As coaches or others in helping professions, we are sought after to support people in their most challenging moments. Though we are used to offering people support in person, it is essential to also know how to connect with people during social distancing.

Somatica coaches – and other coaches who use touch in their practice – have the option of actually holding clients when they are hurting. We offer loving, supportive physical contact to people when they are experiencing hurt or grief. 


How To Hold Someone – Without Holding Them Physically

In this time of social distancing, it’s so important to know how to still intimately and compassionately connect with people. We were recently asked by one of our Core Training students how to hold someone – without actually holding them.  

Self Hug as a way to connect to people

So here are 3  ways you can give someone the feeling of being held during a Zoom or phone consultation:

  1. Have Them Use Their Imagination

    When you are coaching someone online and they are feeling alone, hurt, or are grieving, engage them in a creative visualization. Ask them to picture you holding them. To make the experience more real, it is helpful to use descriptive language.

    Paint a specific picture by saying: “I’m imagining my arms wrapped around you right now”. Or “I’m imagining you relaxed, lying in my lap, and I’m gently stroking your hair”. You can also ask people how they would want to be held by you, and then expand on their suggestions. For example, you might ask, “If I could hold you just right, what would you want me to do?”

  2. Connect to Yourself – and Bring Yourself Limbically

    When we are far away from each other, what is missing is the feeling of our limbic systems joining and syncing up. This connection tends to be very calming to the body.

    For your clients to feel linked to you, they need to receive signals from their body that you are present with them. But before you can bring yourself limbically, you must connect with yourself. So take a few deep breaths and make sure you can feel your body – your heart, your belly, and your pelvic floor. It helps to have your feet on the ground and continue to be aware of your own breath and body throughout your time with them.

    Then, try these three tools:

    1. Attunement – match their pace and energy. Maybe they are more solemn or want to bring more humor. Follow their lead.
    2. Eye contact – look into their eyes gently and feel your love for them.
    3. Soft voice – make sure your voice expresses the care you feel for them.

      How to connect to yourself before you connect to others
  3. Focus on Listening and Empathizing

    When people are under the stress of social distancing (or similar stressors), one of the main things they need is to be heard and understood by you.

    Don’t think about their experience through your own filter – really try to understand how they are experiencing it. Make sure to speak this empathy. Don’t just say, “I understand” say, “Yeah, you are feeling totally overwhelmed right now, and it’s hard to make a decision. That makes a lot of sense. It’s a really overwhelming time.” Notice that this statement is not about you. Don’t say you feel the same way as they do –  unless that is something that seems like it would be particularly soothing to them.

We hope this helps!

Love,

Celeste & Danielle

Dear Somatica Community, 

With you, we are watching as the coronavirus / COVID-19 increases its presence in the U.S. Our thoughts are especially with those for whom this global public health issue is immediate, personal, and painful. For all of us, it is a time of great uncertainty.

We Are Monitoring Coronavirus Trends Closely

We want to let you know that we are going to be monitoring Coronavirus trends closely – and are keeping up with information coming from the World Health Organization, the CDC and the California Dept. of Public Health.

Also, we are working on back-up plans to make sure you will still be able to get your sex coaching training this year, while reducing your risk of exposure to the virus. This will include making sure we follow all safety recommendations during in-person training. It may also mean that we will offer some portion of the training online.

Upcoming Trainings

At the moment, all workshops and trainings will proceed as scheduled. But as public health advisories change, please know that we might need to reschedule certain trainings or offer some portion of them online.

If you have RSVPd to a Free Intro or signed up for a training, we will keep you informed of any changes via direct emails.

Also, when we send out welcome letters, they will include the health and safety procedures that we are going to follow for any in-person trainings.

Somatic Training

Upcoming Free Intros

We will be offering our upcoming FREE intros online instead of in-person. Please feel free to keep registering for the relevant intro, and we will send you a link via Zoom (a free video conferencing platform) to attend.

RSVP for Online Intros

Staying Connected During Challenging Times

We invite you to keep an eye out for Somatica newsletters as we will be sending you opportunities to help you stay in touch with yourself, your loved ones, and your body through these challenges.

In Love and Health,
Celeste & Danielle

 

 

P.S. We are sure you are currently receiving heaps of reminders and guidelines from Public Health Officials. We want to make sure you are staying safe too, so here they are:

While the CA Department of Public Health continues to advise that the risk of Coronavirus to the general population remains low, recently updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that the following high-risk groups stay home as much as possible: a) people 60 and over, b) people with serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease. For more information on this new CDC health advisory, click here.

