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The Somatica Method is a holistic, loving and systematic approach to sex and relationship coaching that invites people to move beyond shame, clarify their needs and boundaries, live emotionally connected and erotically embodied lives, and experience the joy and satisfaction of great sex and authentic relationships. The skills required for success in sex and relationships are learnable and the Somatica training offers a comprehensive and systematic approach to learning these skills. The Somatica Method is pleasure-based, interactive and experiential and based on up-to-date neuroscience research about how people learn, connect and experience personal growth.
The Somatica System is driven by 3 Key Attitudes to Interpersonal Connection as well as 3 Central Realms of The Work. The Key Attitudes are Vulnerability (Being Human), Mindfulness and Compassion and the Central Realms are Embodiment, Sexuality and Relationships. There are also 2 Cornerstones of Relationship: Attachment and Individuation. All trainings in the method are based on applying these Attitudes in each of the Realms so that students and clients can experience positive growth and transformation. Below you will find descriptions of the Key Attitudes and Central Realms as well as the Cornerstones of Relationships.
We are vulnerable with our clients. We bring every ounce of our humanity so people can learn about real human relating. As a Somatica practitioner, you will learn to feel and share emotions and erotic energy openly with your clients. When appropriate, you will also share your foibles, processes of growth and mistakes with your clients to help them take perfectionistic pressure off of themselves. We know we are not perfect and that we do not have it all together. We know we are in the midst of our own process of growth and change. We realize that no one, including us, is ever finished with personal growth. We believe that pretending that we have it all figured out is the least compassionate way a person can keep their seat as a coach and facilitator. If you pretend you have it figured out, the client believes they will someday have it all figured out and will spend their lives feeling less than (you/others) and a failure. We dedicate ourselves to our own personal development and a willingness to continue to learn and grow constantly.
We practice and teach mindfulness. In order to move ourselves and help others move from habitual patterns in our lives and relationships to choicefulness, we first need to develop a level of self-awareness. The foundation of self-awareness is mindfulness. Practicing mindfulness means developing an internal, curious and friendly witness inside of ourselves who can see what we are doing with some distance and perspective. Gaining distance and perspective from a kind and curious (as opposed to a critical) place allows us to collect information about who we are, what we want and how we behave in times of ease and times of tension, triggering and stress. It is often in times of triggering and stress that we engage in habits which end up causing us and the people who we love the most pain. Through mindfulness, we can learn to slow down these moments and make different choices. Instead of following old, painful habits, we can make choices that are conducive to love, connection and intimacy.
We take a compassionate seat. When we sit with our clients, we look at them as capable human beings who, like us, are in need of loving support, connection and care. We cannot save them from ever feeling pain or suffering, but we can support them in honoring what they feel and listening to and following their inner voice. While we cannot save anyone else, we are capable of using our experience and personal journey for the benefit of the client. We know that we have gathered certain tools along our journey and that we can help others do the same. We do not create a person’s path for them, we merely hold up a lantern to help them light the way so that they can see the path they have traveled so far, how they have chosen that path and how they can feel as free and supported in their ongoing choices.
We help people become Embodied. As a Somatica Practitioner, you will learn to listen to your own embodied voice as well as helping your clients to do so. The process of socialization disconnects people from their bodies and their full self-expression, including breath/sound, sensation and movement as well as their emotional world. You will learn to help them reconnect their emotional and corporeal world. You will help your clients bridge the culturally-encouraged gap between thinking and feeling. Somatica practitioners continuously and methodically bring people to their bodies as a pathway to deeper self-understanding and self-expression. When people are in their bodies, they fully experience their lives, emotions and sensations. This helps clients stop living their life from their head, instead experiencing integration between their intellectual and embodied knowledge.
We help people embrace their Sexuality. Sex can be a big part of the glue that holds people together in relationship and it is also a way for people to explore their desires and express themselves fully. When people have sex, hormones that promote bonding and relaxation are released and help to keep people connected. Sex is a way to express love and desire as well as experience acceptance. Sex can be an expression of connection as well as personal freedom. Since we have so little good education and information about sex, in order to have a great sex life, people need to learn about sex, what makes it hot as well as the sexual skills involved in achieving this hotness.
Because our society trivializes sex and shames us for our sexual desires, people generally have limited understanding of sex and many end up in low-sex or sexless relationships. Shame restricts access to our full self-expression in every area of our lives. Shame around sexuality is so powerful and pervasive that we are highly restricted as a culture. As a result, people know very little about their options, and therefore experience the bare minimum sexually. They think that sex is just about positions, orgasms, and the new hot tip of the week. But sex is so much more than that. It is about a desire to be met and accepted, sexually as well as emotionally. This is why Somatica doesn’t assume sex will just happen. We will teach you to help your clients overcome negative socialization around sex and fill in the learning gaps that this socialization has created.
We have found that, for sex to be great, people need to know what they want and feel comfortable in pursuing it. Because no two people are alike and no two people are interested in exactly the same thing, people need to be able to communicate what they want and need. Unfortunately, socialization around sexuality is very negative and that makes it very difficult for people to know what they need, let alone honestly and openly communicate about it. In learning the Somatica Method, you will learn how to introduce your clients to a large sexual and emotional menu, as well as help them identify what they would like to try on that menu. You will yourself develop a language of sex, arousal, and desire and you will be able to pass this language on to your clients. You will help your clients let go of the idea that sex should just happen so that they can approach sex as something to cultivate on an ongoing basis. By doing this, you can help your clients create a sex life that is right and fulfilling for them.
