Furries in therapy

The excellent headline "Fursuit of Happiness" belies the seriousness of the topic: how do furries fare in therapy? Professionals find that it's best to bring along the fursona rather than put it aside on the couch, writes Hussein Kesvani.

According to Sharon Roberts, a sociology professor at the University of Waterloo and one of the few researchers who focuses on identity within furry communities, Max's therapy experience is pretty common. "There are some psychologists who associate fursonas with dissociative behavior, which by and large isn't the case," she explains. "In other cases, because of the aesthetic of furries — that they're a colorful and quite loud subculture — society generally sees them as more likely to suffer from mental health issues, when the research shows that's not true either. In a lot of cases, furries are less likely to develop severe mental health conditions because of how strong the bonds are in the community."

To better spread (and back up) this message, Roberts co-founded the International Anthropomorphic Research Project, a collective of academics dedicated to producing evidence-based research on furry culture and providing insights about it to therapists.

Photo: Rob Beschizza (CC BY 3.0)