Saturday, March 12, 2016
09:30 AM GMT - 05:00 PM GMT

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Resource for London
356 Holloway Road
London N7 6PA
United Kingdom

Driving Directions 


Anya Stang


Beyond Gay and Straight

In 2015 a YouGov survey found that one in five Brits were somewhere on the spectrum between exclusively gay and exclusively straight. For young people the figures were even more staggering with 43% in this zone, which is why they've been dubbed the Rainbow Generation. Far from being a small minority, it seems that it's very common to find yourself under the bisexual umbrella (being attracted to more than one gender, or to people regardless of gender). However a huge amount of stigma and silence remains around those who find themselves beyond the sexual binary.

At the Pink Therapy conference this year we'll cover therapy with people who are bisexual, pansexual, omnisexual and queer, as well as those who don't use labels to define their sexuality. We'll consider the impact of the gay/straight binary on the mental health of those it doesn't fit. We'll explore the experiences of people who are married to one gender, but have sexual experiences with another. We'll look at the intersections between bisexuality and race, gender, non-monogamies, and BDSM. We'll delve deeper into the ways in which younger people are experiencing, expressing and defining their sexualities. And we'll discuss the wider implications of the gender and sexuality explosion for LGBT individuals, communities and therapies.  

Early Bird registration is £120 until 8 Feb 2016. Full fee from 9 Feb 2016 is £140.
Therapy students and therapists-in-training are welcome to register; however, there are currently no student bursaries available. We may release some discounted places nearer the time if space permits.

Saturday 12th of March 2016

9.30       Registration
10.00     Welcome - Dominic Davies and Leah Davidson
10.15     Speaker 1 - Meg-John Barker - Bisexuality and mental health, the social construction of identities
 and loss of attachments to communities
10.45     Speaker 2 - Charles NealGay men who marry women
11.15     Break
11.45     Speaker 3 - Christina RichardsBisexuality in Trans and Non-binary people
12.15     Speaker 4 - Ronete CohenThe Intersection of Bisexuality and Race
12.45     Lunch
14.00     Speaker 5 & 6 (simultaneous sessions) -
DK GreenBDSM/Kink and Bisexuality  and
Niki DAddressing Biphobia in Relationship Therapy or When bisexuality is seen as the problem
14.30     Speaker 7 & 8 (simultaneous sessions) -
Pam Gawler-Wright Three Dirty Words: Choice. Confusion. Fluidity and
Meg-John Barker Monogamy and Non-Monogamy
15.00     Break
15.30     Speaker 9 & 10 (simultaneous sessions) -
Neil Young - Young people: not straight, not narrow and
Amanda Middleton - Being Queer
16.00     Large Group Plenary - Tim Foskett
17.00     Close

Abstracts for Morning Plenaries

Bisexuality and mental health, the social construction of identities 
and loss of attachments to communities - Meg-John Barker

This opening presentation summarises what we know about bisexuality - and attraction to more than one gender - to date, drawing on the findings of The Bisexuality Report. We'll briefly touch on the range of identities and practices that exist 'beyond gay and straight', and issues around identity, experience, and attraction. We'll cover biphobia - particularly bi invisibility and double discrimination - and the toll that this takes on mental health. Here we'll particularly think about everyday experiences of coming out, interpersonal relationships, and micro-aggressions, as well as wider cultural aspects such as media representations, service provision, and harassment. We'll also reflect on the importance of community, intersectionality, and the positive aspects of being bisexual, pansexual, or queer. 

Gay men who marry women - Charles Neal
In 25 years working in therapy with gay & bi men many shared stories of how they came to marry women or seeking help to ‘come out’. This, along with my own history of being heterosexually married for 13 years before living for 34 with my husband, motivated me to write the first book in Europe to give voice to these men’s unique and hitherto ignored lives and struggles and to provide a resource guide for others in similar circumstances. I will share what I found and discuss questions and comments which participants present. 

Bisexuality in Trans and Non-binary people - Christina Richards
Trans and Non-binary or Genderqueer people are those people who are not content to remain the gender they were assigned at birth. They may identify within the gender binary of male or female, or outside of that binary. Additionally, these groups of people may have any sexuality that cisgender people (people who are content to remain the gender assigned at birth) may have. Notwithstanding this, many trans, non-binary or genderqueer people are attracted to people irrespective of that person’s gender; and a fair proportion of these trans, non-binary or genderqueer people identify as bisexual.
This presentation will consider these forms of attraction irrespective of gender; how they intersect with trans and non-binary or genderqueer identities; and will further examine how we may assist these groups of people if they come to us seeking therapeutic assistance.

The Intersection of Bisexuality and Race -  Ronete Cohen
Bisexuals can experience rejection in both the heterosexual and in the gay and lesbian communities. In the bisexual community they find acceptance and understanding, others with similar experiences, and an opportunity to figure out what works for them. It’s less simple for bisexuals who are also people of colour. When bisexual identity intersects with racial identity, it stops being just about invisibility and finding your place as a member of a sexual minority, instead becoming overshadowed by a struggle to be accepted, understood and included in what should be their community. The bisexual community is overwhelmingly white and feels non-inclusive and irrelevant to the lives and experiences of many bisexual people of colour. The needs of bisexual people of colour do not yet form an integral part of all bisexual needs. Seeing people in terms of their sexuality alone and ignoring intersectionality means ignoring an important part of their experience.

