Pleasure & Pain: Understanding and Treating Kinky Clients

Presented by Neil Cannon, Ph.D., LMFT-S, CST-S

Friday, June 21, 2024

8am-10am PT / 10am-12pm CT / 11am-1pm ET

Event held online via Zoom, link to access provided upon registration.

While many have heard of the popular and terribly informed kink relationship between the characters, Mr. Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, in the book series, Fifty Shades of Grey, the world of kink and alternative play drastically differs in every aspect to the real kink world. To be kinky and engage in kink is subjectively unique. Those involved in kink play can vary from using a flogger, blindfold, or rope to the acts of humiliation, dominance, and utter submission (Schubert & Pope, 2022). Because of the subjective nature of the kink world, those who practice kink require multiple levels of communication, consideration, and collaboration. Sometimes with such misinformation as seen in the book series mentioned above, individuals and couples exploring kink might find themselves misguided, frustrated, and in conflict with self and with their partner(s) (Cannon & Holmberg-Sasek, 2020). With radical respect and intentional curiosity, the counseling room is a perfect place to explore each of these elements. When working with kinky clients, mental health professionals must take into consideration how to best approach the individual needs as well as the relationship dynamic of each party involved. Since most mental health professionals have not received adequate training to address communication needs and conflicts related to divergent sexual expressions and desires, they may not feel confident or adequate in supporting their kink interested or practicing clients (Cannon & Holmberg-Sasek, 2019).

To bridge the gap of training needed and build confidence among mental health professionals, this presentation aims to address a specific approach to helping couples navigate through sexual and interpersonal conflicts effectively. For this presentation, Dr. Cannon will present the Understanding, Compassion, and Collaboration (UCC Model™) approach to enhance counselors’ abilities to work with kink clients. The UCC Model™ includes a 4-step treatment approach for treating kinky couples, as well as other common concerns in sex therapy, such as: cross dressing, fetishes, and other sexually divergent expressions and interests.

During this session, participants will learn about and apply the four parts of the UCC Model™ including: 1) establishing a safe social engagement system, 2) creating Understanding, 3) building Compassion, 4) and identifying solutions through Collaboration. Learning will occur through lecture, reflective processing, and role playing specific scenarios wherein the UCC may be incorporated.

Zoom link will be available on course page in “My Courses” upon event registration. 

This program, when attended in its entirety, offers 2.0 CEs for Psychologists, 2.0 IL CEUS for Counselors and Social Workers, or 2.0 BBS California CEUs for LPCCs, LPSWs, and LMFTs.