Awareness, Professionalism, Advocacy, Compassion, Training.

Established in 2014, Kink and Polyamory Aware Chicago Therapists (KPACT) is an online community of psychotherapists, healthcare professionals, and graduate students of these disciplines who value gender, sexual, and erotic diversity and seek to connect with like-minded colleagues in the greater Chicago metropolitan area for the purpose of learning and better serving our clients.

Learn more about our mission, who we are, and our history.

A person smiles as they present to a small gathering.
A group of people enthusiastic about their work together.

Over 25 CE-bearing education events with accessible, tiered registration provided.

Workshops attended by over 750 clinicians and mental health graduate students.

300+ professional members active in our online KPACT networking group.

KPACT therapist members workshop
Therapists having fun together

Who We Are

Headshot of Essie Shachar-Hill, LCSW
Essie Shachar-Hill (they/them), LCSW

Essie Shachar-Hill, LCSW

Essie Shachar-Hill is the Programs Manager at LifeWorks Psychotherapy and manages KPACT activities, membership, and events. As a therapist they work with teens and adults and they specialize in working with fellow trans people. Essie has over eight years of experience facilitating groups, ranging in focus from youth empowerment to grief and social support. 

Prior to becoming a clinician, Essie spent several years working on mezzo-level social change by supporting organizations to become more supportive of LGBTQ+ people through policy, programming, and culture. They have also taught sex ed in public schools and written curricula to support the social and emotional wellbeing of Jewish trans and nonbinary teens across the US. Essie believes that training and education for professionals and the general public is crucial for transforming oppressive societal conditions. They are grateful to be a contributor to the KPACT community which weaves together issues of mental health, sexuality, and liberation. 

Headshot of Dr. Cindy Trawinski,  Psy.D., Dipl PW
Dr. Cindy Trawinski (she/her),  Psy.D., Dipl PW

Dr. Cindy Trawinski, Psy.D., Dipl PW

Cindy Trawinski is a clinical psychologist and Diplomate in process-oriented psychology. She is the managing partner at LifeWorks Psychotherapy Center, a leader in providing sex-positive psychotherapy services to the LGBTQIA+, kink/BDSM, Polyamory/CNM and sex work communities of the greater Chicago area. 

Cindy is the creator of DeepWell.xyz, an online library of audio-recorded inner work exercises — guided processes of self-exploration that rely on noticing, articulating and closely following one’s experience to solve problems, find a new point of view, work on relationship conflicts or make decisions.

Cindy has extensive experience in marketing and business development. She served as a marketing executive in private industry for over 17 years and as CEO of the Process Work Institute, a non-profit educational institution offering graduate training programs, advanced certification and individual courses and seminars in process-oriented psychology.

Headshot of Rami Henrich, LCSW, Dipl PW
Rami Henrich (she/her), LCSW, Dipl PW

Rami Henrich, LCSW, Dipl PW

Rami Henrich is a licensed clinical social worker and a Diplomate in process-oriented psychology (or process work), as well as a founding partner of LifeWorks Psychotherapy Center and North Shore Psychotherapy Associates. Rami has studied, taught and applied Process-oriented Psychology as developed by Arnold Mindell, Ph.D. since the late 90s.

During her career, Rami has had a special interest in working with relationship difficulties and those who identify as living an alternative lifestyle. Rami is a certified Imago Relationship Therapist as well as is a frequent speaker on topics including: Sex Positivity: Therapist Bias; Rank & Power; and Polyamory. Her passion for these issues led her to start the Chicago Polyamory Support Group which has been running continuously since its start in 2010.

Our History

KPACT began in the summer of 2014, on a warm evening in Lakeview in Chicago. Over 40 clinicians responded to an email invitation to attend a networking event for therapists of kinky and polyamorous clients. As the late day sun streamed in, there were appetizers and drinks, and the crowd squeezed into LifeWorks’ Lakeview consulting office. There was a feeling of excitement, warmth, and connection.

From a conversation, a community takes shape

LifeWorks Psychotherapy Center was a fledgling organization at the time, and we were looking for other therapists to whom we could refer clients. The idea to host an evening to mingle and learn with other therapists grew out of a lunch conversation between Cindy Trawinski, Psy.D. of LifeWorks and Braden Berkey, Psy.D. of the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. After more conversation back at LifeWorks with Carrie Jameson, LCPC and Rami Henrich, LCSW, a dream of community started to take form.

The practice would host an evening of learning and connection with other sex-positive therapists focused around a presentation on Personal and Professional Boundaries in Small Communities, given by Trawinski and Henrich. It would give LifeWorks a chance to collect some business cards and build a referral list. But even before the evening was over, there was a much bigger vision on the horizon.

Making the dream real with educational programming and meaningful professional networking opportunities

A short while after that initial get together, a name for the group and a calendar of educational events for 2015 were created. KPACT became a resource to educate, train, and support a community of Chicago-area psychologists, social workers, counselors, sex therapists, educators, and psychiatrists who wanted to connect with like-minded mental health professionals.

Clarifying our mission: KPACT finds it’s purpose

KPACT’s mission became clear: to deepen professionals’ understanding of issues faced by kinky, polyamorous, and non-monogamous people. This mission naturally formed from the awareness of the growing need for competent and culturally sensitive clinicians to serve these often overlooked, pathologized, or marginalized clients.

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KPACT Membership

Join the KPACT Professional Community

Are you a professional who serves the kink/BDSM or polyamory/non-monogamy communities? Join the KPACT Provider Directory.