“Freud used free association. I use nakedness,” says Sarah White, a 24-year-old “naked therapist.”
The New York City resident conducts “power through arousal” nude web-cam therapy sessions in an unusual approach to counseling, reports the New York Daily News. White, who charges $150 for early sessions, says her nude approach gives otherwise stubborn men an incentive to seek professional help.
“For men especially, who are less likely than women to go to therapy, it is more interesting, more enticing, more exciting,” White said. “It’s a more inspiring approach to therapy.”
Not all psychiatric professionals are convinced. New York-based clinical psychologist Dian Kirschner views White as a porn actress rather than a therapist.
“She’s using the word therapy here, but I don’t consider this therapy,” Kirschner told the Daily News. “I consider this interactive soft-core Internet porn.”
Licensed therapist Tracey Cleantis was easier on White, but told Salon that naked therapy could be a double-edged sword.
“The dark side of nakedness is overexposure,” Cleantis said. “One needs a persona, one can’t live in a place of complete nakedness — it’s dangerous,” she said. “Clothing, like shame, is dual-natured. If you are exposing everything then you are hiding something.”
On her website, White pushes the idea that going to counseling doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong with the patient.
“There doesn’t have to be anything wrong with you,” White said. “In fact, I’d go one step further and say there IS nothing wrong with you, and the fact that you’re even considering Naked Therapy proves that you are open-minded, adventurous, and thoughtful! … Naked Therapy will help you gain power through arousal.”
Seasoned clients get upgraded to Skype video appointments and even in-person consultations. White sees a broad range of people seeking her services. College students with sexual issues, middle-aged men, and even women come to White. The New Yorker has seen people who have never before been to counseling. She is currently studying psychology and doing dissertation research on Naked Therapy, according to her website.