Somatica Institute Faculty

The Somatica Institute’s faculty 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. There are also guest lectures offered by Dimitry Yakoushkin, B.S., CSC, where he speaks to the experience of being a male practitioner in the field. Additionally, each year there are several group leaders who have each taken the training multiple times and receive additional leadership training.

Danielle Harel
Danielle Harel, MSW, PhD

Co-Founder and Lead Instructor

Dr. Danielle Harel is the co-creator of the Somatica Method and the co-founder of the Somatica Institute.

Danielle is a clinical sexologist who has devoted the last twenty years to sex coaching and empowering couples, women, men, and groups. She graduated with a Ph.D. and a Doctor of Human Sexuality (DHS) degree from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco, where she also was a professor and trained professionals in Somatic Sexology. Danielle has a graduate degree in Clinical Social Work (MSW) and a Bachelors (BA) degree in Psychology and Educational Counseling.

Danielle brings her passion, depth, intuition, and magnetizing personality to her coaching sessions. Harnessing her extensive training in sexology, psychology and body-based modalities including Hakomi, attachment theory, character theory and neuro-patterning, she leads people into reaching their fullest personal and sexual potential. Danielle is particularly talented in helping her clients release shame and accept themselves fully. She offers her clients a unique, experiential and powerful process to transform their relationships, create deep and loving connections and live their lives passionately.

Danielle sees clients in her Sunnyvale / South Bay Area office. Learn more about Danielle’s private practice. Fill out this form to find the best practitioner for you.

Celeste Hirschman
Celeste Hirschman, M.A.
Co-Founder and Lead Instructor

Celeste Hirschman, M.A. is the co-creator of the Somatica Method and the co-founder of the Somatica Institute. She received an MA in Human Sexuality Studies from San Francisco State University. As a project manager at SFSU’s Center for Research on Gender and Sexuality, Celeste researched adolescent sexuality development and the social roles that girls and boys learn and continue to play throughout their lives. She was an Assistant Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality where she trained professionals in Somatic Sexology.

In her teaching and coaching, she draws on multiple perspectives, including somatic modalities like Hakomi therapy – a mindfulness-based approach to traditional therapeutic models of personality, character styles, and development. Celeste advocates embodied learning to help her clients tap into their own wisdom and resources, realize their full potential, and deepen their experiences of pleasure and embodiment.

She brings her unconditional love, presence, erotic energy, and insight to her sessions – offering an open, safe and exciting container where her clients can explore every aspect of themselves and create a passionate, joyful, and sexually fulfilled life. She uses her training in attachment psychology, sociology, gender and women’s studies, and body-based modalities to engage with her clients in real-time experiences. This is where they learn to transform old patterns and incorporate new possibilities into every aspect of their lives, including their loving and intimate relationships.

Celeste sees clients in her San Francisco office. Learn more about Celeste’s private practice. Fill out this form to find the best practitioner for you.

Victoria “Tori” King, MS, CSC

Victoria “Tori” King, MS is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, Sex Therapist, Certified Somatica Sex & Relationship Coach & Workshop Facilitator, practicing in the East Bay area of Northern California and Online. She graduated from CSU East Bay with a Master’s in Counseling, completed a certification program for Sex Therapy at CIIS, and has completed countless hours in trainings in other modalities of Sex and Relationship therapy and coaching. For over a decade she has worked with individuals, couples & partners to empower themselves around their sexuality and to deepen intimacy in their relationships. She has also been a group leader multiple times in the Somatica Training.

In both her work with clients and students, Tori facilitates interactive, experiential, and somatically-oriented sessions. These approaches are based on current research and neuro-science known for supporting positive and powerful changes in individuals and relationships. Tori loves helping people learn practical skills and tools to communicate more effectively, connect and attune, share authentically and vulnerably, and experience greater self-awareness, self-love, and connection. Additionally, as a bi-racial woman, Tori feels passionate about working with POC and other folx from diverse and marginalized communities.