How to ask for what you want – both in bed and in life – is intensely difficult for many people.

In this real-life example of a Somatica Session, Sabrina works with sex coach Celeste Hirschman on the themes of self care, self love, and self worth. She wants to overcome her fears of displeasing her partner by asking for what she wants – before, during and after sex.

 

Building Self Worth

The goal of this therapy session is to empower the client to take control of their life, and teach them it’s ok to receive love and attention from others.

Embracing the principles of self worth and self love, Celeste starts by helping Sabrina explore her feelings of deserving. It’s the concept that she deserves love and care, and doesn’t need to work so hard for it. Sabrina admits she doesn’t feel worthy to ask for what she wants. She is used to taking what she can get from her relationships. 

To help build self worth, Celeste introduces the idea that having a real-time experience of asking for what she wants can help her get it. She encourages Sabrina to be specific and picky about her desires. On a deeper level, she can then go into an experience with the feeling that it is for her. Celeste assures that she wants to really do her best to meet Sabrina’s needs – and Sabrina practices accepting this sentiment.

They begin with breathwork to connect Sabrina to her heart, belly, and pussy. This is an effective tool to help someone identify what she really needs, in an embodied way. Sabrina asks for more closeness, and Celeste encourages her not to settle or “get by,” but to try to find and get what she really wants. As they deepen the connection, Sabrina gets specific about how she feels – for example about her hair being touched. Celeste encourages this specificity and thanks her for saying what she needs. 

How to Get What You Want – By Asking For It

Sabrina biggest worries are putting someone out, or making them do something they are uncomfortable doing. Celeste reassures her, and this allows Sabrina to feel safe to ask for more. Settling in and taking time between each ask gives her the bandwidth she needs to feel what she wants next.

Celeste reflects that Sabrina’s laid-back, receptive attitude is very sexy and inspiring. She identifies Sabrina’s self-possessed attitude, and helps her feels what it’s like to own herself. Asking for more closeness, Sabrina becomes very relaxed.

As the exercise continues, Sabrina is emboldened by her success. She asks her coach to push things forward. Celeste cheer leads Sabrina’s clarity and self-possession, and invites her to give feedback. 

Find Your Inner Cleopatra

At this point, Celeste guides Sabrina into finding her inner Cleopatra. Adopting a lounging position, they experiment with feeding Sabrina grapes and making her feel decadent and worthy.

However, when the word “deserving” is mentioned, Sabrina instinctually rejects it. She doesn’t feel herself to be deserving. Celeste points out how sexy she is when she takes the attitude of deserving, and Sabrina sees that it’s ok to relax into pleasure and ask for what she wants.

Find your inner cleopatra

Guiding her deeper into the exercise of self worth building, Celeste helps Sabrina identify what she wants before, during, and after sex. The goal is for her to not be content with the status quo, and  settle for less. By asking Sabrina to go to her oracles – her heart, belly, and pussy – they explore her needs after an erotic experience. In response, Sabrina brings up the courage to inquire if Celeste enjoyed herself – and wants to do it again.

Sensing that her client has managed to find a new confidence, Celeste invites Sabrina to let her inner Cleopatra self be the new normal. She points out that her queen-liness will invite all the things she wants in to her life.

Rewiring the Brain and Nervous System Through Experiences

In Somatica, we facilitate clients to have real-time encounters with pleasure and attachment. Through this process of experiencing something new and different, a person can rewire their brain and nervous system. It allows them to seek more joy and connection out in the world. Their body knows it’s possible, and longs to recreate the beauty of the experience. 

While it might seem tempting to brainstorm what your client should do out in the world, as a practitioner, it is important to start with the relationship between you and your client. Until they get a real sense of being deserving, it will be hard for them to shift patterns. They learn through real-time experiences of receiving and practicing with emotional and erotic intimacy.

Curious about learning more about the fascinating world of relationship coaching? Join us for our next Free Intro to Somatica. 

In the Somatica training, we teach you how to build a therapeutic relationship with a client that helps them transform in the realm of sex and intimacy. We call these “practice relationships” or “The Relationship Lab”. They are two-way, authentic relationships that offer freedom and safety to the client – so they can practice the tools to build healthy relationships.

