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How is Somatic Intimacy Emotion Coaching Different from Traditional Talk Therapy? (Anxious/Avoidant Edition...)

I copied this description (scroll down to see the answer) below from my about page explaining the difference between Somatic Therapy and Traditional Talk Therapy.


As I was reading the answer, the phrase, "feel truly safe in your body..." popped up and I thought, "I bet men, high functioning perfectionists, or avoidant attachment folks think this sentence doesn't apply to them.


Ohohoho...hooo buddy. If you only knew.


What I wish the whole world knew is that even avoidance and high performing perfectionism come from a place of feeling unsafe in the body, anxious even. Not only that, but almost all of us have this experience of tension when we don't know whether it is actually OK to be who or where we are. Even if we seem OK on the surface, there are often all sorts of things going on underneath driving the next words or actions we choose.


See, whether you lean anxious (if I don't find out what they are thinking RIGHT NOW I'm going to EXPLODE) or avoidant (if I feel like it's not OK to say what I need or ask for space, I am going to fully space out and go into a nonverbal shut down for the next 4 hours/days)....that impulse happens in your body.


Hey, who knows! Maybe you already suspected that the shut down (or freeze/collapse) happens in your body due to the feelings of subtle fear, overwhelm, or maybe even some rage or joy that is too much to feel.


Unless maybe you thought that was your mind saying, "hey let's get really weird and quiet and go shut ourself in a closet." Probably not, now that you think about it, right?


The thing is, most of us probably wouldn't opt to get confusingly quiet or pushy or overly talkative on purpose...it's just what happens when things are a little too much for our body to feel or process or if we feel like our belonging or, even more tender, our love, is threatened.


So, to answer the question with a little more detail, whether we are talking about a trigger (you guessed it, a moment when things get to be a little too much and you have been shot out into space, can't shut off the valve of feelings, and can't seem to end some absolutely inane or icky argument...) or actually experiencing the trigger right there in the session, the focus of our conversation is going to move to the sensations in your body.


This is an incredible opportunity to feel yourself and learn to navigate life's stickiest moments with more grace and less struggle. It is also how we rewire your nervous system right there in the moment to start to interpret your body's signals differently.


Example: You used to get freaked out (heart beats faster, breath gets shallow, you get a little grumpy and rude) when you want space and are afraid to ask. Resentment would build in your system and angry or defensive stories would start to swirl in your brain along with all sorts of messages about how a partner SHOULD just give you space without you having to ask. "UGH! Why don't they just get it?"


But now, after some practice of noticing and reprogramming those physiological signals, while also peeling away the layers of social conditioning that has you judging and expecting the worst, your mind is free and you have actually taken the risk of asking for space now when you need it. Not only have you learned to do it more lovingly, you also naturally feel more love because you're not so worked up and because you now have all of this evidence that your partner can respond well to your needs (like, really well and not just passive aggressively because they're working on themself too!)


How does that sound? Are you hearing the body connection yet? What if you tried noticing this the next time you get a little squirrelly or cranky? Let me know how it goes!


Psssst....Check out the Empowered Love Mini Course for an intro to riding the wave of BIG Feelings without overthinking them or driving yourself nuts.


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(The original answer)


How is this different from traditional therapy?

We will do lots of talking, but less storytelling and venting than you might do in talk therapy. Storytelling and analyzing keeps you in your head. If simply discussing our problems could heal us, we'd all be fixed by now. As emotions emerge in our discussion, I will teach you how to really feel right there in the moment. We will also connect to blocks or patterns on a subconscious level so they can be healed, released, and reframed.


The boundaries of the discussions that happen in this practice are also different and better suited to healing relationship dynamics because these sessions are more personal and embodiment focused than traditional talk therapy.


I will teach you the subtle art of noticing the language of your body when you are in intimate connection. In this process, you will improve your relationships and enhance your capacity for pleasure and big feelings, find true safety in your body, learn how your body communicates with your mind, and grow more awareness and depth in connection. You will also find that you are less anxious and stressed in your day-to-day life.

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