Dr. McConnell is available for presentations, podcasts, and consultation to clinicians and educators.
After some thirty years of practice, I retired from private practice on October 31, 2020. I am now available for speaking engagements, panels, podcasts, and consultation to licensed professionals and educators. This website, was designed when I was in private practice, and is under re-construction.
At 70 years of age, it just felt like it was time to move on from clinical practice to an active retirement with the man I love.
The practice of psychotherapy has given me the privilege of knowing many wonderful people at a depth which is rarely possible, even among friends. The work invited me into the lives of people diverse across cultures, incomes, religions, sexualities, vocations, intellect and outlook.
In some respects, my practice has been very radical. 45 years ago, my undergrad thesis – which was on the transition from sexual identity to intimacy for gay males and lesbians – included questions on BDSM. Mirroring my own life and community, the majority of my clients have been GSRD. For some of you, GSRD is still a new, unknown term. GSRD expands on LGBT. It stands for Gender, Sexuality, and Relationship Diverse. GSRD expands gender diversity to include phenomena such as gender fluidity. GSRD expands sexual diversity beyond LGB to phenomena such as BDSM/kinky/spicy, asexuality, and pan-sexuality. GSRD expands relationship diversity beyond multi-racial/cultural/religious/aged to phenomena such as consenting non-monogamy (CNM), Power Exchange (PE) and designer relationships.
When I started university studies in 1972, the entire GSRD spectrum was diagnosed as perverse and pathological, including homosexuality. I have practiced in an era in which it has been radical to assert that – on the contrary – almost all of this diversity is a normal variation that when lived well is healthy and joyful.
It has been radical to assert that for many souls these variations are not – as we were taught – pathological barriers to intimacy, but rather the essential path to and expression of joyful intimacy. I now refer to BDSM simply as Spicy.
My assertion that spicy and GSRD is OK has been as radical and discomforting to some colleagues as was my assertion that homosexuality was OK, when I came out as gay in the 1960s. Often the discomfort has been felt on both sides. For my part, I have been always bolstered by witnessing the sheer relief, joy and intimacy my clients have found by integrating their fuller selves.
In other areas, my practice has been a little old school. I’m drawn to reading Greek mythology, and thus Freud, along with the contemporary masters. The word psyche comes from the ancient Greek word for breath and was synonymous with life or spirit.
I have always seen the therapeutic relationship as a Doctor-Patient, not a Provider-Client dynamic. The word patient comes from the ancient Greek, meaning one who suffers. It shares the same root as the word patience. As a doctor, I have sought to care for my patients as whole persons. I am proud to have never dropped a patient because they couldn’t pay. I’ve never felt the “doctor-patient” dynamic impinged on the inter-subjective space of treatment: it is just a statement about how we came to meet, our different responsibilities, and our joint purpose.
Most of us know that psychotherapy requires an ongoing discipline – or perhaps just a habitual awareness – of keeping a dual perspective of “the other” as both “an unknowable other” and as “the same human stuff as oneself.” This is a life-perspective, earned by practice, and a perspective I value greatly.
Like many in this field, I did not choose it as much as I felt called to it.
I am grateful to share this vocation with so many exceptionally warm, caring, kind and bright people.
I am grateful for Interns who have kept my eyes fresh.
I am grateful for the rich friendships I have found among colleagues.
Most of all I am of course grateful to all the patients who entrusted their hidden selves with me. From each I have learned.
In all, it has been a wonderful vocation.
As of October 31, 2020, I will be closing down my office address on Front Street. You can contact me at:
By E-mail at
By phone at
By Snail-mail at
John McConnell, PhD.
325 W. Washington St, Ste #2, Box 2267,
San Diego CA 92103
Records & Consultation
If you are seeing a new therapist, I will be glad to consult with them.
Individual records will be kept for 7 years from the date which I last saw each patient, and then destroyed. For access, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org