"When working with sex workers in the therapeutic context, a resilience lens
highlights the importance of therapists not assuming the sex worker’s occupation is the reason for entering therapy...For those who are satisfied with their occupation, psychologists can instead develop interventions to prevent work-related mental health risks and coping mechanisms to handle stigma and oppression rather than assume pathology."
-Burnes et.al, A Resilience-Based Lens of Sex Work: Implications for Professional Psychologists
I am a therapist for sex workers in Oakland, CA. As a therapist for sex workers, I believe it is important that I offer a non-judgmental and affirming perspective that recognizes sex work as a valid and legitimate profession. Being able to not only feel tolerated but to be celebrated and encouraged to show up authentically is crucial for healing in the therapeutic relationship
Therapists for sex workers should acknowledge the challenges of your job, both validating your work under capitalism and not adding to the stigma that you already experience. Psychotherapists should explore how sex workers feel about their work. While working as a sex worker, I personally experienced ruptures with my therapists who attempted to discuss the job as a problem in my life and referred to my job as “easy money.” Having a therapist who understands the experience of stigma and the intricacies of the work can be hugely validating,
Though the dominant narrative insists sex workers are helpless victims, many are adept entrepreneurs who enjoy their work. Enjoying the work or not, some sex workers suffer from embarrassment or stigma and may hide their work from many people in their lives or everyone in their lives. Sex workers may risk prosecution or violence from law enforcement and others. Some wish to exit the field, but stigma complicates career gaps and resumes. I offer cultural humility, deep listening, client-led psychotherapy, and collaborative treatment plans when offering therapy for sex workers.
Looking for a therapist for sex workers in Oakland, CA? Contact me here.
Therapy for sex workers in Oakland, CA
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Stephanie Bain, LMFT
***Resources are not a substitute for therapy and are not intended for making diagnoses or providing treatment. Not all practices and tools are suitable for every person. Please discuss exercises, practices, and tools with your individual therapist or health care provider.