Somatica Institute Faculty

The Somatica Institute consists of two lead instructors, who are also the founders and the creators of the Somatica Method, Dr. Danielle Harel and Celeste Hirschman, M.A. as well as group leaders and alumni.


Danielle Harel, MSW, PhD

Co-Founder and Lead Instructor

Danielle Harel received her Ph.D. and Doctorate degree in Human Sexuality from The Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco. She has a graduate degree in Clinical Social Work (MSW) and a Bachelor’s (BA) degree in Psychology and Educational Counseling. Danielle was on the faculty of the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human sexuality where she was a professor and taught the Sexological Bodywork Training and Certification Program. In her previous career as a childbirth educator, she taught individuals and groups approaches to childbirth and has also researched and published a dissertation on women’s experiences of orgasm during childbirth. She is a Co-founder and Co-creator of the Somatica Method and is currently a Lead Instructor at the Somatica Institute. She also has her own private practice where she sees clients in her Sunnyvale office.

Celeste Hirschman,  M.A.

Co-Founder and Lead Instructor

Celeste Hirschman received her Master’s Degree in Human Sexuality Studies from San Francisco State University and her Bachelor’s Degree in Women’s Studies at the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC). At UCSC she was a Teaching Assistant as well as a Dean’s and Chancellor’s Award recipient for her thesis. She taught as a lecturer at San Francisco State University (SFSU) in the Human Sexuality Studies Department and was a Research Assistant and Project Manager at the SFSU’s Center for Research on Gender and Sexuality, where she published numerous articles on adolescent sexuality development. She was also an Assistant Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, where she taught the Sexological Bodywork Training and Certification Program. She is the Co-founder and the Co-creator of the Somatica Method ® and is currently a Lead Instructor at the Somatica Institute. She also has her own private practice where she sees clients in her San Francisco office.

Group Leaders


Group Leader

Elena believes that the skills for great sex and fulfilling intimacy are learnable and that we tap our greatest potential for healing and change through authentic, connected relationships. The journey begins when we accept ourselves as we are, where we are. Elena is a Certified Somatica Practitioner with a full-time practice in the Bay Area. She has studied Counseling Psychology and Education at the graduate level and chose to pursue Somatica because of the emphasis on pleasure, self-acceptance, and experiential learning. Her practice is inclusive and she especially welcomes folks who identify as part of the LGBQ and trans communities.


Group Leader

Jaime studied counseling through the Interchange Institute and is trained and certified in Somatica. Her work with women’s and couple’s groups and individuals is rooted in integrating erotic energy into all aspects of life. Her curriculum is built on living an aroused, sexy life. She worked in San Francisco for seven years in Social Service, serving homeless families and training volunteers to work with families affected by HIV/AIDS. After transporting her life to Nevada City, CA, she began to develop her healing arts practice as a CMT and BodyTalk practitioner. Bringing Somatica into her practice has been her focal point of building community.



Rumi wrote, “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Brooke is a Somatica Practitioner and a Certified Sexological Bodyworker. She has participated in the training a number of times as a student, assistant, and now group leader. Somatica helped her to release the shame and conditioning that blocked her way to true connection and intimacy and helped her to reclaim her voice, her body, her boundaries, and her pleasure. Brooke is also a certified massage therapist and yoga teacher.


Group Leader

Xanet is a former health care lawyer who became a sex and intimacy coach after leaving a decades-long sexless marriage. She has experienced many of the same challenges around her intimacy and sexuality that her clients face. Fear of surrender, shame, self-judgment, performance anxiety, and the inability to create healthy and long-lasting intimate relationships. This makes her particularly passionate about working with individuals and couples who are sexually disconnected. Xanet is excited to bring her skills as a Certified Somatica practitioner, a certified Sexological Body Worker, Holistic Pelvic Care Practitioner, and her experience as a Certified Tantra teacher on the faculty of The Institute for Ecstatic Living to support her group in the Somatica Core Training.