Here is how:

1) Participate in Authentic Relating

Knowing how to build a therapeutic relationship with a client begins with being self aware of your own strengths and challenges. And you need to be willing to be honest with yourself and your client about them.

A practice relationship also requires authentic relating – a method where both practitioner and client share their feelings and vulnerabilities with one another. This is one of the biggest differences between most kinds of coaching (or therapy) and the Somatica Method – we don’t pretend to be unaffected erotically or emotionally by our clients. Experiences of arousal or emotional challenge aren’t simply processed by ourselves or with a supervisor. We share our feelings about and responses to our clients WITH our clients. Doing this mindfully and with the conscious intention of supporting our clients is of utmost importance. By providing real-life experiences with such challenges as differences in desire, triggering, conflict in relationships, we build trust and attachment.

Authentic relating also offers many opportunities to practice with the joyful and arousing parts of relationships. For example, you might practice giving each other appreciation, or learning each others Core Desires and Hottest Sexual Movies.

authentic relating

2) Offer Secure Attachment

In these therapeutic relationships with our clients, we are mindful in our constant intention to offer them an experience of secure attachment. We provide unconditional love and connection, respect, and honest, gentle communication as tools for this attachment. One of our favorite quotes is “There is no such thing as a perfect parent.”

We know we will not be perfect. But we commit to always be willing to repair, and to take responsibility for reaching out and inviting the possibility for repair. Creating a truly therapeutic relationship means we must be willing to take responsibility for the mistakes we make. And we must be honest about the triggered moments we experience in relationship to our client. This is the most anyone can hope for from an attachment figure.

Offering this attachment relationships is one part of why Somatica is so healing. Without even realizing fully why or how, people who experience this unconditional love and respect begin to feel better about themselves. By being treated respectfully and lovingly, people realize they deserve this kind of treatment. It allows them to build their own foundation or increase the strength of their foundation of self love.

secure attachment

3) Support the Client’s Autonomy & Individuation

Instead of having an agenda of saving or fixing, in a truly therapeutic relationship, we must always focus on helping our clients uncover their true will. People thrive on being supported in making decisions that are in alignment with who they are.  In so many instances in traditional coaching or therapy, clients report feeling like their helpers have an agenda for how they are supposed to behave. To support your client’s autonomy, you need to drop your agenda and see what they really want for themselves.

We always invite our clients to tell us if they feel pushed or overridden by us. Listening to those feelings and taking them seriously is paramount. And we also share our feelings in response. As their practice partner, we are eliciting and supporting their true will – while still being real about challenges and triggers that arise in us in response to them.

Frequently, our clients’ biggest “aha” moments often arrive when they have a new experience. Engaging in a practice relationship makes it possible for them to get fresh, more positive ways of approaching the pleasures and challenges of relationships. Building a therapeutic relationship and practicing authentic relating will revolutionize your practice.

Curious to learn more about The Somatica Method? Join us at our next free intro.

Have you ever wondered how to build emotional connection with someone in a social setting?  In this third real-life episode of the Somatica Sessions video series, coach Danielle Harel teaches her client Krister how to ask for consent, build interpersonal relationship skills, and attune himself in order to stage a successful seduction.

 

 

Attunement to Open Yourself Up

Krister wants to find his confidence and inspiration – what he calls the “activation energy” – so he can reach out for connection in social situations. When he thinks about initiating, he fears he is not interesting enough or that he’s bothering them. He gets in his head and is unsure of where he fits in. His current strategy is to stand nearby and wait for some kind of invitation or natural connection to happen.

Danielle presents in the idea of attunement as something that happens when your body and brain are integrated. She invites him to enter a social situation by running pleasure circuits inside himself. Taking him through a breathwork session, she helps him start to connect with himself and his own pleasure. This self-connection and self-enjoyment is the foundation to create a circuit of mutual attraction.

As Krister becomes more embodied and less distracted, he starts to inspire and pick up Danielle’s more subtle connection cues. She points out that each of them are inside of themselves and running a circuit of aliveness between them. From this place, Krister learns to communicate without popping out of his body and into his head. He does this is by staying in the moment and bringing curiosity without an agenda. 

 

Touch for Fostering Relaxation and Security

Krister mentions how relaxing it is for him when touch is in the mix. Touch gives him a sense of security in the connection and relaxes his whole nervous system. He and Danielle brainstorm how he can bring touch safely into a social environment. She teaches him how to escalate into touch by starting with the assumption of a yes – the assumption that he is wanted. 

