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Samar Poorlakani, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor

My name is Samar Poorlakani. My pronouns are she/her and I am a sex-positive psychotherapist.

My goal is to create a safe and non-judgmental space where you can feel free to explore yourself and be radically authentic. I work in a private practice in South Austin with a focus on sex therapy, and more specifically BDSM/kink and the vast world of non-monogamy.

What does it mean to be sex-positive? There are many definitions. To me, it is embracing sexuality with an emphasis on consent and safe sex. Sex is still very much considered a "taboo" topic, but I like to approach it with a positive attitude and provide psychoeducation, as needed. I believe sex, your sexual identity, and sexual behaviors can be discussed without shame and awkwardness. I hope I can help create a safe space where you can explore and understand your sexuality and what that means for you and your relationships.

According to the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, I am a kink knowledgeable professional. No matter the terminology (whether you prefer kink knowledgeable, aware, or friendly), I am a therapist who is open-minded, non-judgmental, and supportive of the kink and BDSM lifestyle. Whether you are starting to explore kinky fantasies or have been living the lifestyle for a while, I hope to empower you and give you the support you are looking for.

I also specialize in non-monogamous relationships (including but not limited to: polyamory, open marriages/relationships, swinging, triads, quads, poly families, relationship anarchy, solo polyamory, and more — essentially, anything that falls under the umbrella of "ethical non-monogamy"). I am here to guide you through the issues that may arise if you are considering opening your relationship/marriage or if you already practice an ethical non-monogamous lifestyle. Some of those issues may include: navigating boundaries, safe sex practices, communication skills, the potential for jealousy, understanding compersion, and feelings of insecurity, neglect, or inadequacy.

Do I look familiar? I believe my clients deserve a knowledgeable, well-versed, and empathetic therapist in both the kink and poly lifestyle, so I do my best to stay professionally involved in the community here in Austin.

Please be aware that I am not a sex surrogate. There is no physical or sexual contact with clients. I am a mental health therapist who focuses on sexuality and addressing any concerns that come with it.

I work with individuals, couples, and families of all configurations. There are a variety of reasons people find themselves needing therapy. Counseling is a way for you to uncover new information about yourself, your relationships, and where you can deepen your emotional and cognitive awareness. Maybe you find yourself in crisis and need a therapist to talk to where you can speak openly and privately. You may also come to therapy for maintenance, where you can strengthen your relationships or improve yourself.

I have completed Level II of John Gottman's training and use his method in my work with couples. I'm also trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) which is helpful in treating trauma, anxiety, and a number of different issues. I have experience working with clients seeking help with sexual health issues and relationship conflict. You can seek counseling for concerns of infidelity, intimacy issues, communication concerns, emotional affairs, erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, low testosterone, vaginismus, increased and decreased desire, orgasmic difficulties, genital and sexual pain, sex and porn addiction, sexual arousal difficulties, sexual anxiety, sexual abuse or other trauma, fertility complications, and many more concerns.

About

I have always known this was the right field for me. Cheesy, right? However, I will explain.

It started with advocating for proper sex education in high school amongst my peers. Abstinence-only education was not cutting it for me, but hey, that’s Texas. I was born and raised right here in Austin. (Yes, I am an unicorn, apparently. That's what natives are being called, I hear.) When the time came, I tried to educate myself and my friends on how to protect ourselves against pregnancy and STIs. How you ask? I asked an older friend with a car to take me to Planned Parenthood after school when I was supposedly staying to work on a "group project." That group project was called "Health Class Failed Me" and that's where Planned Parenthood helped out. After that, I held each friend's hand and went as moral support as they made their appointment to protect themselves when they chose to become sexually active. 
My passion for the science of sex only grew from there. I took AP Psychology while still in high school and I knew I was hooked by the time I took Human Sexuality my first year of college. I combined my interests (sex education, Psychology, Human Sexuality), and from there, I knew I wanted to be a sex therapist from the age of eighteen. 

