I thoroughly enjoy working with couples, both heterosexual and gay monogamous, polyamorous, open, swinging, alternative and kinky sexuality or lifestyle.
Certainly part of what is meaningful and enjoyable for me is due to the fact that there are two people in my office with me rather than one, therefore there is more going on. And, relationships are important to humans; we truly are social animals who thrive more in community and relationship. Therefore, being part of a couple's healing is humbling and rewarding as I know it is important and life-enhancing for both of the individuals and the family in which they move.
One significant reason I am a therapist is because I want to make a difference in people's lives. I consider myself an agent of change in our society one person at at time. I am an evolutionary revolutionary "fighting" as it were for a safer, more humane, more inclusive, more accepting and more emotionally alive world. We have so much to heal from and healing is necessary for us to be more present to any situation at hand.
Couples can support each other in the healing and in that support of each other can help their relationship become stronger, more trusted; more intimate, interdependent and individuated at the same time.
Increasingly, I am working with couples who are in a poly, open or kinky relationship. As I have been working with sexual trauma survivors and the LGBT community for 25 years, it is an understandable natural progression. One aspect of the healing process from sexual abuse is to separate hurtful, oppressive sexual touch from consensual sex acts. And a fundamental aspect of the coming-out process is to free ones self from shame; specifically shame about our affectional lives and our sexuality.
While it is not inherent that a shame-free couple will become sexually kinky, polyamorous or open their relationship, it is an essential component for a couple to have a satisfying sexual relationship. And to the degree that one is free of shame about sex and sexuality and understands informed consent we are free to explore all that our body/ies want to do and some find they are interested in, excited about and enjoy kinky sex, wish to explore sex with others outside their committed relationship or have other lovers.
While it is not universal that all poly, open and kinky couples will grapple with jeolousy, attachment issues, communication and intimacy complications, it is natural for these to emerge. It is important to work with a therapist who is aware and both emotionally and intellectually comfortable with the structure of a sex-positive couple. Thus, the couple will not need to educate the therapist nor need to protect or defend their sexual and relationship decision, but instead get support in dealing with the emotional and logistical ramifications of those decisions on the couple and each individual.
I specialize in working with attachment issues, sex, sexuality, healing from shame and working with couples who struggle with emotional and/or sexual intimacy. This foundation in my practice helps me work with poly, open or kinky couples from an informed place as well as comfortable with the structure of a couples' relationship. I hope to attract more couples who are poly, open or kinky.
Being part of a couple can be the most healing relationship we are in. The combination of sexual/romantic attachment, intimacy and the intention to be in a healthy relationship can bring about healing for each individual unequaled in other relationships.
On top of that, helping our partner move through their issues in life helps us heal our wounds.
What's going on here?
We all create and learn beliefs about the world based on our life experience. In childhood those beliefs that are created are fundamental in how we move about in the world and what we believe about ourselves. To the degree that our needs have not been met and/or we have been hurt in childhood we create beliefs and ways-of-being that get us through the days, but aren't about being all of who we are nor being open-hearted. To the degree that we have been hurt within our nuclear family (and we all have been) the beliefs we create directly effect our partnerships.
Common beliefs we carry from childhood about our spouses/families are that they are going to leave us or smother/control us if we do something wrong or show certain parts of ourselves to them.
We truly believe our beliefs; we may know that we are each of equal value to each other but believe we are a loser with no hope of success (for example).
These beliefs influence who we date and marry. These beliefs mold how we relate in our relationship and how we interpret our partner.
Couples that come to see me know that they need to have a better relationship, know that it can happen, but don't know how to do it mostly because they don't truly believe that a fully alive and intimate relationship is possible in their life.
As each partner shares his/her truth, pain and desires - often for a first time - intimacy is already beginning to happen in that moment AND abandonment or controlling didn't happen (remember we are in MY office). That begins to chip away at the belief right there; one event at a time.
Added to that when we see our partner consciously intending to change and support us that begins to co-create a new relationship while loosening up the beliefs that were being rigidly applied to all people at all time.
Obviously, this takes time, is not a linear process (human processes rarely are) and each couple has specific complications, however transformation can happen for each individual and every couple.
A topic as large as "emotions" will not be adequately addressed in one blog. It's like titling it, "The Mind". In this blog I am sure I will be visiting the issue and topic of emotions several times.
Today, I am on my soap box. I'll probably do that several times here as well. The long and the short of it is that people need to deal with their feelings, actually discharge their feelings, and stop acting-out and being reactive.
One way to look at my job as a psychotherapist is as an evolutionary agent of cultural change one person at a time. As we each heal and become integrated, whole, emotionally available and able to maintain intimate relations the world is a safer place; one person at a time. Just think how different the world will be when violence is never motivated by someone's feelings; instead each of us/everybody merely rages, sobs, trembles or laughs uproariously. On both a global scale and on the individual level this is easier said than done. As I am not actually a sociologist I will discuss the individual.
For those of you who were raised to be all of who you are and you were guided, supported and nurtured by healthy, emotionally available care-givers throughout your formative years; why are you reading this? I mean, theory would suggest that you feel willing/safe enough to express your emotions when you feel them. A vast majority of us, however, did not get out of childhood unscathed.
I will be addressing trauma, abuse, attachment disorders and PTSD in future blogs. For those of us who have a trauma history the healing is compounded, but to merely live in our culture that is not emotionally intelligent, savvy or vulnerable is hurtful.
Each of us comes into the world with a variance in how we feel and express emotions, but we all have them intact at birth. Emotions are one of the first and primary modes of communication we humans have. A baby cries when she needs something. Emotions are one way our bodies help us heal. Therefore, when our emotions are dismissed, denied, shamed or annihilated we are hurt by not being heard and we are hurt by not being able to heal. Compounding that, not being able to heal over time has negative and hurtful effects. Held, unexpressed feelings weigh us down energetically and age us physically.
When we are not able to safely express our emotions, in childhood, say, we come up with coping mechanisms to get us through painful situations and/or avoid our emotions. We learn through our experience that it is better to cope than do the natural healing process of expressing emotions. Some of these coping mechanisms become problems of their own (eg. addictions) and others are problematic because of their rigidity. A negative effect on our ability to be intimate and vulnerable is inherent in not being emotionally expressive or available.
What do we do about this? Aside from promoting cultural and world-wide change in how we all deal with our feelings, each of us can heal from our individual hurts.
With my clients, I talk about the conscious intent necessary to change our response to our emotions and emotional situations. From our childhood experiences we now automatically shut our feelings off or down one way or another. That was appropriate in the unsafe environment we grew up. However, we grew out of that world. We are no longer a child and we are not dependent on parents/care-givers that "taught" us to shut off our emotions. We are now in a world where we can choose to relate to people who are emotionally safe enough so we can be vulnerable, intimate and emotional with them. It takes a while before that becomes the new automatic way to respond to our emotions, but my clients get there eventually.
In a future blog, I will discuss more in depth what it takes to change our automatic coping mechanisms that shut our emotions down to the ability to be vulnerable by choice.
Hello, My name is Randy Marinez and, among many things, I am a psychotherapist in private practice.
I have been thinking deeply and having rich experiences nearly all my life. I ponder about humanity, relationships and emotional healing. I am in awe of the universe that we are all a part of and the meaning we bring to our experience of it.