A therapist who is kink aware recognizes that BDSM, Polyamory, Swinging and other alternative sexual and lifestyle practices are part of the normal sexual spectrum, and is able to distinguish healthy sexual play from non-consensual abuse. Ideally such a therapist has educated herself about various alternative lifestyles via, books, articles, continuing education, seminars, websites, etc. She is aware what constitutes safe and unsafe play (acknowledging of course that different people have different standards for that). She is aware of the roles and role expectations that are commonly encountered in the alternative lifestyle scenes. She understands the stress that some clients may experience in keeping their lifestyle secret. She also recognizes that someone in an alternative lifestyle may not be seeking therapy related to that lifestyle; however, because that is a facet of their life, the therapist needs to be relatively familiar with the lifestyles in order to be the most effective therapist for these clients.
Patsy Evans has been an active advocate for the alternative lifestyle community for more than a decade. She has also worked with a number of clients from various alternative lifestyle communities and has done public speaking engagements and activism for sexual and lifestyle freedom.