As someone who has also always done volunteer work since high school, whether it was painting houses for the Humane Society, working carnival/festival booths at elementary schools, leading as team captain at Relay for Life events for the American Cancer Society, or being the volunteer coordinator for Interact, a community service club in high school, I have always loved helping people in any way I could. (Doesn’t every therapist say that?) Therapy just seemed like second nature to me.

Friend me on FetLife: PolyKinkyTherapy.

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Follow me on Twitter: austinintimate.

Check out my profile on NCSF.

Check out my profile on Psychology Today.

After deciding I could not bear to leave Austin, I got my Bachelor’s in Psychology with Honors from St. Edward’s University in December 2010. During my time there, I was a teaching assistant for Dr. Delia Kothmann Paskos for three semesters. I assisted her with Intro to Psychology, Experimental Psychology, Statistics, and the Violent Sex Offender. There I learned the only other thing that could pull me away from a career of sex therapy would be Criminal Psychology because serial killers fascinated me. Dr. Emma Lou Linn and Dr. Kothmann Paskos are both to blame for that. :)

After some travel, the following fall after graduation, I entered the Master of Arts program at St. Edward’s to get my degree in Counseling. I went to school on the dual track program, for both the LPC and LMFT licenses. I graduated with my Master’s in May 2011. While in graduate school, I interned at North Austin Urology where I saw clients for sexual health issues and relationship conflict. Dr. Sandeep Mistry’s practice, North Austin Urology, has multiple locations, and I interned at the original Round Rock location under Dr. Vagdevi Meunier’s supervision. I also did a second internship at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church where I co-facilitated a cancer support group with my supervisor Terri Moser. My passion to fight against cancer in any way I could was the reason why I kept my job at the American Cancer Society for five years. I worked there full-time throughout graduate school and continued to work there part-time even after I graduated.

I love working with individuals, couples, and families of all configurations. It is important to me that I create a safe space where people feel they can authentically explore their sexuality and thoughts.

When I don’t have my therapist cap on (just kidding, we always do), I still talk about sex. I hosted Sex Nerd Trivia for two and a half years. I am an outgoing introvert with Narcolepsy with Cataplexy and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I love to travel, cuddle my brindle pug (Severus Snape), eat Torchy’s like they are going out of business, watch Doctor Who on repeat, see films at the Alamo Drafthouse, travel, watch hip hop dance videos (and day dream of a world where I have both rhythm and coordination), and read… any time my Narcolepsy allows me, that is. Did I mention travel? I definitely try to live the jetsetter life as much as possible. I also like to pretend my lifestyle isn’t the equivalent of Snorlax on Xanax (or a permanently exhausted pigeon). You know what, though? I think this meme said it best: “I have two moods: 1) tryna fuck, 2) fuckin tryin.” And I haven’t stopped laughing since I came across that on the Internet!

”Think love and wear a smile.” - Amy Winehouse

SERVICES

Therapy should be a safe place where you can reflect about your emotions, concerns, dreams, and more with your partner(s) or individually. There could be several reasons why people start therapy. It is not always because of a crisis. It could be that you find yourself feeling less passionate about your interests than you used to, or you've noticed it has become harder for you to get out of bed in the morning, or maybe you simply wish you could speak more openly and honestly about your fantasies with your partner(s).

Therapy is about exploring your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and while doing so, I am here to support you, empower you, and guide you while always remaining completely open-minded and non-judgmental.

There are many benefits to therapy that can include: gaining new coping skills, deepening emotional experiences, and becoming unstuck in areas of your life.

John Gottman’s research shows that there are three things couples can do to make a relationship last: 1) strengthening your friendship, 2) change the way you handle conflict, and 3) supporting each other’s dreams. There is no such thing as a perfect relationship. Conflict is unavoidable. However, finding a better method of communication and learning certain techniques and skills to help you repair more effectively from conflict can help your relationship.

The more partners are able to communicate, the more connected they feel with one another. As their connection becomes stronger, partners feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings with each other about their relationship, as well as their sexuality and intimacy.

So… am I the therapist for you?
 

