholarship in Women’s and Gender Studies Conference in February of 2010. Dr. Jones suggests 6 rules for allies (across ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, etc.). The rules include going beyond being “liberal” (being willing to be a warrior for equality), speaking up and naming injustice when you see it, never asking a person in an oppressed group to “be patient,” recognizing the new, more subtle and insidious forms of racisim/sexism/homophobia (as opposed to some of the more overt and egregious forms of discrimination in the past), welcoming the feedback when someone calls you out on your own racism/sexism/homophobia, and considering the transgressive power of alternative, non-traditional modalities and strategies to undo systems of oppression.

But please don’t take my word for it, and just watch this 13 minute video--Dr. Jones elaborates on these rules for allies with power, humor and passion. Her words inspire and challenge without shaming. The transcript is great, too (and contains material not given in the excerpted video) but the video is terrific. We are all allies to someone… I hope you’ll check this out.

To view video click here.

To view transcript click here.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Dual Relationships (Life in a Small Town)

by Stacey Prince

The American Psychological Association’s official stance on dual relationships is to try to avoid them. Associations with clients that extend beyond the therapy relationship have the potential to be exploitive, harmful, and at the very least confusing. This includes friendships, business relationships, and certainly sexual relationships, which are categorically prohibited with both former and current clients, for obvious and sound reasons.

However, the reality is that in certain communities paths can cross in ways that create sometimes unavoidable dual relationships. For example, if you are the only mental health professional in a rural community who treats a particular disorder, you may end up providing psychotherapy to someone with whom you have another type of association as well (for example, your child’s schoolteacher, or the owner of a local business you frequent). In these situations the APA ethical guidelines encourage us to carefully consider the pros and cons of such relationships, weighing the necessity of treatment and availability of alternatives against the potential risks. The guidelines suggest that multiple relationships that would not reasonably be expected to cause impairment or risk exploitation or harm are not necessarily unethical, but that the clinician should carefully consider all potential outcomes when entering into such relationships.

Another community in which dual relationships are sometimes unavoidable is the LGBT community. Even in a sizable city such as Seattle, clients and therapists frequently run into each other at LGBT social and political events, there may be a higher incidence of intentional dual relationships when therapists wish to support LGBT owned businesses, and we more often find ourselves in the awkward situation of dating someone who is friends with (or once dated, or once was the client or therapist of) one’s own client or therapist. In an article on this topic Laura Brown (1998) referred to lesbian and gay communities as “sociological and psychological small towns,” in which members frequently and unavoidably cross paths.

To read entire article click here.

Monday, April 5, 2010

No More Blank Slate

by Stacey Prince

Life as a psychotherapist in the internet age has changed quite a bit as a result of the proliferation of social networking sites, use of the web as a resource to locate treatment providers, and sites like YouTube that can take anything mundane and make it go viral. Used to be, when someone came in to see me for an initial session they knew nothing about me except perhaps what they had heard from a friend who referred them, or what they gathered in our phone conversations to set up the appointment. Now, not only do they have the intentional communication of information about me through my website (which includes, as it does for most of us, a fair amount of information about my background, education, orientation to psychotherapy, a link to my CV, etc.) but they also have access to a whole bunch of unintentionally communicated information about me.

For example, there is the video my partner and I filmed for Equal Rights Washington. A series of these videos, entitled “One minute for marriage,” were filmed during the campaign to support domestic partner laws in WA State. The one of my partner and I shows us up close and personal (I wish that guy had backed away with the camera just a little bit!) talking about why we think DP laws are important in general, as well as a few personal experiences that have led us to want greater protections to be legislated. In the end, we kiss. Several clients have commented on the video, which was posted on ERW’s home page and somehow, like so many things, ended up on YouTube. 256 views—yikes!

To read entire article click here.