Counselling Needs of Sex Workers: A Grounded Theory Study
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In this grounded theory study, I set out to explore the research question, “What, if any, are the specific needs of sex workers in counselling?” I gathered data primarily from 12 interviews with 6 sex workers and 2 therapists. I coded, compared, and categorized the data, generating one central concept and several secondary concepts. The primary concept or emergent theory was that sex workers participating in this study developed a broken danger radar, and this is necessary in order to do the work. The concept extended to recognize that the broken danger radar was not acknowledged among the group until they had a significant amount of time, if not decades, since doing the work. The other concepts that emerged from the data included intuition as a factor in sex work and self-separation as necessary in sex work. In addition, adaptive responses, avoiding questions, and negative social responses were all secondary categories that were revealed by the data. Implications derived for counselling were an awareness that acknowledging that possessing a broken danger radar might be present in sex workers and also may take several years or decades for a sex worker to acknowledge. I discuss relevant counselling approaches that arose from the literature review, such as attachment theory, as well as other implications for counselling sex workers. I acknowledge limitations to the study, such as a lack of generalizability.