Essential Clinical Care for Sex Workers: A Sex-Positive Handbook for Mental Health Practitioners (Paperback)

Essential Clinical Care for Sex Workers: A Sex-Positive Handbook for Mental Health Practitioners By Theodore R. Burnes, PhD, Jamila M. Dawson, LMFT, Leya Tanit (Foreword by) Cover Image
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An affirming and sex-positive guide to working with sex workers: uncovering clinical biases, creating safe spaces, and dismantling the whorearchy.

Despite the wide range of sex work--from street-based to OnlyFans--clinicians too often focus on what they think sex workers need, instead of building trust, developing rapport, and really doing the work to understand the unique stressors that make quality mental health care essential for sex worker communities. 
    Sex-positive therapists Theodore Burnes and Jamila Dawson break down everything that mental health providers need to know to work effectively with sex workers, while dispeling the tired, pervasive myths that continue to impact treatment today. Readers will learn about:
  • Who sex workers are; different types of sex work; and sex workers’ specific therapy needs
  • How outdated research methodology results in bad data and poor care
  • The whorearchy--the sex-work hierarchy--and why we need to dismantle it 
  • How to recognize and move beyond personal biases
  • How to provide effective, affirming, and better clinical care
  • What words not to use--and what they reveal about the sexism, racism, misogyny, and transphobia embedded in our society (and our practices)
    As sex work changes and evolves, encompassing everything from brothels to cam work, clinical care needs to catch up. This book shows you how.

About the Author

DR. THEO BURNES (he/him/his) is a licensed psychologist and professional clinical counselor in California. His work focuses on human sexual expression and sex-positivity; social justice and advocacy; mental health and wellness for LGBTIQ+ individuals; and qualitative research. He is a fellow of the APA and board member for the California Association for Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors.
JAMILA M. DAWSON (she/her/hers), LMFT, helps people in kink/polyamory/swinger communities explore their sexuality and enhance their relationships, provides personal and career development for new clinicians, and supports Black and POC thrive despite racial battle fatigue. She's lectured at several universities and collaborated with Buzzfeed, Playboy, and Harper’s BAZAAR.

Praise For…

"Theo and Jamila’s guide fills an important gap in training by exploring the identities, needs, and experiences of sex workers. For too long, psychologists and related helping professionals have failed their trainees and those seeking our help both by remaining silent and more overtly denigrating sex workers. Through a sex-positive lens and drawing on relevant scholarship and first-person accounts, the authors provide vital context, relevant legal and worker rights' perspectives, useful clinical examples, and ample opportunities for students, clinicians, and trainers to unpack, re-envision, and employ an affirming, informed model of care for sex workers."
—Debra Mollen, PhD, professor and AASECT-certified sexuality educator at Texas Woman's University

"Essential Clinical Care for Sex Workers is readable, addresses sex work’s complexities thoroughly, and is infinitely necessary. Every clinician should read this, and any sex worker considering seeing a clinician will find key areas to question potential providers about. Commendable, groundbreaking work."
—Stoya, writer, performer, pornographer, and author of Philosophy, Pussycats, and Porn

"Through a sex-positive lens Essential Clinical Care for Sex Workers fills a void in mental health literature. The book addresses the complex dynamics of positionality, oppression, and marginalization, while also weaving in voices of those who have engaged in sex work. The result is a clear, comprehensive, and accessible book that is a must-read for any mental health practitioner."
—SJ Dodd, MSEd, MSW, PhD, director at Silberman Center for Sexuality and Gender and professor at Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, CUNY

Product Details
ISBN: 9781623176808
ISBN-10: 1623176808
Publisher: North Atlantic Books
Publication Date: January 24th, 2023
Pages: 192
Language: English