As they talk, he is flowing his erotic energy towards her, and they are trying to figure out how Krister can foster an approach with that. He likes to dominate and play with edges because it fills him with excitement. Danielle points out that when he approaches someone, he will need to attune first in order to make sure the other person is actually a yes. Krister is learning to escalate with ongoing consent. He practices this by coming at her with his full desire, telling her what he wants to do to her, then pausing and making sure he reads her consent cues.

At the end of the cycle of erotic connection, Krister discovers how to keep building that emotional connection instead of breaking it. He also learns to listen to the voice of his desire as the guide where he wants to escalate next. They practice together, playing with verbal seduction and dominance as he takes Danielle to new heights of arousal. He also learns to trust his own and his partner’s “YES.” 

The Magic of Self Connection

In Somatica, we teach our students and clients how to follow their own desires, while staying attuned to the needs and responses of others. It can be challenging for anyone to come into a social situation and try to make connections – but someone’s got to make the first move.

At the Somatica Institute, we help you come into your body and foster pleasurable self-connection. The goal is to feel confident and be present – instead of being in your head, worrying and strategizing about what to do next. When you are embodied, you feel others more, and the likelihood of chemistry arising becomes much higher.

 

Intrigued by Somatica? Learn more about the Core Training or attend one of our free intros!

What if you could learn how to create desire in others by simply fostering a deeper self connection? 

In this first episode of our brand new Somatica Sessions video series, Celeste guides her client Spiritchild on a journey of self connection. By finding a connection to his own erotic essence and bringing it to every interaction, Spiritichild realizes he can increase his joy, creativity, spirituality and aliveness in the world.

Discovery of the Core Problem

The episode begins with Celeste helping Spiritchild discover what blocks him from enjoying non-sexual intimacy with his partner. At first, she tests to see if his problem is centered around not feeling free to choose when he wants to do something. She comes to realize that Spiritchild disconnects from his own erotic energy and, when he does, he feels less involved and excited.

Additionally, he goes into a pleaser mode. He jumps out of the self connection state and assumes a care taking role. When he is in this pleasing role, he feels more like a provider and less like a mutually interested participant. Celeste is able to feel this, and guesses that Spiritchild’s partner has this same experience. She is likely feeling that he has left the connection and is just doing it for her. But he isn’t really there for himself.

The Path to Self Connection

Celeste gently guides Spiritchild into touching for his own pleasure. She encourages him to to see what a non-sexual interaction can do for him. Staying connected to his own erotic energy allows him to attune to himself – while at the same time attuning to his partner. Celeste can feel the difference, and makes him understand how much more connected she feels if he is also in it for himself.

When you flow your own erotic energy into yourself, you learn how to create desire with self connection. You realize you don’t need to be in a mutually desirous situation. But you are also available to move into a sexual connection if your partner responds with desire. There is never pressure to do so. By keeping your erotic energy consciously engaged, you can bring it into every moment of your life.

The Lessons Learned

Spritichild’s erotic energy is a huge part of what motivates him in his daily life. Through his Somatica work, he now realizes this intensity is about more than just his love relationships. It’s what makes him feel vital, musical, loving, and connected to spirit in every moment.

The lesson to take from Celeste’s work with Spiritchild is that people often compartmentalize sex. They believe the only time to connect with their erotic energy is when they have sex with a partner (or themselves).

With the Somatica Method, you learn to help people stop shaming their erotic energy – and instead embrace it as a natural part of who they are. You can teach them to bring this erotic self connection into their lives – and in turn bringing aliveness into their daily activities.

Intrigued by Somatica? Learn more about the Core Training or attend one of our free intros!

Learning how to do relationship repair well will improve your life more than just about any skill you will ever learn. Tension and conflict are normal parts of every relationship. Relationship repair, however, can be tricky.

If you think you can make sure problems never happen by preemptively solving them, you will be sorely disappointed. There will always be tension and challenges in every relationship, so don’t try to eradicate them. If you do, you will likely spend your time together walking on eggshells, criticizing each other, or feeling distant. Instead, try to become efficient and effective in the relationship repair process. It will allow you to spend more time in joy, pleasure, love, and connection – and less time in pain, trauma, and conflict.

 

What is Relationship Repair? 

Relationship repair is the process you go through with a partner when you have a challenge come up in your relationship.

