- Dissatisfaction and hopelessness in the relationship.
- A value of novelty and passion in romantic/sexual relationships.
- A sense of deserving sexual satisfaction and intimate connections.
- The partner and self are viewed as fixed characters.
- Lack of curiosity for the partner as a subject.
- An experience of desire and passion overriding and overtaking one’s judgment.
- The affair is not recognized as an affair until after it begins.
- Divorce or opening up the relationship are not considered options for resolving the issues.
I’ve been reading Woman on Fire: 9 Elements to Wake up your Erotic Energy, Personal Power, and Sexual Intelligence. The 9 elements are: Voice, Release, Emotion, Body, Desire, Permission, Play, Home, and Fire. Amy Jo Goddard offers worksheets and exercises in each chapter to help individual women explore their sexual stories while identifying any stuck-ness, growth edges, preferred experiences, and experiments. I may refer to some of Goddard’s activities and resources as tools to bolster therapy.
Positive sexual experience can be a great way to feel gratitude for one’s own body. Unfortunately, many people’s negative body image interferes with their ability to be truly present with themselves and inhibits their pleasure. Dr. Emily Nagoski identifies some concrete practices to build self-love at the end of her TED Talk: Confidence and Joy are the Keys to a Great Sex Life. Over the last couple weeks, I have been reading her book Come as You Are.
I enjoyed reading Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World. It’s a collection of case studies, from technology entrepreneurs to social justice advocates, where creative-thinking overcomes status quo obstacles. It’s hard to be an Original without feeling isolated at times, so the stories and sociology research in this book are a welcome companion. The book also gives examples and tools for facilitating more Original leadership and cultures.
Wow, time flies when you’re having fun! Here are my major business updates for November and December 2016, I:
- presented a workshop to the LGBT-Affirmative Therapist Guild: Conceptualization & Treatment of Out of Control Sexual Behavior
- signed up for an extended training program: 80 hours of Internal Family Systems Therapy
- am currently reading The Highly Sensitive Person’s Workbook; Out of Control Sexual Behavior: Rethinking Sexual Addiction; The New Monogamy: Redefining your Relationship after Infidelity; and Introduction to Internal Family Systems Therapy.
I am currently re-reading the wonderful book Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown. If I only had a single therapeutic tool or paradigm, Dr. Brown’s work may be the one. Dr. Brown examines yucky problems like scarcity, shame, and defense mechanisms with finesse and humor. For those of you who have not seen her first viral video, here it is: vulnerability .
In addition to other healthy life practices, I find great resiliency in a self-book: Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others. This book provides a framework for managing vicarious trauma. The text outlines 16 possible imbalances within a caregiver or service provider–such as cynicism, deliberate avoidance, hypervigilance, and an inability to embrace complexity. Readers can self-assess their experience and make adjustments. This collection of research and anecdotes relates to various human services, including social work, law enforcement, education, and medical fields.
Stella Resnick wonderfully dissects sexual relationship problems in Heart of Desire: Keys to the Pleasures of Love. Although the book’s title is cheesy, Resnick offers insight based on research and clinical experience with couples. Resnick identifies variations of the love-lust dilemma–difficulty in maintaining a playful, pleasurable sexuality with a partner once they become family. She identifies family and sociocultural projections that contribute to the love-lust dilemma and guides readers through exercises to reconnect body and mind.
I’ve been facilitating a workshop Gilda’s Club Kansas City for over a year: the Autobiography Workshop. We use the tools of literature and autobiographical writing to conceptualize and share a personal story, including a flawed hero, adversary, crisis, and resolution/meaning. The book Your Life as Story, by Tristine Rainer, has been an invaluable resource for these workshops. Her book provides inspiration and practical writing prompts to help the reader explore memories, develop writing tone, and create a structure “the way a stargazer recognizes constellations.” I would highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to develop or share their narrative or anyone wanting to interview a loved one and record their legacy.