Shame and sexuality

Shame and sexuality often have powerful interactions with one another, and I have extensive experience working with people with powerful, even horrifying, sexual shame. This shame relates to things they’ve thought and things they’ve done; things they’ve seen and things that have been done to them.

In September 2019, the New York Times published an article about images of children on the internet, and the people who create, and consume, those images. I wrote this letter in response to that article. It gives a good sense of how I think about people struggling with shame and sexuality, and with attractions, desires, or behaviors, that are inconvenient, or worse, criminal.

I’ve worked with people with a history of, facing charges for, or at risk of committing, a wide variety of sex crimes, including but not limited to (this list is in alphabetical order):

Child abuse/molestation
Child pornography/child sexual abuse material (possession, distribution)
Domestic violence
Exhibitionism
Frotteurism (fondling)
Minor attraction (pedophilia/hebephilia/ephebophilia)
Rape
Sex trafficking
Sexual assault/abuse
Unlawful surveillance (voyeurism)
Voyeurism

I have been accredited by the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, and many years ago, I became a Certified Sex Offender Treatment Provider. In addition, I am on the approved list of recommended therapists maintained by the Association for Sex Abuse Prevention, an organization formed to provide support for non-offending minor-attracted persons (MAPs) who want to avoid acting on their attraction to children.

These certifications and affiliations – though often appreciated by lawyers and courts – are not what makes me a good therapist for a person charged with or worried about committing a sex crime, or struggling with desires you might find overwhelming, or shameful, or both.

I might be a good therapist for you because I have bottomless empathy and curiosity, and judgment of others is not in my job description. I have extensive experience working with people wrongfully accused, as well as with those who did indeed commit the crimes with which they were charged.

I work the same way with everyone, and am interested in your experience, not in questions of guilt or innocence.

Whether you choose to work with me or with someone else, if you are attracted to minors, I recommend this page, published by B4UAct, an organization that promotes professional services and resources for self-identified individuals (adults and adolescents) who are sexually attracted to children and want therapy.

Confidentiality

Many people worry about the confidentiality of what they tell their therapists. When we first speak, we will discuss my ethical and legal obligations – and my approach to them – as it relates to confidentiality.

It is vitally important to me that you feel safe talking with me, that you’re not worried about the possibility that you might “get in trouble” for what you say in therapy.

I have never reported a patient to the authorities

Please click here to learn more about my thoughts about confidentiality