We help people find their Hottest Sexual Movie. One element of a person’s sexuality is what we call their Hottest Sexual Movie. Nearly everyone walks in the world with one or more sexual “movies” – images and ideas of how they want sex to look, what feelings they want to have, and what kind of experiences they want to live. The characters may change, but the themes generally stay the same. While most people have the ability to enjoy multiple forms of seduction and sexual interactions, a person’s primary sexual movie generally brings them the most pleasure and intensity. You can see many representations of women’s sexual movies in romantic films. Many of men’s themes are found in porn. There are also women who have more porn-like themes and men who have themes that are more often seen in romantic or passionate movies. More often than not, you will end up in a relationship with someone whose sexual movie is different from yours. In Somatica, we help people identify their Hottest Sexual Movie, celebrate it and learn how to share it with current or future partners.
We help people have healthy Relationships. In Somatica we help people learn about relationships through authentic relating. In order for people to practice with intimacy, there has to be a real person on the other side of the relationship. This real person is you. You are not teaching people to be intimate in a generic sense, instead you are engaging in intimacy and with them and helping them engage in intimacy with one another in your office. This means you have to let yourself feel what you feel in response to the clients and share it in a way that is helpful/instructive to the client so they can learn and practice something new.
The Cornerstones of Relationship: Attachment and Individuation
The current approaches to relationship therapy and coaching generally take one of two approaches – attachment or individuation – and then offer couples ways to improve their relationships based on one of these methods.
Proponents of the attachment approach focus on the human need for love because love bonds people together and makes it possible for us to survive as a species. This is true: human survival is predicated on the ability to form long-term attachments with caregivers. As people move from the parent-child relationship into adulthood and romantic love, their basic need for attachment persists. In a relationship, if the sense of attachment is threatened, people go into survival-like fight, flight, or freeze patterns, which often lead to relationship-damaging behaviors. In the attachment model, the focus of therapy is to maintain the relationship by helping each person in the couple understand the other’s fears and anxieties and shift their own behaviors to minimize these fears and strengthen the attachment.
While a sense of attachment is essential to long-term relationship success, and is foundational to people’s sense of safety and connection, the problem with the attachment approach is that it encourages couples to over-compromise. In other words, each individual in the couple learns to give up on their own needs for the sake of the relationship, which often leads to resentment, midlife crisis, and emotional disconnection or ending the relationship because it demands that they not be their true selves.
Proponents of the individuation approach point out that, in order to have a fulfilling life and relationship, people must be real in a relationship. In other words, they have to be true to their authentic self and follow their deepest desires without letting their partner’s fears and anxieties stand in the way of this self-actualization. In this model, the way to a fulfilling relationship is for each of the individuals to be true to themselves and to work on their own fears and anxieties so as to support their partner in being real as well.
The individuation approach is based on the idea that people do not always have to be enslaved to childlike fears. It is about helping couples to grow up, move beyond that scared child inside, and accept their partner’s need to be who they are. The individuation approach is focused on promoting freedom, self-actualization, and the understanding that people, for the most part, cannot control others and, even if they do have the power to assert control, they should not do that.
Individual freedom is also essential to relationships and important to people’s long-term fulfillment, growth, and acceptance of who they are. The problem with the individuation approach is that people are expected to just “grow up” and “get over” their fears of loss, abandonment, and insecurity all on their own. Unfortunately, people’s wounds and insecurities are not so easily overcome – a person cannot just will them away; they need to heal them, and this can only be done in relationships, by being vulnerable with the people they love. The feeling that they need to get over their fears creates a sense of shame when they cannot. To avoid feeling this shame, people do not let themselves be vulnerable, so their relationships stay distant and superficial. In order to help couples deepen their relationship, a method must help each individual in a couple to share their strengths as well as their fears and insecurities.
Both the individuation method and the attachment methods have merits, but each fulfills only half of what people need from a relationship. Striking the delicate and ongoing balance of creating safe attachment and being true self in a relationship is the focus of the Somatica Method and it’s part of what makes Somatica couples work unique.
What we have found in working with countless couples is that every human being needs both a sense of attachment and a feeling that they are free to be who they are. This is the only way to have a sustainable relationship. The truth is that good attachment creates safety and trust, allowing people to explore who they are and move towards self-actualization. At the same time, when your partner supports you in being true to who you are, you feel more accepted and therefore more attached.
At the beginning of a relationship, people naturally tend towards creating attachment. As this is the task of this phase of a relationship – glueing and bringing together two individuals. As they feel safe in their attachment and the connection has been established, they begin to want to fulfill their own personal dreams and desires, and this is where conflict starts to arise. Through the Somatica Method, we help each individual in a couple learn how to identify their own individual needs as well as learning about and empathizing with their partners individual needs. At the same time we help them learn how to understand their own and their partner’s fears and care for each other in the midst of these fears. The Somatica Method focuses on interdependence and supports both attachment and freedom. We believe that supporting a couple in learning to balance these delicate needs of attachment and individuation is the goal of a couple’s work as this balance leads to sustainable and fulfilling relationships.
Disappointment: What the other approaches leave out
Long-term relationships provide people with an opportunity to grow because they cause people to face their deepest longings and fears as they connect with another human being whose needs, feelings, and desires differ from theirs. Similarities between partners and attunement to differing needs help people relax into a sense of safety and stability. This relaxation creates a foundation for growth. At the same time, the challenging differences between partners provide the growth-promoting tension in a relationship. In the face of differences, we have found, some amount of disappointment is not only inevitable but also an important path to growth and deeper connection. In Somatica, we believe that learning how to navigate the differences and the disappointments that come from them is an essential part of relationship success. In trainings, you will learn the tools to help people in relationships deal with disappointment in order to move from stagnation and isolation into expansion and cohesion.
The Somatica System Flowchart maps Somatica’s Philosophy including the Key Attitudes and Realms and how Somatica works within each of those realms.