Are you tired of traditional therapy — sick of talking over your problems with a stranger who doesn't know you and takes your money? Well, what about a stranger who doesn't know you and takes your money — but also takes off her clothes? Meet naked therapist Sarah White.
Profiled in the NY Daily News, White is a 24-year-old computer programmer and "psychology buff" who sees her sessions as an alternative to the traditional couch-and-Kleenex method. She says, "For men especially, who are less likely than women to go to therapy, it is more interesting, more enticing, more exciting. It's a more inspiring approach to therapy." It's true that depression may be rising among men — is a naked therapist what they need to shake off the black dog? White thinks so — on her website, she explains,
If you'll allow me a bit of grandstanding, in my (and others') opinion, the 21st century man is living a schizophrenic existence that is rooted in traditional therapy and exacerbated by the Internet. One part of his life is rational, cold, and concealed. The other part is sexual, raw, and open. In the first part, he judges and talks and thinks about himself and his world in a neutered, socially-acceptable fashion. In the second part, he lets down his guard and looks at porn, has sex, gets emotional, goes wild. Traditional therapy uses the first part (the cold and rational and concealed) to release and conquer the second part (the sexual, raw and open). Naked Therapy takes the opposite approach. Naked Therapy indulges in and explores the second part in an attempt to excite and engage the first part. Both traditional therapy and Naked Therapy have the goal of bringing these two parts together, but only Naked Therapy really succeeds because it goes at it from the right direction.
One man the Daily News spoke to said he might find White's method distracting — "She starts to strip, now she's butt naked. It's going to throw my concentration off." But White says the opposite is the case: her clients "find that when my clothes are off they are more concentrated, insightful, thoughtful, and excited about exploring their life and making positive changes." Unsurprisingly, real therapists aren't convinced — says clinical psychologist Diana Kirschner, "She's using the word therapy here, but I don't consider this therapy. I consider this interactive soft-core Internet porn." And it's worth noting that White is not a licensed therapist.
Nonetheless, her technique seems more silly than harmful. Like Kirschner, I'm skeptical about White's ability to accurately diagnose or effectively treat real mental illnesses. But if dudes (and, apparently, a few women) want to pay $150 to watch a lady strip while they talk about their problems — well, there are worse coping mechanisms. And maybe for men who are extremely shy around women, White's "therapy" could be helpful (although I should note that there are licensed sex therapists who might be more qualified).
Those who take a dim view of naked therapy, however, may also be disturbed by another woman's twist on dishabille: naked revenge. According to the New York Post, a Florida woman who goes by "Taylor" is auctioning off her ex's stuff on eBay (since she supported him, he let her keep it) — and advertising it with naked pics of herself. The rationale: "He preferred that I be a lot more conservative and didn't like for me to dress sexy. So now I'm saying, 'Ha, ha, you don't have a say-so anymore.'" I'm usually not a fan of the use of female bodies to sell everything from sneakers (pictured over at the Post) to binoculars (part of the dude's Christmas present), but Taylor's nudity actually seems like a fitting and innovative fuck-you to a controlling ex. And, at least for her, it's probably its own form of therapy.