Caroline Shahbaz co-authored Becoming a Kink Aware Therapist with Peter Chirinos in response to audience requests from psychotherapists for more information about BDSM dynamics. She regularly gives workshops to psychotherapists on BDSM relationships, consensual master slave dynamics and kinkophobia. Together they developed the Shahbaz-Chirinos Healthy BDSM Checklist for mental health professionals to use as part of their clinical best practice.
Caroline identifies as a citizen of the world. She was born in Ethiopia, is a third generation Armenian genocide survivor, a first generation Australian and a fledgling transplant (through marriage) to the USA.
The process of change and the nature of power in the world have been two phenomena at the nucleus of her intellectual and spiritual life. Her quest to understand issues related to change and power, served to become a psychological, philosophical and spiritual odyssey. While becoming a clinical psychologist began the journey, it progressed to working with the denizens of various corporate board rooms. Along the way it meandered to encounters with Indian gurus, Pilipino faith healers, Buddhist temples, Peruvian shamans, Sufi teachers, Jung and finally, to consensual authority exchange relationships in marginalized atypical sexualities.
Ultimately, she came to believe there is a paradoxical and creative relationship between change and power: transformation requires will and ‘the will to get things done’ underpins the process of transformation, i.e. change. This is true whether the change requires individual self-agency in a personal situation or for leadership in a multinational global corporation. Change and power are inextricably intertwined, often in a creative dance.
BBSc(Hons) LaTrobe University, Vic. Australia
MPsych LaTrobe University, Vic. Australia
MA in Depth Psychology Pacifica Graduate Institute, CA. USA
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
Her areas of professional expertise are rooted in facilitating individual and organizational transformations. Through her academic journey, she has come to embrace depth and liberation psychology as a unique lens with which to see into that which was hidden beneath the surface of human consciousness, and a tool to query into the heart of power. Depth and liberation psychology provides her a framework to explore the edges of change and power – where social or organizational oppression results in othering, marginalization of people and ideas and resistance to change.
Her research interests include exploring cultural, social and professional oppression, persecution and demonization of individuals, groups as well as marginalized alternative sexualities. It also includes understanding transformative aspects of BDSM practices and relationships, and bridging psychotherapeutic misunderstanding of alternative sexualities through ethnographic-based narratives. She regularly gives presentations on issues related to the therapeutic aspects of BDSM practices/relationships, consensual master slave dynamics, kinkophobia, and difficulties in defining consent to a variety of professional and academic audiences.
Her personal interests include meditation, yoga, traveling, philosophical discussions and political discourses. She is especially satisfied when cultural, social and value gaps and insights emerge as the result of traveling into and immersing herself in other cultures.