Abstracts - Afternoon Plenaries

BDSM//Kink and Bisexuality - DK Green
When your client has an interest or involvement in BDSM/kink, whilst defining as bisexual, it can potentially provide complex challenges in exploring this particular intersectionality. For example; are there actually issues to work with therapeutically around one, or the other, or both these dual aspects of their sexuality?
Within the complex and multi-faceted world of BDSM/Kink there are myriad and varied, fascinating ways in which bisexuality and gender choices can and do come into play (sometimes quite literally).
During this segment we'll be taking a look at where BDSM and Bi intersect, exploring gendered preferences and choices in terms of; dominance and submission, topping and bottoming, relationships, play and gendered boundaries. 

Addressing Biphobia in Relationship Therapy or When bisexuality is seen as the problem - Niki D
Relationships can be difficult enough to navigate when people share the same sexual identity, but what is added to the mix when partners have differing sexual orientations? For some relationships this serves to enrich the experience, but for many others, the fear of such difference can become destructive. This presentation will address the issues bisexual clients and their gay or straight partners may experience when biphobia impacts on the relationship. We will consider the ways clients can feel threatened, resentful and dismissive of their partner’s bisexuality, and how this may affect the bisexual client. The seminar will be of use for relationship therapists, as well as practitioners working in individual therapy with clients facing this issue 

Three Dirty Words: Choice. Confusion. Fluidity -  Pam Gawler-Wright
Using any of these three words in the context of minority sexuality is shown to invite public pillory. They are words that have become so charged by our ongoing battle with bigotry that a person cannot speak of their choice, confusion or fluidity without their experience being declared null and void by many in the GSD community. But who exactly are we allowing to dictate our discourse and what do these words really mean in the context of the bisexual person’s narrative? Importantly in therapy, how does censoring the description of these complex processes compound the traumas of exclusion, voicelessness and invisibility for bisexuals? We will explore how reclaiming an appreciation of these realities in a person’s life may be a liberating part of a person’s self-actualisation, authentication of identity and robust interface with others. 

Monogamy and non-monogamyMeg-John Barker
This session considers the relationship styles of people whose attractions are to more than one gender (or regardless of gender) and how these intersect with their sexuality. Particularly we will consider how issues of bi invisibility and monosexist assumptions play out for monogamous people. We'll touch on secret infidelities as a way of experiencing multiple-gender attraction. We'll consider in depth how openly non-monogamous bisexual, pansexual, and queer people manage their relationships. We'll also mention the issues faced by asexual biromantic people in navigating relationships, and ask what a queer relationship might look like. There'll be an opportunity to reflect on both the practical and emotional aspects of various relationship possibilities.

Young people: not straight, not narrow - Neil Young
Young people are increasingly open to relationships with people from across the gender and sexuality spectrum, and rejecting identity labels. Is this a myth pushed by a small number of activists, celebrities and cultural commentators or is the gay-straight binary collapsing for young people in the UK? This talk will explore how young people’s lives are playing out in an era of dating technology, celebrity and the recent closure of LGBTQ youth groups and social venues. How do the ongoing challenges that young LGBTQ people face – bullying in education, harassment on the streets and difficult, sometimes violent, family responses to coming out – impact on their identity and behaviour? And what does this all mean for therapists who want to create safe, welcoming spaces that offer young people genuine connection, validation and the chance to heal and grow? 

Being QueerAmanda Middleton 
This workshop will outline living with a queer identity, its affordances and constraints as compared to other sexual identities. It will briefly explain Queer theory, a postmodern and social constructionist theory that relates to sexual and gender diversity. Different issues for therapists to consider when working with queer people and relationships will be explored; including how people produce queer selfhood and the conflicts this might bring, intersectional identities, issues of belonging, possible struggles and sources of strength and resilience. Queer inclusive therapeutic practices will also be briefly touched on.

Biographies (in alphabetical order)

Meg-John Barker is a writer, therapist, and activist-academic specialising in sex, gender and relationships. Meg-John is a senior lecturer in psychology at the Open University and a UKCP accredited psychotherapist, and has over a decade of experience researching and publishing on these topics including the popular books Rewriting the Rules and The Secrets of Enduring Love. They chair the UK bisexual organisation BiUK, who produced The Bisexuality Report, and also influence policy and practice around non-binary gender.
Web: www.rewriting-the-rules.com - Twitter: @megjohnbarker

