Tag: personal growth

We did not come to this work because we had all the answers, we created Somatica based on what we felt was missing out there. We started a never-ending journey of asking all of our questions about sex and relationships and eventually gathering those of our clients so we could confront the negative patterns that plagued our own and our client’s intimate lives. By allowing ourselves to ask these questions and to be real with ourselves and our clients we continue to find a way to come out the other side intact and with more love and empathy for ourselves and others.

Show us your Dark Side
The Somatica training is unique from other educational experiences in that we ask you bring all of yourself – the good, the bad, the ugly, the weird, the vulnerable etc. We want you to bring your issues to light, work on transforming them and use them to help others. Your unique gift is based on all of your experiences and these will make you an even better practitioner.Your personal story, no matter how hard, can be the reason you can have a lucrative, fulfilling career where you get to live your authentic life through your work. We want you here because of, not in spite of, all of your hardships, and deep, dark and twisty feelings. Having the strength, courage, and vulnerability to do this work is not possible if you gloss over the surface of the jagged complexities and deep scars that make us who we are sexually and in relationships.

What is a Wounded Healer?
The concept of the wounded healer has become more accepted in psychology and other counseling fields because it acknowledges that nobody goes through being a human without experiencing major challenges of some form or another. However, many coaches feel they have more pressure to truly have all the answers and personify the success they are trying to help their clients achieve. For sex and relationship coaches this can mean pressure to have a long-term relationship, a purely pleasurable relationship to sex, or a jealousy-free polyamorous lifestyle. We want to invite you to let yourselves off the hook and know that the criteria for helping others is not your manifested perfection, but your presence, honesty, and capacity for empathy.

Perfection is a Disservice to Your Clients
We believe that presenting to clients as perfect is actually a disservice to everyone involved. If you uphold the myth that perfection is attainable, this will be their goal, setting you both up for failure and disappointment. This is where the Somatica approach is so radical and unique. We lead with our vulnerability and with our imperfection. In this way we help our clients accept themselves for who they are and this is where real, sustainable healing begins.

Somatica isn’t for Everyone
Somatica is for people who are brave enough to admit that they aren’t perfect. It is for those of you who can look at yourselves and see where you can still grow, and learn how to be gentle with yourself. We know that this isn’t the social standard, the social standard is to hide your faults and pretend you have it all together. In this training, we want to know all of you, and you must be willing to take the risk to fully and vulnerably show up with all parts of yourself!

As you might imagine, people often come into our offices with a desire to improve themselves and perhaps you have this desire as well. You might want to be a better lover, figure out a way to stop making the same relationship mistakes, find ways to last longer, etc. Most people look at themselves as lacking or failing in some way and they want “advice” on how to change.

As coaches, it is our job to help our clients understand the difference between personal growth and self-improvement. In our minds, self-improvement is an external approach to change, one where people try to strategize about how to fix a problem or enforce a new regime on themselves. One of the biggest self-improvement industries is dieting. Recent research shows that dieting doesn’t work; in fact, the opposite result often comes from an attempt at dieting to lose weight. Those who diet generally gain weight in the long-run—more weight than those who did not ever diet to begin with. While the research shows that diets don’t work, they usually do not talk about why.

In our experience working with clients around transformation and growth, we have found that those who try to self-improve with some sort of externally enforced program generally go through a painful loop. There is initial energy and excitement as though succeeding in this particular goal (whatever it is) is the answer to changing their life. They start off with a bang—counting calories, running 7 days a week, going out to try to meet people. Pretty quickly, both the enthusiasm and the new regime go out the window; the client eventually goes back to their habitual behavior. The worst part of this self-improvement cycle is the next step, shame. Shame arises when people feel like they have failed and that they will never achieve their self-improvement goals.

The shame cycle can lead to critical thoughts such as, “I’m so lazy” or “I’m pathetic! I can’t do anything”. It can also lead to self-abuse/self-soothing. We put self-abuse and self-soothing in the same category because they are often just the same behaviors with different attitudes. For example, someone might smoke or get drunk thinking, “I don’t deserve to live. I hope this fucking kills me” or they might do it with the attitude, “Nothing is going to work, but at least I can temporarily feel better.” Being stuck in a shame cycle is perhaps the least motivated, inspired, or transformative place a person can be. It is a place of frozenness, where people hide away, disconnect, and don’t want to move or be seen.

Another reason why self-improvement approaches don’t work is that they hit a core conflict around acceptance. When people try to follow external programs, they often end up feeling that they need to be some way other than the way they are in order to be loved. Since people’s deepest relationships need is to be loved for who they are, self-improvement crusades are generally not sustainable. The desire for acceptance eventually wins out.

As coaches, we want to help you and our clients see that they are not the problem. The attempt to force yourself to do something without looking at any underlying feelings, needs, fears, and motives is not very likely to result in change. We are creatures of habit out of necessity. Habits help us move through day-to-day life without having to question every action or decision so that we have enough bandwidth to face uncertainties and challenges when they arise. Habits can be slow to change, and are sometimes intractable. At the very least, change is generally incremental (as opposed to immediate) and we are lovable even in the midst of the fact that we all have habits that challenge our ability to experience intimacy and erotic connection.

Personal growth is a much different and gentler approach to change than self-improvement. In guiding people in their personal growth, we must keep in mind that the reason most people want to change is that they think it will get them something that they want, like love, sex, or success. As coaches we start with the premise that NO ONE IS PERFECT, so it stands to reason that imperfect people experience loving connection, sexual fulfillment, and success all the time. We help people get off the hamster wheel of self-improvement by beginning with self-acceptance and the acceptance of others. Many people fear that if they accept themselves in their “currently-flawed condition”, it will demotivate them to make positive improvements in their life.

We have found that the truth is quite the opposite. The more a client feels loved and accepted, the more we can help them laugh at the ridiculously unmeetable requirements parents, society, and their projections of other’s perfection put on them; the more we vulnerably share our own challenges and struggles; and the more they come to love and accept themselves as a result, the less time they spend frozen in shame cycles. In addition to helping them accept themselves, we also help people accept that change is often slow and incremental.

As we teach people how to know what they need, how to listen, and how to share boundaries, we celebrate each incremental change heartily. For example, we might work with a client who, when triggered by their partner, reacts by attacking and yelling mean things. We can help by teaching self-soothing tools such as breathing or holding their inner child. The next time the client feels triggered and is able to react differently when as their blood is boiling, we, as coaches are giving them a high-five festival, a “you-didn’t-just-follow-your-first-reactive-response!” party, complete with hugs and party hats. As they grow, we continue to share how incremental and slow our own changes have been, and we love our clients even (wait, no, especially) when they fuck up. We help them remember that change is not a direct arrow upwards. It comes in fits and starts— two steps forward and one step back. We laugh and cry with them, and we share our humanness so that they can accept their own. Offering unconditional love, acceptance, and honesty is the job of a coach who wants to truly help their client grow. If you’d like to see how the Somatica Method can help you and your clients on a journey of personal growth, join us for a Free Somatica Intro Day or check out the Core Training.