Tag Archives: mental health

Introducing the Sexuality Speaker Series

I am very excited to be collaborating with Michael Aaron on another groundbreaking project in service of alternative sexuality communities!  The inaugural 2016-2017 season will tackle issues including: harm reduction for compulsive sexual behavior; the ameliorating aspects of pain within a BDSM context; therapeutic use of psychedelics such as ibogaine in the treatment of sexual trauma; queer masculinities; men having sex with men (MSM); and evolving sexuality during gender transition. More info on SSS and the 2nd annual AltSex NYC Conference in the update below!

 

SSSlogo3

Hello friends, colleagues, and community!

The creators of the AltSex NYC Conference are pleased to introduce the Sexuality Speakers Series (SSS), a New York City arena for clinical and educational discussion on cutting-edge sexuality topics rarely discussed elsewhere and that few others are willing to tackle. Each monthly 90-minute talk has been approved by New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work and AASECT for 1.5 continuing education credits. The 2016-2017 season begins on September 20, 2016, and tickets for the entire season are on sale now. Seating is very limited and likely to sell out, so click here to register sooner than later for the talks you absolutely don’t want to miss. 

Also, save the date for the 2nd annual AltSex NYC Conference on Friday, April 28, 2017, and stay tuned for a call for proposals beginning on July 1 with a deadline of September 16, 2016! 

Cheers,

Michael Aaron, PhD and Dulcinea Pitagora, MA, LMSW

SexualitySpeakerSeries.org
AltSexNYCconference.org

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1st Annual AltSex NYC Conference 2016—10 Days Left for Regular Registration

Hello Friends, Colleagues, and Community!

I couldn’t be more excited to be involved in organizing and producing the 1st Annual AltSex NYC Conference on April 22, 2016 alongside Dr. Michael Aaron. Please see the stellar line up of speakers below, and note that the best time to buy tickets is now, before regular registration ends and prices go up on April 1.

Please also note that the conference has officially been approved by New York State for 6.5 social work continuing education credits, and also by AASECT for 6.5 continuing education credits.

If you have obligations that will keep you from attending the conference in person, you can attend remotely via live streaming, which is also eligible for continuing education credits.

Cheers,

Dulcinea

1st Annual AltSex NYC Conference

Friday, April 22, 2016
8:15am – 5:15pm

Midtown Manhattan
CEs available*

Introducing the 1st Annual AltSex NYC Conference—where clinicians, academics, and alt lifestyle community members will come together for a full day of sex-positive, alternative lifestyle affirmative, cutting edge research-based,  and current practice-informed seminars and discussions presented by a stellar collection of New York City educators and mental health providers.   

LIVE STREAMING (WITH CE’S) IS AVAILABLE FOR REMOTE ATTENDEES! 

8:15AM — Welcome Address

8:30AM — Keynote Address by Margaret Nichols, PhD
“Kink is Good: BDSM in the Context of New Models of Sex and Gender Variance”

10:05AM — Zhana Vrangalova, PhD
“Myths and Realities of Consensual Non-Monogamy”

11:05AM — Dulcinea Pitagora, MA, LMSW and Michael Aaron, PhD
“The Kink-Poly Confluence: Community Intersections and Clinical Approaches”

12:05PM — Lunch Break

1:20PM — Michael Aaron, PhD
“Facing Your Shadow: The Healing Potential of Psychological Edge Play”

2:20PM — Rosalyn Dischiavo, EdD, CSES
“Metamorphosis: Braving Transitions in Polyamorous Relationships”

3:30PM — David Ortmann, LCSW
“Age Play: Eros, Practicality, and Walking the Edge”

4:30PM — Panel Discussion & Final Words (optional)

produced by
Michael Aaron, PhD and Dulcinea Pitagora, MA, LMSW

*PROGRAM APPROVED: The AltSexNYC Conference has been approved by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as a continuing education provider (# 0314) for licensed social workers. 

*PROGRAM APPROVED:  This program meets the requirements of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) and is approved for 6.5 AASECT CE Credits. These CE Credits may be applied toward AASECT certification and renewal of certification.

A portion of the AltSex NYC Conference proceeds will be donated to the Community-Academic Consortium for Research on Alternative Sexualities (CARAS) in appreciation of their continued dedication to supporting and promoting excellence in the study of alternative sexualities. 

For more information, visit AltSexNYCconference.org.

Midtown Manhattan

New York, NY
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Sliding Scale Appointments Now Available!

I have the pleasure of announcing that beginning this summer I will be working under the supervision of Dr. Kelly Wise, psychotherapist and AASECT certified sex therapist. I’ll be taking on a limited number of sliding scale appointments at his Union Square office, working with individuals, couples, non-traditional relationships and families, and current or former sex workers dealing with issues across the spectrum of gender identification/expression, sexual orientation/expression, D/s dynamics, relationship status, intersections thereof, and beyond. Please contact me directly via email or my contact page for more information, or call me at 917-675-3446 for a free 15-minute phone consultation. I will continue working at PCGS and my private practice as well, and if for some reason we won’t be able to work together, I recommend taking a look at ManhattanAlternative.com, a referral listing for alternative lifestyle affirmative providers.