If you address relationship conflict like most people do – by blaming, shaming, defending, explaining, apologizing, demanding forgiveness, or avoiding all conflict altogether – trust and intimacy in your relationships will likely erode over time.

Practicing relationship repair whenever you or your partner are upset can exponentially increase the likelihood of getting to a better place of understanding. It deepens trust and connection, and can also pave the way for mutual support.

The 10 Steps of Relationship Repair

  1. Know You Are in an Emotional Conversation

    Either of you can bring awareness to the fact that you have moved from a regular, positive, neutral, logistical or non-triggered conversation to a triggering or challenging conversation. You might say, “I’m starting to get activated” or “I’m feeling tension inside me from this conversation” or “I’m triggered”.

  2. Gauge Your Level of Activation or Triggering

    Each of you can name your number from 0-10. Zero is neutral and 10 is my head is about to explode/I’ve completely lost it (can be rage, desire to flee, dissociation). The idea is to try and avoid having conversations – and especially making any decisions – when you are in high activation. Anything beyond a 3 on either side, and it’s better to look for a way to come down and reconnect before you even try to start talking.

  3. Remember – You are a Good Person

    Once you’ve started the conversation, your partner might say things to you that make you feel like you’ve done something wrong. At this point, instead of defending or explaining, see if you can take a moment and remind yourself or your inner child (silently inside your head) that you are a good person and you are doing the best you can.

  4. Decide Who Will Go First

    It is almost impossible to get both people’s feelings or issues heard at the same time. Either of you can generously offer though to be the listener first. You can also preemptively decide to let the person with the highest trigger number go first. If over the course of your relationship, the same person always seems to be the listener first, it’s a good idea to let the other take a turn. In the least, try consciously acknowledging and making sure everyone is ok with whatever is happening around turn-taking.

  5. Share Vulnerably

    Sharing vulnerably means talking about your feelings and not about what happened or about the other person. If you are the person who is sharing first, try to speak neutrally – in a non-shaming, non-judgmental way. Explain what the other person is doing and tell them how it makes you feel. For example: “When you decline my invitations for sex, I feel rejected and start to shut down or give up.”

  6. Listen Empathetically

    Listening empathetically doesn’t just mean parroting back what the other person says. It means actually taking a moment and seeing if you can let yourself, as best you can, feel what it’s like to be in the other person’s shoes. Do NOT say, “I feel exactly like that” or “Yeah, I feel that way too” because it is not true. Even if you harbor similar feelings, your life experiences (core wounds, triggers, survival strategies) are completely different. You will never feel exactly the same thing as someone else feels in the same situation.

    Once you get a handle on what you think they might be feeling, say it while staying connected to your empathy. For example: “Yikes, that sucks. I can imagine how rejected and shut down you must feel when I say no to you.” At that point, they may need to elaborate more about how they feel, and you want to just keep listening and empathizing with each new thing they say.

    Make sure to track if you are getting too triggered or overwhelmed in the process. If you do feel too triggered, you will need to alert your partner to the new number you are rising to.

    Listening emphatically is critical in repairing a relationship.

  7. Cop to It

    Once you’ve listened to your partner as best you can, it is time to cop to whatever particular way you behave may have contributed to their upset. You know you can be challenging sometimes. It is great to know the ways you are challenging and to be aware of how they affect your partner. Instead of defending or feeling guilty, you can instead acknowledge the impact.

    For example, you might say, “I know one thing that is hard about me in relationships is that I often feel like my freedom is being encroached upon so I might say ‘no’ even when I’m more of a maybe or just because you asked. Also, when I say ‘no’, I can be harsher than I want to be because I feel protective of my freedom.”

    Make sure that the cop is generic – this means that you are copping to something you know to be true about you in relationships in general. Copping is not an apology for a specific thing that you did. Copping to a particular way you behave that increases the likelihood that your partner will get upset can really help your partner feel like they are not crazy. Make sure you only cop to something if you authentically feel it is something you do regularly – in other words, it is one of your patterns.

  8. Reassure Your Partner

    Once you really understand the underlying issue, you can give reassurance to your partner. Do not reassure before you actually know what is upsetting them or you will likely miss the mark. A reassurance might be, “I know that I have a much lower sex drive than you and the discrepancy is really difficult. I also want you to know that I really do desire you. When I am in the mood, I love having sex with you.” Again though – only reassure if the reassurance is TRUE.

