What is Surrogate Partner Therapy?
When a single person needs help resolving inhibitions and dysfunctions in the area of physical and emotional intimacy, a therapist might recommend Surrogate Partner Therapy.
Surrogate Partner Therapy is a hands-on approach based on Sensate Focus technique designed be Master’s and Johnson during the 60'S. It works by refocusing the participant on their own sensory perception and sensuality, instead of goal and performance oriented behavior.
A therapist, a client and a surrogate partner are involved in surrogate partner therapy, working as a triad.
After a first meeting usually at the therapist’s office, client and surrogate partner will meet separately while client and therapist will continue regular talk-based sessions.
In addition to talking with client, surrogate partner engages client in experiential learning, structured and unstructured exercises in relaxation, communication, consent, sensate focus, touch, sex education and social skills. These activities are designed to build self-awareness and self-esteem, reduce performance anxiety, resolve difficulties with physical and emotional intimacy.
Within the frame of a safe surrogate-client relationship, client will open to trust and honesty. They will develop their capacity for authenticity and adult intimacy. Experiences will facilitate the development of healthy self-concepts and resolve interconnected social, emotional, psychological, and sexual concerns.
All along the process, surrogate and therapist will keep constant communication. These consultations center on the client’s response to the relationship and activities with the surrogate partner, discussion of client psychology, and session planning.
At some point, the therapist, surrogate, and client reach the conclusion that it is time to bring the surrogate and client relationship to a close. The process of closure is considered the final stage of the Surrogate Partner Therapy, and is not done without careful consideration and care for the feelings of all participants.
Client will continue to see their therapist, as they’ll use their experience and new skills in real life.
Who will benefit Surrogate Partner Therapy?
The problems that motivate clients to seek Surrogate Partner Therapy range from general anxiety in social situations to specific sexual dysfunctions.