NOTE: The content of this blog is owned by Dulcinea Pitagora. See Terms and Conditions for republishing restrictions/allowances.

Learning the Language of Grief

This week I was asked to facilitate a suicide bereavement group in collaboration with Persist Health Project to support those who had recently lost someone important to them.  This person also happened to be a leader in their community, and someone who had offered support and strength to many beyond their immediate circle of loved ones.  We sat together that morning in an effort to learn and teach each other the language of grief.

Please note, the following does not represent mine or any one else’s voice in particular, and is not meant to be a distillation or summation of all voices present, but represents a few of the ideas and feelings that were shared as our thoughts and emotions intersected and diverged.

We sat facing each other and talked about our emotions, the emotions of those who knew the person well and had seen them recently, and the emotions of those who had only met them once or twice but had been affected deeply by their fierce activism. Collectively, we were sad, shocked, confused, angry, numb, hurt, speechless, frustrated, anguished, heavy, isolated, overwhelmed, afraid, hopeless, guilty. We also felt love for the person who is now gone, and for others in our respective and intersecting communities. We also felt hate for the forces in the world that make life so difficult to live at times, and for the internal forces that can exist within individuals that sometimes lead towards destruction. We wondered what it means to die, to kill yourself, to exist after someone you care about kills themselves, what anything means, whether anything really has meaning, how meaning changes, how emotions change, how things can get better, then worse, then better, how nothing stays the same. We talked about wanting to take care of each other, and to take care of ourselves, and not always knowing how to do either. We talked about how sometimes taking care of yourself is a way to take care of someone else important to you, and asking for help for yourself is a way to help your community. We asked a lot of questions, and the most concrete answer was that there is sometimes no answer, because sometimes the answer is in the asking.

We talked about the different ways we react at different times to different people after something like this happens. We talked about the importance of self-expression, about fighting the good fight, about listening to music, about engaging all senses, about communication, about sex, about feeding yourself, about simply existing, about just being there, about sitting in uncomfortable silence, about trying, about letting go of meaning making, about asking for help.

It’s hard to talk about death and about grief because it’s not something we’re ever really taught to do in Western culture, so it’s like learning a new language. In the silence that comes with not knowing what to say or how to feel about things like suicide or grieving, there can be loneliness and isolation, and even those who seem to be the most prosocial and surrounded by support can be lonely and isolated and not seem like they are at all.

An experience like the one I describe above can never be encapsulated or distilled down in a way that accurately represents each individual’s perspective, but I will leave you with some thoughts that I feel are useful to contemplate.  Self-care can be as simple as becoming aware of one’s internal processes and emotions, even if that awareness is that there is a certain lack of awareness or ability to be aware.  Learning how to communicate transparently and empathetically with others is a work in progress that is not always easy, and can be clouded by grief.  Engaging with and strengthening our respective and intersecting communities can be active ways to support those we care about while strengthening our own support systems.

Finally, if I were to voice a take home message, it would be this: We sat facing each other.  It wasn’t about the sitting, or the direction we were sitting, but we shared space.  People came out to share space together, to take care of each other, to take care of themselves.

I will be offering free therapy sessions at the Persist Health Project office to those in mourning in the wake of this tragedy on Monday afternoons through April. Contact me directly through email or call 917-675-3446.

Some additional resources:

Parachute NYC provides alternatives to hospitalization for people experiencing emotional crises.

The Support Line is a free and confidential phone service operated by peer staff that offers support and referral services to NYC individuals experiencing emotional distress: 646-741-HOPE.

1-800-LIFENET is a free, confidential, multi-lingual, mental health and substance abuse information, referral, and crisis prevention hotline available to anyone at any time.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline—by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) you’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.

The Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention is a public-private partnership advancing the Surgeon General’s National Strategy for Suicide Prevention.

The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.

Persist Health Project is a peer-led, community-based health and community organizing project based on Brooklyn, New York that provides health referrals, health education, mental health services, herbal health services, peer support, job training, and leadership development for communities involved with and/or impacted by the sex trade.

ManhattanAlternative.com is a network of therapeutic service providers in New York City who are sex-positive, affirmative, and have expertise related to issues that kink, poly, consensually non-monogamous, trans, gender non-conforming, and/or LGBQ-identified individuals face.

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NCSF Guest Blog: Disclosure and Outness as a Therapist with Intersecting Atypical Identifications

I was recently exchanging emails with NCSF (the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom)’s Susan Wright about ManhattanAlternative, and she asked me to elaborate on my motivation for organizing the collaborative.  Our conversation inspired me to write the following, which NCSF subsequently posted as a guest blog

 

Excerpt:

Prior to starting my practice as a therapist, I was confronted with contradicting perspectives on the therapist’s disclosure of personal information to their clients.  The prevailing thought behind this in the mental health field is that the therapeutic environment is not a place for therapists to disclose too much about themselves—therapy is about the client, not about the therapist, and disclosing personal information might distract clients from the therapeutic process for a variety of reasons.  Having said that, recent research has shown potential benefits in certain types of disclosure, particularly when the therapist is a member of a sexual minority group, and the client in question might feel safer with a therapist who shares their marginalized identification(s).

