Intimacy is GETTING REAL about who you are in front of another person, OPENING YOUR MIND, and letting you both take a deep look.
True peace, personal integrity, and safety come through a commitment to be honest with yourself and those you hold dear, even though it may change the picture that you and others have held about you. The reality is, you have solid ground to stand on when you get real. Even though it’s difficult to face less admirable aspects of yourself and let others in on it, your self respect grows.
Psychotherapy for your whole person.
Welcome to Seattle Intimacy and Sex Therapy!
I respect the courage it takes to explore and face your difficulties around connection, intimacy, and sexuality.
As an AASECT Certified Sex Therapist, Nationally Certified Counselor, and as a Licensed Mental Health Therapist, I take all aspects of your well-being seriously and treat the whole person of you with respect. Being respectful of you, your time and your money means that I am honest, direct, and will challenge you and your ideas around your difficulties. Feeling uncomfortable in the therapy room is to be expected; experiencing an increase in anxiety as you confront (or are confronted on) how you are participating in unhelpful relational styles in your life is part of the therapy deal - what you decide to do in actionable ways is what is important.
As a sex therapist, I fundamentally believe:
"Sexuality is about seeking pleasure and connection, and showing up as the most authentic version of yourself. Sexuality can be entered into as a portal into depth and being known. You can experience yourself privately at a deeper level, and if you are partnered, you can create a sensual language between you that expresses who you are, what you desire, and reveals as much about your heart and mind as about your body. Sensuality doesn't require touch - you can touch each other with your eyes and with your heart if you are open. Often sexuality is engaged with in a way that undermines intimacy, connection, and relational pleasure for both individuals. My work is to highlight the protective behaviors that interfere with intimacy in order to unearth the resilient and strong desire in human beings to be fully known. Sex is often misunderstood. I help people discover that intimacy is the core of who they are - and that making contact with their hearts' desires is a fundamental aspect of them relaxing more fully into being an embodied being."
I am pursuing ongoing advanced professional training in areas of sexuality and sexual dysfunctions in order to holistically support my patients as they free themselves up to live deeply and authentically in their bodies, minds and hearts. Together we address areas where they feel dissonance, anxiety, and fear around their intimate lives in order to free them up to become more comfortable with their desire for pleasure, emotional contact, and becoming known as a unique person.
Your body (and the 'being' of you) holds essential information in it - and we're going to notice what it has to say to you, and what it has been saying for some time. Your body literally holds relational and emotional interactions in it that are actively influencing your current relationships in ways in which you may be unaware. Our work together involves looking at these deep emotional drivers to your actions, to understand them, and to help free you up to act in a way that is in alignment with who you most desire to be. Over the course of time, we will look at the psychotherapeutic relationship we have created together to understand your heart, mind, and the core of you at a deeper level.
No matter why you are seeking therapy at this time, I fundamentally believe that the concerns and struggles you are facing makes sense in the context of your lived experiences. Many people feel anxious, overwhelmed, distressed and unhappy and believe they shouldn't have these responses to their lives. Often your feelings make complete sense, and I can help you understand their source and make peace with yourself. I'm here to listen to you at a deep level, to come to know you, and to help you see ways that you may be unintentionally contributing to your own difficulties, at times. I want to help free you up to feel more alive, and to be more freely you!
Your fear and anxieties have been trying to tell you something important, they've acted as protectors for you, and attempted to keep you well and safe. Let's listen to what they're saying, understand them, and honor what they have done for you. And with time, let's explore together how they may be impeding what you want now. How have they been gloriously protective of you at points in your life and are they any longer serving you? We'll look at ways to care for yourself that are increasingly in line with what you're wanting now.
I focus on noticing and challenging your self-imposed barriers to connection and intimacy that have been historically protective of you. Being hard on yourself isn't helpful because you are undermining the energy and desire it takes to change. When you challenge your own thoughts, behaviors and motivations from a strong place inside of you, that's different. That's where we want to hover together: in that place where you are known and accepted, where you touch upon your own strength and resilience (and it's abundant!), and are able to reconsider if the ways you interact are life-giving and nourishing to your heart, or restrictive and minimizing of you. I believe people's deepest longings are often to be loved and known. Living into these longings require strength, perseverance, and the awakening of desire that can mobilize you. Being known, valued and loved by yourself and others is invigorating and expansive. And it's inherently risky - because it involves wanting and choosing. And choosing requires investment and really showing up with all of you. The subjective experience of 'being totally present' is profound and helps my clients continue to crave deeper intimacy.