Tori is on a mission to support people to break free from limiting beliefs, patterns, and behaviors so that they can live a life filled with fun, joy, love, and pleasure!

Kai Wu, CSC

Kai Wu is a queer, trauma-informed love, sex and intimacy coach, somatic sex educator, guide, and mentor. This work has been her great love and form of activism for the last decade.

A Certified Somatica® Practitioner, Kai trained in the Somatica Method in 2013. She is also certified in Sexological Bodywork and maintains professional membership in the American College of Sexologists. Her studies within the field of trauma are focused on somatic and neurobiology-oriented approaches and include Somatic Experiencing® and TRE® (Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises). For years, she taught SkyDancing Tantra as senior faculty at the Ecstatic Living Institute. She also co-founded the Embodiment Arts Collective, a multi-disciplinary healing arts collective with a sex-affirming and inclusive social justice mission.

Kai’s approach is compassionate, trauma-informed, holistic, and experiential. Her influences include attachment theory, mindfulness, Taoism, death and grief work, and sacred sexuality. Fluent in English and Spanish and conversant in Mandarin and Cantonese, she is honored to support Asian folks, particularly of the Chinese diaspora, as they engage in ancestral and intergenerational healing and cultural reclamation work.

One of Kai’s most important quests has been to explore the ways we might find a sense of belonging, ease, joy, and connection in our bodies, within our relationships, our families, and our communities.

Kai is delighted to be part of the faculty at the Somatica Institute. She has witnessed and experienced first-hand the power of the Somatica Method to facilitate better relationships and more satisfying lives. She is excited to support future Somatica coaches so they can share their unique gifts and help create a better and more welcoming world for all.

In addition to her faculty role, Kai sees Somatica clients in her private practice. To schedule a session with her, fill out the form on Kai’s practitioner profile.

Susan Coates, M.A., CSC

Susan is a Certified Somatica Sex and Relationship Coach and Faculty Member at the Somatica Institute. She has dedicated her last 20 years to coaching and empowering individuals and people in relationships. She graduated with a M.A. in International Relations with a Human Rights focus at the University of Denver. For ten years, she worked in the non-profit sector, running empowerment programs for single working mothers, men coming out of prison, and refugees – before following in the footsteps of her late father by becoming a full-time sex and relationship coach.

Susan embraces every person as whole and worthy of celebrating. She helps people de-shame, reclaim, and fully express their innermost desires in ways that feel safe and pleasurable. She also brings her depth, intuition, playfulness, and creativity to every coaching session, empowering people to embody their desires in uninhibited ways and create enlivening intimate relationships for a more pleasure-filled life.

As a teacher and coach, Susan incorporates skills from multiple modalities such as Matrix Leadership, authentic relating, women’s studies, circling, unitive justice and the Enneagram. Drawing upon a lifetime of experience in embodied movement, Susan also fuses her experience as a professional dance performer and teacher into her practice. She is a founder and facilitator of the Boulder Contact Improvisation Lab, a 2000-person community, engaged in the exploration of what arises when two or more bodies share touch, weight, and movement.

Susan sees clients online and in her Denver office, hosts community intimacy salons and group coaching events, speaks on panels and at college campuses, and has been featured in Marie Claire magazine on outside-the-box relationships, sexuality, and sustainable polyamory.

In addition to her faculty role, Susan sees Somatica clients in her private practice. To schedule a session with her, fill out the form on Susan’s practitioner profile.


Dalia Perez, M.A., CSC


Dalia is a Certified Somatica practitioner and has had a private practice as a sex and relationship coach for the past 10 years. She received her Master’s degree in Holistic Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Somatic and Transpersonal psychologies from John F. Kennedy University. Since then, she has continued her post-graduate studies in the Hakomi Method of Psychotherapy, Trauma-Informed Sex-Positive Therapy, and Relational Somatic Healing.