  9. Make Sure Both Partners Get a Turn

    If you have shared some challenging feelings with your partner, it is likely they have their own concerns come up in response. It is extremely important that both of you are able to share – and feel heard.

  10. Evaluate

    If at the end of this process, you are not feeling better or more connected, something may have been missed. Perhaps a feeling you weren’t able to voice, or a need for reassurance. This is the time to check in and see if you are both feeling heard, understood and reconnected. If not, you may have to go through the process again with whatever is still residual. This process is an ongoing exercise in relationship repair, and you might need to revisit the same topic multiple times.

The best way to fix a broken relationship, is to practice relationship repair frequently.


When emotions are high, it can be very difficult to switch into relationship repair mode, so be gentle on yourself and your partner. Instead of monitoring and correcting your partner around following the steps, see if you can do it well yourself.

The best way to make relationship repair part of your daily life, is to commit to practicing it as best you can – to share vulnerably, be honest about what is challenging about you in relationship, and treat others the way you want to be treated. You will feel better about yourself, and you will be the invitation for your partner to practice it well if they are able.

If you feel you need help learning and practicing the skills of relationship repair, find a coach near you via our directory. You can also get a tremendous amount of practice as well as learning how to help your clients with repair in our Somatica Core Training.

At their core, people have a profound desire to connect. So Valentine’s Day can feel a little played out. The pressure to please your partner, the expectation that everyone should have a partner, and the external societal pressure to conform to an idea of what the day should look like can really put a damper on it. Even for those of us who have dedicated our life’s work to sex, love, and romance year-round, it can sometimes feel like a burden. At the same time, Valentine’s Day can have a lot of power and excitement – and we want you to get the most out of it.

We wanted some fresh, practical and hot ideas so we asked other Somatica trained Sex Coaches, Sexperts, and Sex Educators what they do for V-day. It turns out they have very different answers – from awaiting the discount goodies on February 15th, to attending just the right sex party. Here are their unique Valentines Day ideas for folks who love or hate V-day – and everyone in between!

1. Just Another Day…To Attend a Kinky Genderplay Party

For many sex coaches, V-day is not so different from the rest of their passion-filled lives. We try and make sure to have impassioned connections and create unique special occasions whenever wcan. This sentiment was echoed by a good number of folks we spoke to, but any given day for a sex coach might look a little different than your average Joe or Jane. For instance Dori – who coaches in the Bay Area – offers a great example of a practical idea she knows she and her partner will love. And it can be encouraging for people to know that even sex coaches schedule date nights and sexual explorations.

Gender cosplay might not be your bag, but planning something you have done before and know you love is a great way to celebrate V-day.

2. If You Gotta Work, Spread the Love

Like Dori, a lot of sex coaches will be sharing their expertise with clients for V-Day. Sex coaching is one of the fastest growing fields, so taking time off might not be what you want to do when you love your work and have amazing opportunities for connection. Unless it randomly falls on a weekend, most people work on Valentine’s day. Spending a day at work and then needing to figure out a special night can feel less than ideal.n.

For example, don’t feel too bad for the multi-talented Xanet. Poor thing will be in Costa Rica this February: “I will be assisting my mentor at a Tropical Couples Valentine Week Tantra Workshop and doing private Somatica coaching sessions with them! Helping to Spread the Love!!”

3. Make a Plan with Friends

Bay Area-based Annie has a fun, sexy and unique valentines day idea: “I’m going to shake my booty to Rhye – one of my favorite sexy bands with a couple foxy lady friends in San Francisco! Come join us!”

A great way to spend Valentine’s Day is to plan ahead and do something you love with people you love – no matter if they are romantic partners. This can work for singles or couples who don’t want the pressure or expectations. It’s a failsafe plan that will make Annie feel grounded in who she is – and she will feel sexy, embodied, and fulfilled at the end of the day. We may join. 🙂

Your plan can be joyous and playful like Annie’s, or you can find your most angst-ridden friend or crew, find a dark corner and sing along to Morrissey or whatever maudlin music feeds your broody soul. Having a plan that reflects what you love and the friends you can be yourself with is a brilliant way to take the pressure off and make this day truly yours.

4. Know Your Needs

For some people, the best thing to do on Valentine’s Day is to know it’s just not for them.