Read more…

 

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ManhattanAlternative.com is live!

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ManhattanAlternative.com is a network of therapeutic service providers in New York City who are sex-positive, affirmative, and have expertise related to issues that kink, poly, consensually non-monogamous, trans, gender non-conforming, and/or LGBQ-identified individuals face.  The collaborative was created in 2014 by Dulcinea Pitagora, MA, LMSW in an effort to address the lack of openly affirmative support to the communities that she has been a part of and a mentor in for many years.  The providers listed on ManhattanAlternative.com believe that individuals with atypical identifications should have access to support without fear of being further stigmatized, or having to waste time, energy, and money educating providers on characteristics of or behaviors related to their preferences and identifications.

We hope to provide people seeking affirmative health care with a network of providers that is as inclusive and diverse as possible. Therefore, we encourage therapists and health care professionals of varying races, ethnicities, gender expressions, and abilities to fill out the Provider Application Form if they are interested in being listed as a kink/poly/trans/LGBQ-affirmative provider.

Please bookmark and share widely!

NOTE: The content of this blog is owned by Dulcinea Pitagora. See Terms and Conditions for republishing restrictions/allowances.

The 100 Stone Project—Sanctuary, Illumination, Honor

I recently became aware of this incredibly creative initiative in support and celebration of those who struggle with mental health—check out 100stoneproject.com and get involved!  From the site:

100Stone_Logo_Transparent100 Stone is a public art installation of 100 life-sized figures made from and by those who struggle with mental health, and those who know and love them.

“Our work sessions are not necessarily a place to talk. They are meant to serve as a place to honor the conditions of those who suffer, and provide respite from burdensome mindstates—a few hours to step away from our daily routines and experience something unusual, surrounded by people who truly see and accept us. It is a chance to leave the impression of our story quietly and safely, joined by those whose will it is to stand witness to this significant moment.”

Sarah Davies, Project Lead

100Stone is a creative placemaking initiative—a public art installation of 100 life-sized figures made from and by those who face challenges to mental wellness, and the families and communities who know and love them. It is a unique approach to suicide prevention and wellness promotion that anticipates that the byproducts of acceptance, and the celebration of the stories, passions, and creativity of some of our most vulnerable community members will be the most critical elements of prevention—respite, sanctuary, alertness, and compassionate action. It is a place, time and action purposed for the dissolution of shame and celebration of diverse conditions of the mind.

To get involved, go to 100stoneproject.com/contact or contact Sarah Davies directly via email.

NOTE: The content of this blog is owned by Dulcinea Pitagora. See Terms and Conditions for republishing restrictions/allowances.

Call for NYC Alt Lifestyle Affirmative Providers!

Great news! I’m putting the finishing touches on ManhattanAlternative.com, a network of therapeutic service providers in New York City who are sex-positive, affirmative, and have expertise related to issues that kink, poly, consensually non-monogamous, trans, gender non-conforming, and/or LGBQ-identified individuals face.

I hope to provide people seeking affirmative health care with as many options as possible, so my goal is that the network of providers be as inclusive and diverse as possible. Therefore, I am putting a call out to ask for therapists and health care professionals of varying races, ethnicities, gender expressions, and abilities to contact me directly via therapy@DulcineaPitagora.com or fill out the Provider Application Form if they are interested in being listed as a kink/poly/trans/LGBQ-affirmative provider.

Please pass it on—thank you!

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New Collaboration: A Therapeutic Space for Sex Workers

I am so excited and proud to be collaborating with Persist Health Project and Jarad Ringer, LMSW on the launch of a new therapeutic space for sex workers at Persist’s office in Brooklyn!

Persist Health Project is a peer-led, community-based health organization based in Brooklyn, New York, created by and for sex workers, trafficking survivors, and anyone who has traded sex for money, food, drugs, or other resources. Persist provides health referrals, health education, peer support—and now therapeutic counseling at reduced rates!

Persist Health Project

“We believe that when we take control of our health and wellness together and build spaces to get safe,
affordable health care, we work as a community to create positive social change.”

Jarad Ringer has extensive experience in the areas of mental health and direct services, teaching, research, community organizing, programmatic supervision and development, as well as social policy. He utilizes integrated evidence-based practice and harm reduction approaches in his work and has expertise in working with LGBTQ and HIV-affected communities, trauma and anti-violence work, sex workers, members of BDSM and kink communities, as well as drug use, mood and anxiety disorders, and people living with chronic physical illnesses. Jarad is in private clinical practice and a Board Member of the Providers of Resources Offering Services to Sex Workers (PROS) Network.  Jarad can be contacted at 732-890-1719 or jaradlmsw@gmail.com.

If you or someone you know is a sex worker and would like to arrange a therapy appointment, or would like information on the other services Persist provides, get in touch with Persist’s Care Coordinator Gabrielle at 718-635-1791 or gabrielle@persisthealthproject.org.

NOTE: The content of this blog is owned by Dulcinea Pitagora. See Terms and Conditions for republishing restrictions/allowances.