Frequently Asked Questions
What is TowelTalk?
TowelTalk is a free counselling service provided by professional counsellors at bathhouses around Toronto. Please check our monthly calendar to see which bathhouses host our counsellors.
Do I need an appointment?
No. You don’t need an appointment to talk to one of our counsellors at the bathhouse. Simply show up at the counsellor’s door.
What if I want to talk to the counsellor outside of the bathhouse?
You can book an appointment to talk to the counsellors outside of the bathhouse. You can call 416.340.8484 x 289 to book an appointment, or just talk to the counsellors at the bathhouse to book one.
Is it confidential?
Yes. What you talk about with the bathhouse counsellor is confidential and anonymous. In all bathhouses, there are rooms for bathhouse counselling. This provides a safe, private and confidential space within each bathhouse.
Is it free?
Yes. TowelTalk is free, and you can access the service at the bathhouse as many times as you want. The only fee you will have to pay is what the establishment charges for admission.
Can I use the service if I’m high or drunk?
Yes. TowelTalk works from a harm reduction perspective. This means that as long as you can engage in a conversation, you are able to express your concerns, and you can benefit from counselling, then you can use the service. If you are too out of it, you will be asked to come back at another time.
What can I talk about with the counsellor?
TowelTalk is a space to talk about your thoughts, reactions, feelings, and concerns. You might feel you need support in areas like sexual health, emotional well-being, substance use, negotiating risk, body image, etc. Feel free to ask about any concerns. If the counsellor is unable to help, he may be able to suggest a referral to more appropriate services elsewhere.
Is it HIV Counselling?
You can get HIV counselling as one of the many counselling services provided. You can also talk about many other concerns or areas where you feel you might need support, or simply someone to listen to you.
How long are the sessions?
The sessions last from ten to forty-five minutes, depending on the needs of each person, and with regard for others who may be waiting to see the counsellor.
Can I come back?
As long as you and the counsellor feel that it would be beneficial for you, you can access TowelTalk any time you are in the bathhouse and the service is being offered. Please check the monthly calendar to see the dates and times of service.
If I use the service, does that mean there is something wrong with me?
No! Many times, all we need is someone to listen to us. Talking to someone about personal matters can be difficult, especially with close friends or family. Talking with someone who is trained can facilitate this, and may help open doors for solutions, or make it easier to seek ongoing support and counselling. Just talking itself can make a big difference.
Why counselling in a bathhouse?
We recognize that a bathhouse is a place to have fun. However, sometimes there might be things that get in the way of having safer, sexier, and hotter fun. Talking to a counsellor might help you feel more comfortable with yourself and address issues that may be affecting your wellbeing. This can help you have more fun and enjoyment both in and outside of the bathhouse.
… and no, the counsellors will not be wearing a towel.
Spoken to a bathhouse counsellor?We want to know how it went. To provide brief and anonymous feedback, click here.
Read the 2011 TowelTalk Evaluation Report here.