How can we work with sexual issues by Zoom/Skype? Surely it’s essential to at least have the option of working with the body?
I certainly thought this, and had steadfastly set myself against working online until shortly before the present health emergency. By pure coincidence, a potential client approached me through my website in late January. He explained that coming to see me straight away was just too big an ask for him, and would I be willing to have a couple of sessions on Skype, which he hoped would establish enough connection and safety for him to then move to in person sessions?
I wasn’t keen. Since leaving the therapy world, and embracing working with sexuality, I had thought of myself primarily as a bodyworker, working primarily through touch rather than words.
As time went on, I gradually modified my view.
I discovered that what was essential to make positive change happen wasn’t what was done in a session, but what the client felt. And particularly, that it was an absolute prerequisite that the client felt safe, listened to and in warm compassionate connection. For almost all clients, this was the foundation for any bodywork, and often it would take a number of sessions to get there. Of course, some clients don’t want bodywork. They just want the chance to talk. Others want guidance on how to broaden their sexual range, or to feel more confident in asking for what they want, amongst other things, which need not involve touch at all.
Anyway, I agreed to work in this way, as the first step, with this client, as otherwise we wouldn’t work together at all, and to my surprise, it has been surprisingly easy working online.
The sessions are shorter: one hour instead of two, and more frequent, usually weekly, so there is a clearer continuity between sessions.
So, what sort of issues can be addressed in this way? Well, if you have a look at my questionnaire, which you can access on the website via Contact > links and resources > EBL questionnaire, you’ll find it asks quite a lot of distinct questions, and you might speculate how we could work online with these. I’ll write separately about working online with couples, but I think it’s fair to say that for individuals, it breaks down into
Talking. We shouldn’t underestimate the power of this. While some therapists such as my good friend Jo Russell, are fantastic with sexual issues, a lot of therapists feel uncomfortable and out of their depth, which often has the unfortunate effect of unintentionally shaming the client. Yet, we need to talk, to be heard, and to be constructively engaged with.
Changing our Patterns. A lot of people feel stuck. So, for example, they might have quite monotonous and repetitive ways to pleasure themselves, but have no idea how to change. And likewise, with their partners and lovers. That’s exactly the kind of thing I can help with.
Learning New Ways of Relating. I have extensive experience of working with people so they can become able to ask for what they want, not endure what they don’t want, and become much clearer in their thinking about consent, so they can ask and answer “Who is this for?”
Learning New Perspectives on Sexuality. I work with, amongst other tools, the Wheel of Sexuality, which is a brilliant way to think freshly about the whole varied terrain of sexuality, to give you some ideas about what you might like to experiment with.
The other thing about working online is that my client was right: it’s an easier ask. You don’t leave your home. You retain control. It’s safe. Of course, safety is my sine qua non, but you can’t know this until we meet, so if that’s your only option, maybe we never do.
Except, now you can.
If you want to explore the possibility of working with me online, I invite you to contact me to arrange a free thirty minute call, where we can chat things through, and you can make a decision whether or not to go ahead. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or text me on 07545707751.
We’re all stuck in our homes for quite a wee while. Isn’t this an ideal time to set a part of you free?