As humans, it is important that we develop meaningful connections with other people. Surrogate Partner Therapy can give you the opportunity to explore greater levels of intimacy and can help you create a richer relationship with yourself and others. Surrogate Partner Therapy is a well-established practice that addresses issues of intimacy and sexuality by working with both a therapist or clinician, and a surrogate partner. Clients receive support from physical and emotional interactions with sex therapist san francisco surrogate partner as well as therapeutic support from talk-therapy.
We live in a society that often disconnects us from our bodies and our emotions. Though we see dozens of faces everyday we rarely touch one another. We are endlessly confronted with narrow prescriptions of the ‘normal’ or ‘right’ way of being, loving, and living. Issues of sexuality are seldom addressed apart from sensationalist stories that depict relationships in either dysfunctional or idyllic ways.
Far too many people experience alienation and dissatisfaction when it comes to intimacy. Surrogate Partner Therapy provides a level of physical attentiveness that is not possible within traditional forms of psychotherapy. How does Surrogate Partner Therapy work? Surrogate Partner Therapy begins when client and therapist meet to discuss the work. Once the therapist and client agree that Surrogate Partner Therapy is the right choice, there will be an initial meeting between the therapist, client, and surrogate partner. In subsequent sessions clients will meet with their therapist and surrogate partner separately. It can be helpful to think of Surrogate Partner Therapy consisting of four stages.
However, not every case fits this model and sessions are always tailored to the needs of each client. The following is written to give prospective clients an idea of what the therapy entails. The first stage of the process centers on building rapport. The surrogate and client learn about each other and cultivate a safe space for the exploration of intimacy and sexuality. At this stage social and emotional connections are developed.
This is a time for the surrogate and client to get to know each other as individuals. Making an authentic personal connection sets the stage for emotional intimacy, a key part of Surrogate Partner Therapy. During this first stage, and continuing throughout the therapy, the client is shown exercises which aid in staying present, relieving anxiety, and building and maintaining intimate connections. All of the exercises in Surrogate Partner Therapy are done by both the client and surrogate partner. The relationship being built is one in which the surrogate partner is a peer, rather than an expert educator. In this first stage of the therapy, exercises are done clothed. Nudity is introduced during the second stage of the therapy.
During this stage, the concern is not sexual arousal. The focus is on comfort with one’s own body and being with the body of another. Graduating exercises will include the whole body. Once comfort is established, the mood of the sessions is usually marked by sensuality. It is during the third stage of the work that sexuality is explicitly engaged, often including various sexual activities. Playing with eroticism and exploring sexual pleasures and desires is part of this process. Specific sexual issues will, of course, be directly addressed.
The fourth and final stage is closure. Sessions end consciously and with the understanding that ending a relationship does not signify a failure. We learn that intimacies can build, change, and end, all with compassion, awareness, and intentional communication. The process is, of course, unique for everybody and this brief outline only gives a small window into what is often deep and transformative work. I am a surrogate partner certified by the International Professional Surrogates Association.