In her work, she guides her clients to listen to their body’s cues, cultivate self-worth, and invite space for desire, movement, and pleasure. Dalia brings her warm, embodied, gentle, and affirming nature to her teaching and coaching to create a safe container for people to explore their most vulnerable parts. Her relational approach incorporates mindful and body-based exercises that help individuals deepen intimacy and transform challenging relationship dynamics.

Having faced her own process around sexual shame and shutdown, she comes to this work with the experience of her own transformation towards erotic freedom and embodiment. She wishes the same for all her clients.

In addition to her faculty role, Dalia sees Somatica clients in her private practice. To schedule a session with her, fill out the form on Dalia’s practitioner profile.


Christina Sophie, CSC

The absolute glee that Christina experiences in being an Instructor of the Somatica Method is loud and infectious. Supporting the next generation of sex coaches to be authentic, vulnerable, and powerful agents of cultural change is her passion.

Christina holds degrees in both psychology and philosophy and is a Certified Somatica Sex and Relationship Coach. She is a Certified Sexological Bodyworker and a Certified Sexologist. For 10 years, she worked with Body Electric, organizing shamanic/erotic explorations for women. She is the co-founder of WePractice Community, an organization exploring spiritual practice in relationship. She was also the founder of the Meditation Deep Dive sangha in Berkeley. In private practice, creating supportive environments for her clients has been her specialty for 25 years.

After rigorous training in meditation, Tantra yoga, and philosophy, Christina realized the techniques that set our minds and hearts free can leave our bodies behind. Using the Somatica Method, Christina helps people develop a loving relationship with their own body, and tap the power source of their authentic sexuality.

Erotic Empowerment is not just her job, it’s her Mission. When we totally love the miracle of our body, and we are free to be exactly who we are, and love exactly how we want, we are creative, productive, and alive in a way that defies unjust authority.

In addition to her faculty role, Christina sees Somatica clients in her private practice. To schedule a session with her, fill out the form on Christina’s practitioner profile.

Dimitry Yakoushkin, B.S., CSC

Dimitry is a Sex and Relationship Coach and a Certified Somatica Practitioner since early 2010. Dimitry is also trained in the Hakomi Method – a body-based, mindful experiential therapy method that helps clients get in touch with and live from their deepest self. He holds a Sexological Bodywork certificate from the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco. He is faculty of Somatica Institute, where he assists in teaching the Somatica Training, and a Certified Somatica Supervisor, supporting Somatica graduates in their coaching skills. His in-depth work has helped countless couples increase fulfillment and joy in their intimate connection and their lives.

Prior to his entering into sex and relationship coaching, Dimitry worked for over ten years as a counselor and tutor to high school and college students in both academics and life skills. Dimitry’s professional track and field career has given him fantastic embodied awareness, and his warm, patient approach creates an atmosphere of safety and acceptance where you can explore your desires, heal from trauma, share passion, overcome shame, and experience profound transformation.

Dimitry’s blog post on Male Edging: The Pleasures and Dangers

Brenna Lake, CSC
Group-Leader Coordinator

Brenna is a Sex and Relationship Coach and a Certified Somatica® Practitioner since 2015. She has completed and group led the Somatica Training, Somatica Advanced Student training, Somatica Couples, and Somatica Character Training. She has been a group leader in every training since 2016. Brenna is both loving and bossy, and has supported many Somatica students and graduates to gain confidence and deeper insights into the foundational principles of Somatica.

Brenna has been an entrepreneur for over 20 years. Through Somatica, she has learned how to be an empowered, thoughtful, and courageous practitioner and group leader. She sees clients all over the world from her home base in Charleston, SC. Her aim is to help clients have fulfilling love, sex, and relationships by sharing with them the valuable tools, lessons, and takeaways she has gathered over the years of her training and coaching experience.

In addition to her faculty role, Brenna sees Somatica clients in her private practice. To schedule a session with her, fill out the form on Brenna’s practitioner profile.

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