Group Leader

Brenna completed the Somatica core training in 2015 and 2016 and became a certified Somatica practitioner in 2017. Somatica and all it embodies touches every aspect of her life and has had such a profound impact on her that she revels in being able to help others facilitate their journey through the core training program. In her budding practice she helps men, couples, & women have a deeper understanding of sex, intimacy, & the myriad of ways those dynamics can help or harm their relationships. Brenna is the mother of two teenagers which inevitably colors all that she does. She lives and works in the Charleston, SC area.


Group Leader

Dori helps people free their desire and center their pleasure as a way to deepen connection in their relationships. She received her Master’s degree in Integral Counseling Psychology from California Institute of Integral Studies. Somatica has been a life-changing experience for Dori who recently experienced a loving separation from her husband of almost 30 years. The couple remains very close and she is now happily polyamorous. She is excited about working with people who want to take the journey of consensual non-monogamy and helping individuals explore their sexuality whether that is kink, BDSM, role play or the many other vast sex positive alternatives. Dori is open to all sexual orientations and identifies as queer.

Leadership Alumni


Leadership Alumni

Dimitry became a Certified Somatica Practitioner in 2010 and leads supervision groups for trained Somatica Practitioners. He received his certification in Sexological Bodywork at the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. He is in the process of becoming certified in the Hakomi Method of mindfulness-based therapy. Dimitry has had extensive classroom experience teaching test preparation as well as working as a tutor to support students in academic and life-skills development.


Leadership Alumni

Moving beyond sexual shame and trauma has been at the forefront of Tori’s personal growth journey since 2013, when she was introduced to courses on sex, intimacy, and pleasure through Lafayette Morehouse and HAI. Since then, Tori has become a Certified Somatica Practitioner and group leader, a HAI assistant, and facilitator of her own personal growth workshops. Tori received her Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology in 2010 and spent the past 7 years providing counseling and family advocacy in schools and community clinics in underserved areas around the Bay Area.


Leadership Alumni

Kai’s approach is holistic and has many influences including mindfulness, Tantra, Taoism/Qigong, and sacred sexuality. She has an open multi-cultural perspective and is proud to offer culturally-aware and cross-cultural support. As a Somatica Practitioner, she loves helping her clients learn the tools for better living and loving.
Kai is also a certified Sexological Bodyworker, SkyDancing Tantra Teacher and is a senior faculty member of Ecstatic Living Institute. She is co-founder of the Embodiment Arts Collective, a multi-disciplinary healing arts collective, which has an inclusive social justice mission.


Leadership Alumni

In her work as a Somatica® sex and relationship coach, Pam facilitates open discussions with women and couples around issues with sexual desire and helps clients explore what is possible emotionally and erotically in their relationships.
Prior to coaching, Pam spent a decade and a half at Apple and Facebook. Her ongoing studies include training with San Francisco Sex Information (SFSI), American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT), California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) and JFK University’s holistic counseling program.


Leadership Alumni

Dalia earned her Master’s degree in Holistic Counseling Psychology, which informs her perspective that individuals are whole beings shaped through their mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual experiences. In addition, she has training in attachment theory and in the Hakomi Method.
Dalia is a Certified Somatica Practitioner. Somatica has been instrumental in transforming Dalia’s life as she once believed she was not a sexual person and was shameful about her sexuality. She deeply understands and empathizes with individuals experiencing a low sex-drive, dissociative behaviors, or emotional overwhelm when engaging in sexual intimacy, and offers her own journey of transformation as inspiration to her clients.


Leadership Alumni

H. R. received his Masters degrees in Social Work and Molecular Biology from the University of Toronto. He received his Certification in Sexological Bodywork from the Institute of Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in 2010 and has been a Certified Somatica Practitioner since 2011. His teaching and facilitation experience includes crisis intervention and self-awareness skills with social service workers, health and sex education with youth, community mediation and peace circle processes, ceremonies (including weddings), sweat lodges and transformational retreats as well as mindfulness-based sexuality workshops.