“I set my expectations really low to avoid disappointment on an overrated romantic holiday”, shared Santa Cruz based coach, Megan. “Apparently I am triggered by romance… probably due to the high level of disappointment the whole fantasy inherently brings to my world.”

We really appreciated Megan’s honest answer and agree that it reflects the sentiments of much of the population. Instead of feeling shame about this day by bringing up negative emotions, she strategized ways to take care of herself, knowing that romance fantasies are not her thing. Many people – especially women – feel that romance is the only appropriate kind of love story to desire. From working with hundreds of couples and individuals, we know this is not the case.

If celebrating Valentine’s Day feels like it is about a kind of romance you can’t stomach, you can make it about something else. Or just shift your expectations and wait for a holiday that speaks to you. After all – there’s always International Fetish Day or National Underwear Day. Yay.

5. Make It a Day for Self-Love

What if you could really be your own Valentine? Susan, in Denver, has an amazing plan for spoiling herself that brings this unique Valentine’s Day idea list to a fitting end.

“Whether I have a lover or not, I do a thing I call Courting Your Inner Partner. I ask myself: “How would Susan love to experience this day?” Then I get down to the detail, with self-love notes and pre-cooking food- so ‘Susan’ doesn’t have to. It’s a total mind game, but it totally works and I always go home with myself!”

While this may seem a bit advanced, there are many ways to follow this example and give yourself what you need on Valentine’s Day.

Need more inspiration?

We are always happy to chat with you. And if you want to spend a day connecting with all sorts of lovely folks, check out our FREE intro to Somatica on March 9th in Berkeley + Oakland (or Portland, Seattle, LA, NYC, Charleston NC, Washington DC, Toronto, and British Columbia).

Year after year, we make New Year’s Resolutions trying to turn over a new leaf and change our lives for years to come. The most common resolutions are generally ambitious, or downright unrealistic. More often than not they are motivated by shame and self-judgment.

In psychological terms, resolutions tend to be backed by avoidant motivations, by what we don’t want, instead of approach motivations, what we do want. While this difference might seem minimal or largely semantic, it is actually extremely important in terms of what we can achieve and how. Here are some examples of common New Year’s Resolutions and how we have changed them to make them more possible and fulfilling.

Love My Body Vs. Change My Body

Let’s take weight loss as an example, this is one of the top resolutions every year. Most people vow to go on diets or begin intense workout regimens which maybe last until February or March. Why? Because changing habits is actually a pretty difficult venture and when you do it from a basis of being unkind to yourself it is very unlikely to work. What if your resolution was to think of small, daily ways to try and love your body more. This is not an easy task in a society that promotes self-hatred and unrealistic standards, but it can be done with patience and mindfulness.

So here is a reminder from us – your body is beautiful, strong, and has the potential to experience amazing amounts of pleasure. Think of a few kind things to say to your body – your body will be kind back.

Loving your body may well include exercising more and focusing on foods that make you feel good longer versus foods that fill an emotional void in the moment. But the emphasis on acceptance is much more likely to lead to change than the obsession with change. This goes for much more than body image goals, which is why we encourage people to de-shamify as an essential focus for any personal growth.

Explore My Passion vs Get a New Job

While an employment change may be in your future it can be daunting as a New Year’s Resolution. Also, sometimes simply changing jobs does not actually offer long-term satisfaction. So let’s leave this for another kind of to-do list and make the resolution to explore your passion. Finding ways to include what you are passionate about in your routines about can transform all aspects of your life. Not all passions will translate to a career, but many can even if the connection is not obvious at first. From our own career trajectories, we have learned that following our passions, even when we were not connecting them to a clear career goal, kept leading us back to gaining deeper understandings of sex and intimacy.

When people come to our Somatica Core Training they tell us that the changes they make as a result are not limited to romantic relationships or professional growth. Whether our students become sex and intimacy coaches and apply our method daily in their careers or simply in their relationships and personal growth, it still impacts satisfaction in all elements of their life.

Connect More vs. Make New Friends

Adults over 30 report struggling to make new friends as a major point of dissatisfaction. While the spirit of the resolution to make new friends is great, it might feel a bit overwhelming. What if instead, you resolved to connect more in general and to give yourself points just for putting yourself out there in your daily life.