Qualifications

– Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)
– Master’s of Art in Counseling from St. Edward’s University
– Bachelor’s of Art in Psychology from St. Edward’s University
– Level II Trained in the Gottman Method
– Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Trained
– Twenty months of supervision by Josh K. McAdams, LPC-S at McAdams Therapy
– Two years of supervision by Claudia Thompson, LMFT-S, LPC-S, Certified Sex Therapist, and Certified Sex Addiction Therapist at Enhancing Intimacy Austin
– Interned for a year and a half under Dr. Sandeep Mistry at North Austin Urology while supervised by Vagdevi Meunier, PsyD at the Center for Relationships
– Interned for six months under Terri Moser at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church
– Worked at the American Cancer Society for five years
– Interned as a teaching assistant for a year and a half for Dr. Delia Kothmann Paskos
– Was a member of the (Southwest) Sexual Health Alliance
– Was a member of the National Coalition of Sexual Freedom (also listed in their KAP directory, otherwise known as Kink Aware Professionals).

I am a sex-positive, kink, and poly knowledgable therapist, but I can help you with other presenting concerns or issues in sex therapy or just general mental health, and that may include but is not limited to:

  • low testosterone

  • vaginismus

  • peer relationships

  • increased and decreased desire

  • self esteem/confidence

  • orgasmic difficulties

  • BDSM/kink

  • genital and sexual pain

  • polyamory

  • sex addiction

  • open marriages/relationships

  • porn addiction

  • swinging

  • sexual arousal difficulties

  • monogamish/polyish

  • STDs/STIs

  • ethical non-monogamy

  • HIV/AIDS

  • intimacy concerns

  • transgender issues and concerns

  • rebuilding trust

  • LGBTQ issues and concerns

  • sexual anxiety

  • cancer patients

  • sexual abuse or other trauma

  • anger management

  • fertility complications

  • coping skills

  • infidelity

  • general anxiety disorder

  • emotional affairs

  • obsessive compulsive disorder

  • erectile dysfunction

  • divorce

  • depression

  • grief/loss

  • premature ejaculation

FEES

I work with individuals, couples, and families of all configurations. I am currently available Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

Availability:
Tuesday: 2-7pm (Currently session availability is unavailable after 4pm.)
Wednesday: 9am-3pm
Thursday: 9am-5pm

When you schedule an appointment with me, that time is reserved for you. If you are scheduled for a session and do not attend or fail to give a full 48-hours notice for cancellation, you will be billed the full session fee.

I offer two types of sessions:
50-Minute Sessions:
1) Single session for $140
2) Package of 4 sessions for $520 (saves $40, making it $130/session)

80-Minute Sessions:
1) Single session for $200
2) Package of 4 sessions for $760 (saves $40, making it $190/session)

There are discounts available if you purchase a package of 4 sessions upfront. There are no refunds. Appointments can be rescheduled as needed, but if you fail to attend your appointment or reschedule/cancel under 48-hours, you forfeit that (one) session.

I do not accept insurance or assist in processing insurance claims. I can provide you with a Superbill and NPI number if you would like to file as “out of network” with your provider. 

If you have any concerns about finances, I welcome you to reach out to me. I reserve a number of spots for sliding scale (currently they are all filled). If they are unavailable, or if it seems we might not be a good fit, I have a list of referrals that will hopefully suit your needs:

FORMS

 

I like to be transparent with my policies by providing helpful information online. Finding the right therapist for you is like Cinderella trying to find her shoe. To find one that fits your needs, I encourage you to look at every tab on my website.


Individuals/Couples/Families

If we are doing couples or family work, I will need each participant to complete the forms.

To ensure that we make the most out of our first session, I will ask you to: 1) fill out the Client Information Form electronically, 2) read the Informed Consent and HIPAA forms online. I will email you a link to do all of this before your first appointment. 

It is incredibly important to read the Informed Consent very carefully. This is where you can find all the information you need about confidentiality, policies on fees and cancellations, best ways to contact me, and emergency contact numbers. If we decide that we are a good fit after our first appointment, I'll send you an electronic version of the Informed Consent and the HIPAA form to sign.