When we touch down into deeper aspects of the feelings and relational struggles you experience, you will become more present, aware and grounded in your body. You'll have a felt sense of moving through your anxiety into a core emotion, and then have the experience over time of becoming increasingly calm. Often people avoid what they feel because they have a sense that it will be overwhelming or will make them feel panic. I believe that it is the avoidance of what you feel and know that is getting in the way and increasing your sense of distress. We'll get through that by connecting multiple dimensions of you simultaneously, moving you into the core experience so you can feel and find relief. And then, from that grounded place, we'll learn together how to increase your strength and get you connected to your life-giving desires. You'll know what more integrated experiences feel like, because you'll be living into them. We'll listen to what you're feeling and hear your own wisdom emerge from the strongest places inside of you.
In working with my patients I utilize Relational Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy, Mind Mapping Therapy, Psychoanalytic thought, Attachment Theory and Object Relations Theory. The core of these therapies points to the belief that you are fundamentally wired for relationship and intimacy, that you have been profoundly influenced by your primary relationships, and that you have competing drives to connect and become a distinct, solid individual. My patients become determined to grow as they face the frustrations, distress and pain they currently experience inter-personally and internally because they make meaning out of their struggle. They risk, learn to tolerate and care for a myriad of their emotions, and work to live out of the best parts of themselves, even when it's difficult to do so. It is a profound privilege for me to meet with them as they risk being open with me, themselves and their partners. It's absolutely courageous and stunning!
When my patients talk about themselves as sexual beings we are doing integrative work. So many factors in my patients' lives have disconnected their minds and hearts from their bodies' natural abilities to respond and become alive. I help my patients understand why and where they are dissociating and disconnecting and help them move into their underlying internal experience so they can become present and grounded. Most of us have been taught that sexuality is about genitals; that's an extremely limited view, considering the immense capacity of human beings to feel and know each others' hearts and desires at extremely personal levels.
Expressing yourself sensually can become an expression of your heart and essence, and a revealing of you. The experience of being embodied sensually can become less paired with feeling anxious, scared, obligated, or like you are pressured to perform and develop into rich, tender, passionate, and nourishing experiences. Sex is broad and expansive - and perhaps you may not be aware of the ways you have limited intimacy, connection, and being known in your encounters.
Sex can be an expression of who you are. I believe that the best kind of sex you can have reveals you - your mind, your heart, and your body authentically, openly, honestly expressing themselves in the moment. You can have the experience of being touched by your partner emotionally and energetically and you can do the same for them. The development of intimate, connected interactions with your partner is a process. There is no pre-determined pattern of engagement. It takes patience, commitment, and the willingness to risk into new ways of being together, and a commitment to stay with what is appealing to you in the moment. Sex can be extremely pleasurable, personal, intimate, playful and creative. And it's likely much more expansive than you, or any of us really, realize.
Sex between people is often not very intimate. It takes self-respect, courage, and a desire for something different to begin addressing issues between you and your partner in healthy, life-giving ways. The ability to show your heart, mind, and body simultaneously during a sensual experience is intimate, personal, beautiful work. Mainstream American culture undermines and exploits sexuality so that most people are left with extremely limited sexual health education. Part of my work as a sex therapist is to highlight where, why, and how my patients have disconnected themselves from their capacities for intimacy and reconnect them to the benefits of self-expression, connection, and pleasure that reduce stress and promote self-care and well-being.
It's not surprising that many people have difficulty being intimate and feeling sexual desire. Often times one partner begins to 'just get through' the experience, and both partners feel unfulfilled, and feel more anxiety, fear, and frustration with their sexual lives than pleasure and connection.
I help my patients get personal and close to themselves, which allows them to integrate their feelings of sensuality into their lives. Eroticism is about feeling alive - it's about being in extremely close contact with the core and essence of you, and allowing another human being (with the capacity to do so) to know you there. It's personal. It's enlivening TO YOU because it is inherently revealing of YOU. That's why people's anxiety often increases around sexual behavior. It's not what you're doing that is anxiety provoking; the anxiety comes from what you're trying to show another person about you!
If you would like to contact me to schedule a phone conversation or first session, click here:
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.