WHAT IS SURROGATE PARTNER THERAPY?
Some information on this page adapted from the International Professional Surrogates Association (IPSA) website.
In this therapy, a client, a therapist and a surrogate partner form a three-person therapeutic team. The surrogate participates with the client in structured and unstructured experiences that are designed to build client self-awareness and skills in the areas of physical and emotional intimacy. These therapeutic experiences include partner work in relaxation, effective communication, sensual and sexual touching, and social skills training. Each program is designed to increase the client’s knowledge, skills, and comfort.
As the work progresses, clients find themselves becoming more relaxed, more open to feelings, and more comfortable with physical and emotional intimacy. Sessions with the therapist are interwoven with the surrogate partner sessions in order to facilitate understanding and change. Our surrogate partners work in cooperation with our on-staff clinical therapist for the highest standard of collaborative care.
SURROGATE AND CLIENT INTERACTIONS
Learning how to develop healthy relationships, how to touch and to receive touch, and how to be more accepting of one’s body and sexuality are important aspects of this process. Care is taken to assure that the client is ready for each new step as client and surrogate gradually progress through experiences that are simultaneously diagnostic, skill building, and healing.
The surrogate partner models social skills, effective communication, and emotional honesty. The surrogate-client relationship offers experiences of shared physical intimacy that facilitate development of healthy self-concepts and improved sexual functioning.
As the work progresses, clients find themselves becoming more relaxed, more open to feelings, and more comfortable with physical and emotional intimacy. Genital contact may or may not be therapeutically indicated. When it is indicated, it is often a minor part of the therapy.
WHO NEEDS SURROGATE PARTNER THERAPY?
The problems that motivate clients to seek surrogate partner therapy range from general social anxiety to specific sexual dysfunctions.
Concerns for either gender may include problematic relationships; medical conditions; negative body image or physical disfigurement; sexual, physical or emotional abuse and/or trauma; confusion about sexual orientation; low social or sexual confidence.
Some common sexual concerns for male clients involve orgasm issues, premature or delayed ejaculation, and/or erection difficulties. Female clients’ sexual issues might involve difficulties with orgasmic release or penetration.
Clients of either gender may seek therapy to address problems relating to lack of experience, fear of intimacy, shame or anxiety regarding sex, low level of arousal, or lack of sexual desire.