Surrogate Partner Therapy
Listen to “143: Surrogate Partner Therapy – Brian Gibney” on Spreaker.
What is Surrogate Partner Therapy
Surrogate Partner Therapy offers a unique, tailored space in which to safely explore trust, communication, emotional intimacy, sensuality, and sexuality. Each of these pieces is important in their own right and essential in how they interconnect to influence healthy relationships.
It facilitates the therapeutic process and focuses on physical limitations, personal history, poor self-image, communication and other broad areas in relationships. Unlike a therapist, a surrogate partner is in the relationship with you and shows you what something would feel like, lending itself to people not currently in relationships.
Surrogate Partner Therapy is a Process
Just like any type of work required on a relationship, the process may take some time. Early on in the process, Brian ensures that his clients are aware of what can be expected during the sessions. The session involves the client, the therapist and the surrogate partner working parallel with each other.
Initially, Brian assesses his clients to see if they are a good fit for the sessions. He discusses mental disorders and active abuse as an example of clients that would not be a good fit for the therapy.
Consent is Crucial
Brian opens up the consent conversation and how critical it is to measure if his clients understand consent. He takes us through the exercise he uses throughout his sessions, to ensure that his clients understand consent and know how to identify it.
Specialized Training is Important
While this type of therapy is not offered by therapists, Brian discusses the process of involving his clients’ therapists and ensuring that they too are not overstepping personal or professional comfort boundaries.
To ensure you are getting a certified surrogate partner, Brian suggests getting recommendations and getting a feel for how your therapist works. The typical way a surrogate partner works is within a triad. Communication is usually a main area of discussion while sexual focus comes in as a client requires it.
Brian mentions the certifying organizations available that you can use to check if your surrogate partner is certified.
Over the course of his adult life, Brian has worn many hats: research scientist (BA, Molecular biology; Masters, Microbiology), teacher, professional artist, performer, and parent. The common thread that has run through all of those vocations has been the joy of learning, discovery, and improvement.In parallel with his professional life, he has also been keenly interested in interpersonal interactions, intimacy, and authenticity. These two facets have merged in his practice as a Surrogate Partner.
Brian received his training in Surrogate Partner Therapy from IPSA (the International Professional Surrogates Association) in 2016. In addition to being a member of IPSA, he is also a surrogate partner member of IMBT (Institute for Mind-Body Therapy), AIHG (Ananda Integrative Health Group), and AASECT(American Association of Sex Educators Counsellors and Therapists).
Brian is a founding member of the surrogate Partner Collective and Chair of AASECT’s Somatic Sexuality Professionals Special InterestGroup.In his practice, Brian seeks to help clients create foundational self-knowledge that enables them to effectively navigate healthy and fulfilling intimate relationships. Motivating this is the core belief that sharing intimacy with others is an essential part of the human experience. While it is important for everyone to have the option to feel connected with others, many find it difficult (or impossible) to make this connection.
In helping clients achieve their goals, Brian strives to maintain high professional and ethical standards and promote accessibility of Surrogate Partner Therapy to ensure those in need may receive the most successful treatment. In addition to his work with clients, Brian has been advocating for his profession by education therapeutic professionals and the broader public.
Drawing from his experience as an educator, he has presented at a range of professional conferences, workshops, therapeutic practices, and professional groups. In discussing his work, he hopes to encourage dialogue about a variety of topics–intimacy, sensual awareness and embodiment, and communication–that is so desperately needed in our society.
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