The first time I heard about Naked Therapy was on facebook. A friend with a Masters in Social Work who was working on a degree in Human Sexuality was infuriated by the idea that anyone could purport to conduct therapy while nude and that this practice was gaining so much attention.
The friend linked to the site of the web-based practice started by Sarah White and exasperatedly wrote that this kind of thing was going to sully the reputation of the legitimate degree she had worked so hard to obtain. It was similar to the arguments that have been made against sex surrogacy (the practice of having sexual relations with clients in order to achieve a therapeutic outcome).
Despite the fact I too had a degree that had once been referred to as “bullshit and farts” by a friend’s grandfather, I was unperturbed. In fact, I was just really curious. What is a naked therapy session like? What kind of training does this type of therapist receive? I can guess how it’s different from a traditional therapy session, but how is it different from a webcam chat?
After all, many of the exotic dancers and sex workers I’ve known have expressed to me that one of the most significant parts of their job is being a friend and confidant for their clients. Many a stripper has told me that they spend more time listening and being present than anything else.
So maybe there was something to be said for merging the comfort and vulnerability of nudity with the guidance of some trained psychology.
Enter Randy Hastings, the first male to join the Sarah White practice. He was a delight to talk to so I can only imagine what a calming and affirming presence he must be with a client. He answers all my questions about naked therapy, about what it is and what it most certainly is not.