Ronete Cohen MA is a psychologist/psychotherapist with further training in Intensive Experiential-Dynamic Psychotherapy and Affect Phobia Therapy (APT). She is a Certified APT-Therapist and Trainer. She is in private practice in London (and all over the world via Skype), specialising primarily in gender and sexual diversity and working with people from diverse racial and cultural backgrounds. She is a member of the group practice London Sex and Relationships Therapy and a Clinical Associate of Pink Therapy. She has advised Scarleteen and the Dutch expertise centre on sexuality on LGBT youth and written for GSD publications worldwide.
Web: www.ronetecohen.co.uk

Niki D has 25 years experience working as a counsellor and therapist. She has an MA in Existential Psychotherapy and additional training in somatic trauma therapy, relationship therapy and group-work. She has worked in a range of settings including prisons, alcohol agencies, women’s refuges, homeless agencies, youth services and ChildLine. She is a clinical supervisor for the Met Police and GSD services including Galop. Niki is a trainer, tutor on counselling courses, has a full time private practice and is an Associate with Pink Therapy in London.
Web: www.nikidtherapy.co.uk

Leah Davidson is a Clinical Associate at Pink Therapy. She has 30 years experience in working with gender and sexually diverse clients and relationship constellations. She is an Advanced Accredited Sexual Diversity Therapist and and a co-tutor on Pink Therapy’s post graduate diploma in Relationship Therapy with Gender and Sexually Diverse clients. Web: www.leahdavidson.com

Dominic Davies is the Founder and CEO of Pink Therapy, a Fellow of BACP and an Accredited Member of the Association, as well as a Advanced Accredited Sexual Diversities Therapist. Dominic has worked as a therapist and clinical sexologist for almost 35 years and in 2015 was awarded the Practitioner Award by the Sexualities Section of the British Psychological Society.

Tim Foskett is an accredited individual and group psychotherapist and has a private practice working with groups, couples, individuals and supervisees. He is a director of Loving Men, which runs workshops and develops resources about intimacy between gay/bi men. Tim is a Clinical Associate with Pink Therapy and an Advanced Accredited Sexual Diversity Therapist.
Web: www.timfosketttherapy.co.uk and www.lovingmen.org

Pam Gawler-Wright MSc. is a UKCP Accredited Psychotherapist who works with individuals, couples and groups. She is Director of Training for BeeLeaf Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy which is a UKCP Training and Accrediting Member Organisation. Pam has written and delivered many experiential trainings for psychotherapists and counsellors including “Healing Codependence”, “Working Creatively with Trauma” and “Working with LesBi Women”. Pam is active in raising standards of training in working with GSD for pre-registration psychotherapists and is a popular conference speaker and media commentator.
Web: www.beeleaf.com

DK Green is a qualified psychotherapist and counsellor with a successful ongoing private practice in the Midlands, specialising in GSD (gender and sexuality diversities), personal growth and self development. His training is psychodynamic but with ongoing CPD training leans towards integrative; also including life coaching, cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy and bereavement.
Founding member of polycounselling.co.uk - a quarterly peer held discussion group aiming to involve more counsellors and therapists with expertise in openly non-monogamous relationships.
He has taught extensive diverse sexuality classes and workshops nationally since the nineties, including many public and private community events as well as at five UK universities.
Web: www.dkgreen.com

Amanda Middleton is a qualified Systemic and Family Psychotherapist, with a special interest in Sexual and Gender Diversity. She works therapeutically with families, couples and individuals who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer, Transgender and beyond. She is a passionate teacher and trainer and especially interested in Queer Theory, Intersectionality  and creating queer inclusive therapy practices. She is an Associate Relationship Therapist at The Pink Practice, a Clinical Associate at Pink Therapy and teaches at The Institute of Family Therapy.
Web: www.amandamiddleton.com  

Charles Neal Humanistic & formative therapist (UKCP), supervisor, trainer and writer.
Founded first LGBT mental health professionals group in UK; co-edited ‘Pink Therapy’ trilogy with Dominic Davies; led longest gay and bi men’s therapy group for 24 years; author of ‘The Marrying Kind?: Lives of gay & bi men who married women’ (2014); advisory team member, ‘We Are Family’ alternative families magazine. Gay father & grandfather.
Web: www.charles-neal.com 

Christina Richards is an accredited psychotherapist with the BACP and an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. She is Senior Specialist Psychology Associate at Nottinghamshire NHS Gender Clinic and Clinical Research Fellow at Charing Cross Gender Clinic. She lectures and publishes on trans, sexualities and critical mental health, and is co-founder of BiUK. As well as other papers reports and books, she is co-author of Sexuality and gender for mental health professionals: A practical guide and is co-editor of the Palgrave Handbook of the Psychology of Sexuality and Gender.
Web: christinarichards.co.uk - Twitter: @CRichardsPsych

Neil Young has over 15 years’ experience as a project, policy and event manager in the public, private and voluntary sectors. He specialises in work supporting and representing the diverse needs of the LGBT community, including establishing Mosaic LGBT Youth Centre, working as an LGBT Adviser to both Mayors of London and running the UK’s first national project for older people living with HIV. He is on the first year of the MA Integrative Arts Psychotherapy at the Institute for Arts in Therapy and Education. nlyoung.2012@gmail.com