An Open Letter To The EMDR Trauma Therapist Who Fired Me For Doing Sex Work

Annie Altman
3 min readJun 8, 2021

Dear Dr. EMDR Trauma Therapist,

Thank you for sending the reference suggestions for PTSD support. I’m sad to not be starting EMDR, and I’m glad to have discovered before beginning that this was not a safe fit for me to be vulnerable. Regarding the “ethical practice” reasoning for your firing me as patient, my understanding is that it is then also your ethical practice to connect me with another provider. In this case, ending contact after this message is what feels most supportive for my health.

I wrote this message directly after our final session. I decided to wait to send until I could ensure I was responding rather than reacting to our last session, to edit, and to read it out loud to others.

I felt highly judged by the manner with which you talked about my insurance coverage. The timing and tone of your repeated comments about “getting the most out of” my insurance while I don’t have co-pays (to help heal my Achilles and PCOS, as well as receive talk therapy for grieving my father and the PTSD I came to you for help with) felt hurtful. I was and am shocked that an emotional healthcare provider would indirectly shame someone for not being able to cover their medical bills due to their physical and emotional health, and so seeking insurance coverage that would help. I’m especially shocked at this happening during a global pandemic, and without prior knowledge of the jobs that person was working and how shutdowns impacted them.

I’m really sad and surprised that someone with so much experience with PTSD therapy could participate in shaming proactive self-care. I’m really proud of myself for how I’ve managed my physical and emotional symptoms.

I felt similarly shamed for sharing about sex work. It’s unclear to me how much of your reaction came from it being related to sex, from some of it being untaxed work, and from other sources. Regardless, sex work is the oldest profession, and statistically it is most likely that you’ve worked with a sex worker before and they chose not to disclose that you. While I understand the “ethical therapeutic practices” of sticking to your expertise and comfort, I am hurt by the way it was discussed. Knowing your two decades of therapy experiences means I do not need to explain the impact of shame and secret-keeping and stigma.

I appreciate you taking this feedback into consideration for your future work, I…

Annie Altman

Showing and telling thoughts and feelings on humaning. All Humans Are Human Podcast, The HumAnnie, Funds Distribution Company