This might mean making more eye contact, striking up conversations, pming a Facebook acquaintance for a coffee date or a FaceTime date with an old friend. When people join us for a Somatica Training they find a community that they only ever dreamed about before. The nature of the work means that people can’t hide behind small talk or devices, instead, they enter into an immersive experience where they get to know each other and create lasting bonds and support networks. Friendships grow organically once we come to an experience with our full selves.

Explore Your Sexual Self vs. Have More Sex

There is nothing wrong with wanting to up the frequency of your sex life. However, as sex and relationship coaches we can tell you that the way to make sustainable and highly pleasurable changes to your sex life generally involves taking some time to explore what you really want and to learn how to ask for it. This is not as simple as quality over quantity, because, the truth is, both are important.

Read more…

Ok, we like this one as it is. We are avid readers of fiction and non-fiction. Let’s face it, books are sexy. Knowledge is sexy. But once again, we are going to emphasize reading for pleasure as a New Year’s Resolution. It will be much easier to make reading a sustainable habit if you start of with your pleasure reads and cycle in that book on personal finance a bit later. We like a steady diet alternating fiction with new books in the field of sex and intimacy. This way we have something to read for whatever headspace we are in, but we love it all.

Oh, and if you have not already read our books, Making Love Real and Cockfidence we would love to know what you think.

So…what are the Best New Year’s Resolutions?

Anything that makes you smile when you think about the year ahead. We can’t wait to hear all about your New Years Resolution ideas.

The signs of shame are all around us. Sometimes you can see people’s shame seep out slowly – other times it explodes. When you pay attention and listen to people long enough, you begin to hear not only what they are saying about themselves, but what they desperately want to hide. Many people seek coaching or therapy because they want to change something about themselves. We work on overcoming and healing shame first. Then we look to see what the person really needs in order to grow.

What is Shame?

At its essence, shame is a feeling you get when there is something about you that you feel is inherently bad, wrong or unlovable. You fear that, if people knew this thing (or things) about you, it would make you unfit to be in their heart, their family, their embrace. Or that instead, you would be cast out.

While we are ultimately in the business of helping people obtain new tools that will help them live happier, more fulfilling lives, we certainly never want to reinforce the extensive amounts of shame that are part of the day-to-day air we breathe.

Identifying and Uprooting Toxic Shame

We begin every session by attuning to ourselves and others, listening deeply to a person’s desired outcomes, and ruthlessly rooting out toxic shame. We call this last part of the process “de-shamifying”. And why do we start with de-shamifying before transformation? Because shame fills a person with pressure, apprehension, and restriction.

It is very hard to learn something new if you believe you are completely unlovable the way you are. That level of pressure causes a person to freeze, shut down, fake it, and run away. Trying something new is risky – it requires patience, gentleness, and self-acceptance.

And Finally – De-shamifying and Healing Shame

Once you have begun to identify and name your feelings of shame, there are some key ways you can begin to let go and heal shame. In the Somatica method, we de-shamify in multiple ways, including the following three:

1. Admitting we are flawed

Unlike many other coaches and teachers, we very vulnerably share the ways we do not have it all figured out. This helps our clients realize that it’s ok not to be perfect, that we ourselves are not perfect and are ok with it.

2. Exposing unrealistic expectations in our culture

Another way to de-shamify is to shake our fists at a world that creates all that expectation. It practically requires us to pretend that we have it all together and are ok and happy all the time. To point out that this is not true for ANYONE often helps clients realize it is actually the world that is messed up – not them.

3. Loving someone – even as they tell us what is unlovable about themselves

When someone shares their shame with us, then looks us in the eye and sees we have nothing but love and appreciation for them – that is often the key that helps to melt the shame away. This love and compassion, in fact, is often enhanced by their bravery in sharing their shame with us, and by expressing those sentiments, the person can relax, let go of anxiety and breathe again.

YES, AND

Sometimes people get confused by the process of de-shamifying. They ask the question: “Is our job to help a person accept themselves as they are – or to transform?” This is a false choice – the answer is actually YES, AND. Yes, it is our job to help someone accept themselves exactly as they are AND to transform. Our desire to continue to grow does not go away because we accept ourselves. Quite the contrary – self-love unfreezes us enough to exercise our freedom to experiment, to take the big scary risks, and to step more fully into the bigness of all that we can be!
 
If you’re interested in deeper learning around the process of overcoming and healing shame – either for personal growth or your own therapy practice – consider taking part in our Core Training sessions. We also conduct a Free Intro so you can get acquainted with the Somatica Method. We look forward to seeing you there.