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What Is Psychosexual Somatics Therapy (PST)?

Psychosexual Somatics Therapy (PST) is a is a trauma-aware therapeutic coaching modality for moving through intimacy challenges – sexual, relational, or emotional.

We do this, first of all, by slowing right down and learning to feel more.

Let me explain why that’s so important:

So many of us are in our heads most of the time. Our minds are useful for thinking about the future or the past, whether remembering, fantasising, planning, or ruminating. Whether anxiously going over the last conversation to figure out whether you said the ‘right’ thing, or imagining all the possible outcomes that could happen just in case.

What our minds are not so great at is being present. Being present in the here and now requires us to bring our awareness more into our whole body: the experience of being alive, right now, with all its associated sensations and feelings.

The thing is that being fully present can often feel overwhelming if the truth of what you feel is confusing, or too much. It feels easier to hang out in your head, entertaining anxious thoughts or anticipating what could go wrong. It’s a great distraction from what’s actually happening in the here and now.

If you can’t access how you’re feeling right now in your body, then it becomes hard to know where your boundaries are, what you want, and what you need. This is often a trauma response, based on ways of surviving that many of us developed in our earliest years. We can end up projecting the past onto the present, not seeing things as they really are and instead carrying internalised beliefs about relationships that were learned in childhood.

Because you fail to experience life as it is really happening, you end up reinforcing the patterns you feel most stuck in, unable to have new experiences of safe, loving connection and secure attachment.

PST works to gradually bring awareness to the feelings and emotions you might be avoiding, the stories and beliefs that undermine your efforts to have healthy relationships, and where these patterns have come from. From here we can begin to change them.

PST emphasises nervous system regulation while addressing childhood attachment issues, by combining a cognitive understanding of the emotional root causes underneath the presenting issue, alongside embodied practices and somatic awareness.

What does a PST coaching session look like?

PST is influenced by psychotherapy, counselling, neuroscience, clinical sexology, and body-based modalities such as Somatic Experiencing. As such, sessions can be a combination of different approaches depending on what may serve you best.

The journey will always start with an intake session, which will involve talking through your challenges, goals, and patterns. We’ll explore the strategies you’ve developed to keep yourself safe, including where they may have originated from, to understand how they may be keeping you in disconnection now.

Subsequent sessions are informed by the intake, and the pace you want to work at. They may include:

  • Body tracking and somatic awareness: guiding you through noticing sensation in the body, and giving time and space to feel it
  • Embodiment exercises: using posture, movement, and sound to allow expressions that may be habitually suppressed
  • Cognitive understanding: keeping the mind happy with an intellectual context and framework for the work we’re doing
  • Movement exercises: using gentle movement as an effective way to down-regulate the nervous system
  • Guided meditations: slowing everything right down, and giving you space to allow whatever is in your experience
  • Playing with space and proximity in the room to explore your relationship with different parts of yourself, and with others

Whichever specific processes we use, the emphasis is always on going slowly, and introducing plenty of tools and resources to help you down-regulate your nervous system. This means that we can come up against edges and explore them carefully, gently challenging them in a way that allows for integration afterwards.

What can PST coaching help with?

Because the PST approach involves going all the way back to our earliest experiences of attachment, embodiment, and relational dynamics, it’s a modality which can be used to help with all sorts of challenges with intimacy.

These may include:

  • Feeling stuck in destructive or unhelpful relationship patterns
  • Challenges with identifying wants or needs in relationship
  • Sexual challenges with libido, discomfort, pain, or orgasm
  • Difficulty managing and expressing emotional responses
  • Not knowing where your boundaries are or how to express them
  • Feeling unable to identify what you want, or ask for it

The way we show up everywhere – in therapy, coaching, relationships, or sex – is a reflection of the strategies we learned as we were growing up. In a safe container, these strategies can be explored to teach you more about yourself. Bringing awareness to your patterns, and involving the whole body, is the fastest and gentlest way to integrate the parts of yourself that are getting in the way of having the relationships you want.

As a certified therapeutic coach in PST, I’m available to offer sessions. Click here to read more if you’re curious about working with me, or get in touch for a chat.

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