When I first introduce myself to someone and what I do, I tell them I’m a Sex, Love & Relationship Coach. When they introduce me to other people they then tell them I’m a ‘sex therapist’ or a ‘couples counsellor’.
So with this article what I want to do is explain why I’m not a therapist and not a counsellor and how what I do is different and what to expect if you are looking at hiring a ‘coach’.
Therapists and counsellors are people who support their clients in exploring their past. They give their clients space to talk and work through current problems and past traumas. They guide questions in a way that the client is able to join the dots around their current behaviour. To understand themselves at a deeper level. To acknowledge the past and how it has influenced the present.
Counsellors and therapists don’t generally give home assignments, although a sex therapist potentially will as a way to practice a new skill set that they’ve been educated on during a session.
Coaching however is different. Coaches cheer you on. They help you will goal setting and getting clear on what you want to achieve. Coaching is recognising that there are current patterns which exist and finding ways to create new, healthier patterns. When you think coach, I invite you to think of a person in sports, training an athlete to hit a specific target. Giving them practices to do to build their stamina and strength. A good coach will be supportive, allow you to work through the emotions you are experiencing when you hit a wall but will encourage you to keep going. They hold you accountable to the target you set for yourself and also guide you towards achieving that goal with the resources you have available to you at the time.
What I do is the same. During coaching sessions, especially as the work I do is somatic (body based) it can bring up a lot of patterns connected to the past. Due to the emotions around sex, love and relationships, it’s likely at some point the client will have a good cry. All of that is welcome. It’s important to acknowledge new discoveries of our current situation in relation to its past. It’s important to allow the revelation and emotion that comes with it to move through the body and be held as this process works though the body.
As the coaching is somatic based, I encourage clients to frequently return to the body as that’s where the ‘answers’ are. ‘How does that feel?’, ‘Can you feel any sensations in your body that are resistant to this goal?’
Many clients tend to get into the story of their situation around ‘he said this and they did that’ which generally isn’t helpful to the client because the more involved we get with stories the more we continue with them. That’s why I will interrupt them asking them how they felt in that moment or how their body feels right now talking about it. Inviting them to observe themselves in the situation.
Our emotions to a situation are always valid and during sessions with clients I encourage tuning into emotions and learning to connect to them and express them. Most of us learn from being children that it is not safe to express emotion. As adults we are frequently communicated with via external conditioning that it isn’t appropriate to express emotion. So because of that we disconnect from our bodies and learn to block out and ignore what is happening internally. Which then manifest in sexual issues and/or our ability to relate to others.
So expressing emotion is welcome, however, remembering that what I do is coaching. The only thing we have control over is our own behaviour, so for you to reach your goal, my role is to find supportive ways to get you there which can include home assignments and inviting you to explore your responsibility in a situation and where you might be playing your part.
So then, home assignments. You have spent years getting into a particular way of thinking and behaving and I want to be honest and say a chat a couple of times a month is not going to make quick changes in your life. If you want changes to happen, you have to be willing to implement the necessary tools to create change. This can be daily awareness of what is happening around a particular topic, maybe 2 - 3 self-pleasure practices a week, or time spent having uncomfortable conversations with your partner that will enable growth. These are some examples and whatever they might be, they are about creating new habits and they say ‘it takes 21 days to create a new habit’.
And your responsibility? This is without a doubt the most difficult one to hear from another person, but our patterns and behaviour are what affect how we are treated by those around us. Our boundaries, our communication style, our perceptions of others, our shadows and projections. When we are aware of these then we can choose to do differently. So sometimes this requires from me the difficult question of ‘what is your role in this situation?’ Or ‘How could you do differently moving forward?’ Enquiries similar to this that have the client questioning and exploring their part in the dance they find themselves in with relationships, or where they may be unconsciously sabotaging their access to their pleasure. Is this uncomfortable? It is most definitely to receive. I’ll be honest, it’s difficult to do too. Not knowing how the client might receive such feedback or questions. However, if I am being paid for a client to reach a goal, then we have to get uncomfortable and take a hard look at some truths if the client wants to make real changes.
All of this is to explain why I have Compatibility Calls. To ensure we’re a good fit. To ensure that you feel I’m the right person for you, and for me to know you are committed to the process. I even ask as much on my Compatibility Call Form.
If we’re going to work together I need to know that you are going to put the effort in to achieve those goals. And you need to know that I’m going to do what I can to get you there.
Will you meet resistance along the way possibly? For sure! Will there be times when you doubt yourself or feel like you’re going round in circles? Without a doubt!
And that’s why you hire me. To hold space for you when it gets tough, keep you motivated when the climb seems too high, to be your biggest cheerleader.
Because if you’re committed, you will make progress.
I wouldn’t allow you to hire me if I didn’t believe it.
Carla Crivaro is a trauma-informed and certified Sex, Love & Relationship Coach, she works with men and women internationally to reach their goals in delicious sex, profound love and authentic relationships. Carla helps men and women understand themselves and each other, sexually and relationally, in and out of the bedroom. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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