In the Somatica training, we teach our budding coaching students how to build trust 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 trust with a client begins with being self aware of your own strengths and challenges. As a coach, 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 arousal sources.
2) Offer Secure Attachment
In these trusting 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 trusting 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.
3) Support the Client’s Autonomy & Individuation
Instead of having an agenda of saving or fixing, in a truly trusting 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 trust and practicing authentic relating will revolutionize your practice.