There's far more to BDSM then spanking or tieing up a submissive. The 'real' professional goes beneath the surface.

The process of due care.

There are many Doms (and faux ones) in the world of BDSM. I know of very few like myself who follow a strict pathway through the process of Domination and start from a basis of conducting a full risk assessment of the submissive in terms of her mental health and overall wellbeing prior to full engagement.

When a submissive presents herself as a novice, or in some cases as someone with prior experience, she may have the verbal and physical presentation of being quite robust in character. But this means nothing, and I will never take it as read and launch into immediate training without first having sat down for a 1 to 1 and I am satisfied that she has told me everything I need to know, so that when we do begin training I am fully aware of any mental and physical health challenges we may encounter, and steer her journey in a safe and proportionate way according to her needs, as well as safeguarding myself so that I am readily prepared to be able to manage any unexpected meltdowns she may experience along the way.

They say the road to hell is paved with good intent. But when it comes to BDSM practices I learned long ago to expect the unexpected, as even for the most experienced among us occasions will undoubtedly arise whereby doing our job the right way will, on occasion, draw out a deeply buried demon from her past which we then have to guide her through in safety and comfort so that whatever demon it is can be fully and properly addressed in a way that she leaves the session unburdened by it, and with the baggage left behind her departure is on the same level of high as her expectations were when she began the session. 

So. If you are under the belief that you are a Dom up to this point you may wish to think your position again.  It's by no means whatsoever just about spanking and ordering someone around the bedroom. Being a Dom also means you have full responsibility for what is known as a 'duty of care' towards your sub, and this means providing care for her mental, physical and spiritual welfare before, during and following your time together. Never underestimate the importance of the sizeable responsibility which lies firmly and squarely on your shoulders if you are a Dom. All of which, using a well known saying, is what sorts the 'men out from the boys' in BDSM, and the 'amateur/players' from the 'professionals'.

I often talk about BDSM as being a spiritual journey for the sub, with me by her side as the guide who steers her through her innermost fears, insecurities and outdated negative beliefs about herself which are released by a range of practices appropriate to her'individual' needs within the moment. Over the years it has become more frequent to engage with subs who experience psychosexual challenges within their lives and relationships from past traumas relating to instances of abuse - mental, physical and sexual, childhood and adolescent growing up, and even rape, who see the BDSM pathway to wellness as being something which conventional drugs and psychiatric intervention has failed them on because practitioners view anything which they consider outside of the 'norm' in their professional world, such as BDSM, as being either the cause of or a part of some deeper psychosis which requires a greater level of psychiatric care.

Of course it goes without saying that mental illness needs to be treated by professionals. Not by a play partner. But some of the symptoms of mental illness can be temporarily alleviated by certain BDSM activities. Pain play—spanking, flogging, hot wax, etc.—provides an endorphin rush. Bondage or confinement can make the submissive feel incredibly euphoric, and secure. The structure of a D/s dynamic can offer someone with depression an anchor, with basic goals, tasks to perform, and rules to follow. Kink, when practiced with love and trust, is deeply intimate and centering.

BDSM can’t cure illness. But neither is it an illness itself—a semi-sanctioned way for people to harm themselves or others. True BDSM is based on mutual care and respect, on self-knowledge and a willingness to explore the psyche. In some ways, kink is the antithesis of depression: Depression preys on positive thoughts and drains energy, while kink has an incredible capacity to empower and comfort. In a world where nobody is one hundred percent happy or healthy, we all have to work with our individual strengths and limitations to create positive, meaningful relationships. And to embrace the aspects of our identity that may seem unusual or challenging, but are, in the end, perfectly human.

I never claim to be an armchair psychiatrist with absolute infinite knowledge of the human mind. But with prior training in counselling behind me, and experience of working within the mental health environment in a semi-therapeutic capacity, as well as an administrative role in terms of being a mental health commissioner for personality disorder services at government level, I consider my overall experience as something which works in harmony with my BDSM practitioner role for the novice submissive as much as for the more experienced.

Case studies and successes.

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