“I work from a trauma-informed and strength-based perspective, and as such, it’s deeply important to me to directly confront the toxic power of shame by contextualizing our coping mechanisms as examples of our bodies’ incredible resiliency and drive to keep us safe and going.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I became a therapist by way of writing, and then sex education. In 2015, I became a part-time freelance writer, and noticed that everything I wrote had to do with sexuality, body image, and healing from trauma via embodied and intentional pleasure practices. I decided to pursue this and became certified as a holistic sex educator. From there, I worked as a rape crisis health educator, an independent sex educator, and a sex and relationships columnist. I quickly found that I wanted to support clients beyond the short-term intervention of reproductive health education and crisis counseling, so I pursued a master’s in social work at Hunter College, where I focused my clinical practice on cultural competency with sex workers.
What should someone know about working with you?
The most important facet of therapy is meeting each client where they are with regard to their goals and needs. I like to get a sense of who you are during our first sessions, but I recognize that trust takes time and opening up to someone new is a vulnerable and oftentimes intimidating process. I work from a trauma-informed and strength-based perspective, and as such, it’s deeply important to me to directly confront the toxic power of shame by contextualizing our coping mechanisms as examples of our bodies’ incredible resiliency and drive to keep us safe and going. I welcome feedback to help me structure my approach to your needs, and recognize that I am not the expert in your life or your healing—you are.
How does collaboration with other providers inform your work?
I’m eager and willing to work with other providers! I’m open to consulting with psychiatrists and nutritionists, and I also realize that the ways of being and healing are many and varied. I’m interested in what speaks to my clients, and what “languages” my clients speak, in terms of healing and self-awareness. Many of us are drawn to astrology, tarot, reiki, BDSM, dream interpretation, art, movement/dance, and other creative practices as ways of understanding ourselves and the world we live in. With every client, I bring a sense of curiosity and humility to our work together. How do you see the world? What helps you understand yourself? Nothing is off the table, and there are no wrong answers—only opportunities to explore.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
Speaking from my own personal circle, I am most excited about the number of sex workers I know who are either working as practicing therapists or are in school to become therapists. For too long, mental health as a field—psychology, social work, etc.—has been so full of gatekeeping and elitism that folks with marginalized lived experiences (queer folks, BIPOC folks, sex workers) have had a hard time breaking in. While this is still the case, I know a growing number of sex workers who—with tenacity, determination, and persistence beyond anything I’ve ever seen—are taking up space in the landscape of mental health, deconstructing respectability politics head on, and serving our communities not as voyeurs or saviors, but as peers and comrades.
Why sex workers?
Sex workers have always been positioned as a disruptive social element—threatening normative conceptions of gender, sexuality, and labor—and have historically threatened the status quo by charging for work that has typically been “feminized” and therefore devalued (care work, erotic and intimate labor). Sex work is the nexus where all the other -isms collide. Centering sex workers, then, is “grasping things at the root” (Angela Davis) in order to unravel and heal from the harms of racism, capitalism, and cisheteropatriarchy. As a therapist, I believe that if we are to heal ourselves, we must also take steps toward deconstructing the systems that have harmed us. I feel I can most effectively do this by centering the experiences of sex workers in my own work.
“Nothing is off the table, and there are no wrong answers—only opportunities to explore.”
Interested in speaking with Christina?