FAQS

Q: So, how do you say your name?
My first name is pronounced “Summer," like the season. My last name is phonetic - it just looks intimidating. Don’t worry, I like to keep things casual - we'll keep things on a first name basis!

Q: What are your pronouns?
She/her/hers. I am also okay with they/them/theirs. Only in drag, I request that you use he/him/his. (That will be unlikely in the office, though. I am sorry to disappoint you.)

Q: When do you have availability for appointments?
A: I am available Tuesdays (2-7pm), Wednesdays (9am-3pm), and Thursdays (9am-5pm) for appointments. Use the submission form under the "contact" tab to see about making an appointment!

Q: What is therapy like?
A: Counseling is a way for you to uncover new information about yourself, your relationships, and where you can deepen your emotional and cognitive awareness. There are many benefits to therapy that can include: gaining new coping skills, deepening emotional experiences, and becoming unstuck in areas of your life.

MindBodyGreen (MBG) explains ten aspects of the therapeutic relationship that are either unknown to people who have never been to therapy or misconceptions. This MBG article clarifies what to expect from working with a therapist: 10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Therapy.

Q: Do you only work with individuals? Do you work with couples? Triads? Families? (Etc.)
A: I am happy to work with individuals, couples, and families of all configurations. I have 50-minute and 80-minute sessions to choose from. Usually 2+ people have more to say, so it is more common that clients will pick the longer session of the two. However, both sessions are open to anyone and everyone.

Q: What does “sex-positive” mean?
A: There are many definitions. To me, it is about embracing sexuality with an emphasis on consent and safe sex. Sex is still often considered a “taboo” topic, but I approach it with a positive attitude. I believe sex, your sexual identity, and sexual behaviors can be discussed without shame and awkwardness. I hope I can help create a safe space where you can explore and understand your sexuality and what that means for you and your relationships.

Q: What does “kink and poly knowledgeable” mean?
A: It means I am a therapist who is open-minded, non-judgmental, and supportive of the kink and non-monogamous lifestyle. Whether you are starting to explore or have been living the lifestyle for a while, I am here to give you the support you are looking for.

Q: Are you a sex surrogate? What is the difference between that and a sex therapist?
A: No, I am not a sex surrogate. There is no physical or sexual contact with clients. I am a mental health therapist who does talk therapy and focuses on sexuality and addressing any concerns that come with it.

Q: Do you work with children or adolescents?
A: I only work with adults, ages 18 and up. 

Q: What is the first visit like?
A: During the initial visit, we will get to know one another and do an assessment of your present concerns. To make the most of your time, please make sure to complete and read any forms I send you (via email) prior to your first session.

For couples and families, all individuals will need to complete the necessary forms and attend the first session together. After the initial session, I’ll ask to meet each person individually to assess each person outside of the relationship. After that, all future sessions will be with all individuals present unless otherwise stated.

Q: Do you prescribe medication?
A: As a psychotherapist, I am unable to prescribe medication. If during our work, we decide that medication may be beneficial, then we can work together to find a psychiatrist who would be able to prescribe medication.

Q: Do you have a Facebook page? An Instagram page? A FetLife page? (All the social media links!)
A: Yes! Feel free to check out Austin Intimate Matter’s Facebook page where lots of helpful and interesting articles are posted. I have other social media platforms that you can follow, listed under under “About Me.”

CONTACT

If you would like to make an appointment or have any additional questions, the best way to contact me is through email or the submission form below. I am not usually available by phone, but it is answered by a confidential voicemail.

I do not offer phone or in-person consultations.

If it is an emergency, please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.

Please note that none of these forms of communication are the time and place for therapy. 

I cannot ensure the confidentiality of any form of communication through electronic media (including emails, text messages, and social media platforms). If you contact me on a social media platform, even on a professional page, I will not reply to you.

While I try to return messages in a timely manner, I cannot guarantee an immediate response and request that you do not use these methods of communication to discuss therapeutic content and/or request assistance for emergencies.
 

Office Location:
4422 Pack Saddle Pass, Ste 103
Austin, Texas 78745

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