Counselling Diverse Groups: Addressing Counsellor Bias toward the BDSM and D/S Subculture


  • Kaitlyn M. Hillier Athabasca University


Diversity, Culturally Sensitive Practice, BDSM, Professional Bias


This article focuses on the professional bias or negative perceptions of some mental health professionals toward the bondage, domination, sadism/submission, and masochism (BDSM) community and dominant/submissive (D/S) relationships. This article suggests and recommends measures for culturally sensitive practice and the inclusion of psychodynamic family therapy approaches that would be positively inclusive of this unique sexual lifestyle as an effective approach for clients who engage in BDSM. Measures described could increase professional competency in established and training mental health professionals who may work with clients who practice BDSM.

Author Biography

Kaitlyn M. Hillier, Athabasca University

Kaitlyn Hillier B.A., M.C., C.C.C., is completing Doctoral studies in Psychology at Walden University. Kaitlyn has completed significant research on the topic of culturally sensitive practice for a variety of underrepresented minority groups.

Kaitlyn is in private practice as a counsellor and qualifying psychotherapist. She is also an individualized study tutor at the undergraduate level and a sessional instructor for the Graduate Centre for Applied Psychology at Athabasca University.





How to Cite

Hillier, K. M. (2018). Counselling Diverse Groups: Addressing Counsellor Bias toward the BDSM and D/S Subculture. Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy, 52(1). Retrieved from



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