As I say in the prologue to my book, Power, Abused, Power Healed: Every form of power can be used well or misused… Sexuality has been used as a weapon to rape and dominate, as a substitute for unmet childhood bonding and physical touch, and as an exquisite sacred expression of love and union.*
We people in our world have such distortions related to sexuality. It is mind-boggling and heart-boggling! The misuse and abuse of sexuality in our world are mind-boggling and heart-boggling! And the impact on each of us and all of us is so damaging, so destructive.
Women and children are seduced, kidnapped, and sold as sex slaves. Journalists abroad, such as Lara Logan, are attacked brutally and sexually violated, after a revolution succeeds and citizens are celebrating. Children (both boys and girls) are gang raped…an 11 year old in Texas, for example, who was brutally gang-raped, and then, in a modern, progressive newspaper, was blamed for the horrible thing that was done to her.
From the time we were very young, we have not been helped to build the capacity to feel our feelings and work through them. Rather we have been taught to be afraid of our primal, vulnerable feelings, to bury them, to cover them up with other feelings that will hold them at bay…to defend against our real feelings at all costs. We especially defend against our feelings of powerlessness as babies and young children, and then in the years following, perhaps for the rest of our lives. The result…we have numbed and deadened ourselves to defend against the pain, both the pain from long, long ago, and also the pain of here and now experiences.
Once deadened…we seek whatever will make us feel something. Anything but the feelings we’re escaping. We seek whatever will make us feel something we think feels good. Too many of us believe that can come from grabbing, stealing, or vying for power.And too many of us think that can come in the form of sexual arousal. Sexual stimulation. Sexual turn on!
This is very dangerous. For one thing, it leads to too many people who molest and violate children. Too many people who are supposed to be but aren’t safe harbors for the children. Not just children who are strangers, stolen into slavery, but also children living right in our own midst…in our schools, by teachers, in our houses of worship by clergy people, in our families by parents, grand-parents, aunts and uncles, older siblings. The children, powerless to protect themselves, become wounded in ways they never should have to experience. They grow up, often having buried their wounds beneath any awareness. And the wounds haunt them, crying out to be healed, resurfacing in their acting out somehow in their childhood, adolescence, and adult lives.
Often, hopefully, that leads them to the office of a psychotherapist. But hopefully a therapist with integrity, who uses his or her power with great care and positive intention…in the service of the client’s healing. Hopefully a safe psychotherapist.
Unfortunately, too many therapists aren’t safe harbors. Too many therapists don’t use their power well. Too many therapists have their own wounds that they have not worked with, and that they have not healed. Too many therapists are not required to do their own healing work. Too many therapists are not required to have ongoing consultation with another therapist on the work they do with their clients. And as a result …too many psychotherapists have romantic and/or sexual relationships with their clients. I have known at least four male therapists in my life who did this…although it is not the sole domain of men. One was caught and sent to jail. And even then, the professional association in which he was a leader never utilized what had happened to teach its members. How can a professional association not openly and in truth talk about and teach from such a destructive breach of ethics, law, and humanity?
What’s worse…it is very likely that the therapists who violate the sacred boundaries needed to keep their clients safe are creating a re-enactment of an earlier similar wound in their client’s life. And in that re-enactment, the client is once again helpless to protect him/herself, and once again harmed in the process.
This is the current state of our relationship with our real vulnerable feelings, our sexual selves, our early wounds, and the help we seek for healing.
Add to that a young woman who has the audacity to call herself “The Naked Therapist.” Who has the nerve to say she has created “naked therapy.” And who has the gall to promise “power through arousal.” This is a 24-year old woman, not trained or licensed as a psychotherapist. Calling her clients “patients” and charging them $150 an hour to seduce, titillate, and manipulate them into watching her undress, under the guise – the absurd, bizarre, unbelievable guise – of healing.
It should be illegal for her to call what she does “therapy.” Anyone who goes to her is most certainly wounded…going to her is a sign of that. But they won’t heal their wounds with her. Rather they will re-enact them in some still unconscious way. They will compound the original wound in the process. And it is very likely that they will then go out into the world and wound someone else as a result of their original and now re-enacted wounding.
To add insult to injury, what is CBSnews.com doing publishing an article that doesn’t expose this for what it is – abuse! Not only do they not censure what this woman does, they mention she is not licensed, they mention that professional therapy organizations would not approve of what she does, but they go on and talk about what she does…as though it’s okay. Really, their article is used to titillate, which unfortunately in our world, sells stories. This takes us right back to the beginning…how very wounded a society is in which a story like this can be used to titillate and sell a product!
And no one has talked about how very wounded this woman must be to do this at all! Anyone who would go to her must be blind to the depth and seriousness of her wounds, distortions, misuses and abuses of power! When she was a child…Who seduced her into being sexual under the guise of some “good” thing? Who taught her to use her body and her sexual energy to get what she wanted in general? Or to get paid specifically? Who had power in her life and used it “over” her, so misusing and abusing it that her ‘naked therapy’ was the distorted result in her young adulthood?
“Naked Therapy”! A clear and undeniable sign of profound wounds: the wounds of the woman who concocted it! The same woman who pretends to conduct therapy with it! The “patients” who go to her …for whatever reason! The news media that doesn’t expose and censure it! And our society! A blatant and undeniable sign of just how much inner healing we all need to do!
*Judith Barr, Power Abused, Power Healed, Prologue, p.iv
NOTE: Judith Barr’s book, Power Abused, Power Healed, is a rich source for exploration and healing related to the misuse and abuse of power in general, and there are several chapters that are rich resources for discovery and healing related to sexuality:
Chapter Three: What You Feel Can Hurt You
Chapter Eleven: Can You Throw It Over Your Shoulder Like A Continental Soldier?
Chapter Twelve: Playing with Sexual Energy Is Playing with Fire
© Copyright 2011 by Judith Barr, MS, LMHC. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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