Coaches, in this post I’ll show you how you can help your sex coaching clients get unstuck. Do you work with clients or couples who:
- have been in a committed relationship (marriage or other) for at least 5-10 years.
- do not have a DSM V Sexual Disorder but are stuck in a sexual rut.
- are still in love but have found that their passion and desire are not what they used to be.
- feel that their sex lives could use a tune up but are not interested in anything kinky or artificial.
If so then you’ve come to the right place.
- is perfect for lovers who have been together for 5, 10, 25, years or more
- will help your clients break out of whatever sexual rut they are stuck in.
- will help your clients re-ignite (and increase) their passion and desire at any age, regardless of how long they have been in their relationships.
- does not rely on sex toys, artificial devices, drugs, or gimmicks.
According to AC Coaching theory, clients get stuck in a sexual rut because they lack psychological flexibility. Psychological flexibility allows clients to manage troubling thoughts and painful emotions related to their sexuality that often create barriers to having the kind of sexual relationships they want and deserve.
There are six key factors called core processes that contribute to psychological inflexibility and getting stuck. The original six core processes that lead to clients being psychologically inflexible were originally described in the ACT Hexaflex Model (see Figure # 1.) or ACT Model of Psychopathology (Strosahl, et. al, 2004). AC Coaching also uses this model to explain why clients get stuck.
Figure # 1. The Hexaflex Model
Let me give you a quick rundown on the six core processes that lead to psychological inflexibility and getting stuck.
1. Attachment to the conceptualized self. This is also known as having a self-as-content view. When clients take a self-as-content view of they see themselves as the sum total of their thoughts. This contributes to their mistaken belief that they can “figure everything out in their heads” in advance without having to directly experience sexual and other situations.
2. Cognitive fusion. Cognitive fusion is over-identification with one aspect of the conceptualized self. When clients fuse with one aspect of their conceptualized sexual selves they use phrases such as “I don’t have a very big penis”, or “I am not very good at relationships” This can create barriers to sexual growth opportunities because such thinking limits options.
3. Dominance of outmoded scripts (self-talk) and learning. This involves clients getting hooked into believing unhelpful and outdated versions of themselves as sexual people. Even though this outdated learning and self-talk about it is not valid any more it still creates barriers to committing to take action.
4. Experiential avoidance. Clients who are psychologically inflexible often avoid taking values-congruent sexual action because it is easier and less painful to stay stuck and do nothing than to try something new or to change some aspect of their sexual lives.
5. Lack of clarity of values. Clients are often unclear of their sexual values and because of this they do not have a clear direction or purpose for their sex lives.
6. Inaction, Impulsivity, and Rigidity. These three processes can be lumped together and best understood as the inability to take action and behave in ways that are consistent with clients’ sexual values.
AC Coaching theory and practice shows how these key factors contribute to getting stuck by limiting the ability to deal with situations in new and creative ways. When clients are psychologically inflexible, they have fewer options available to help them overcome barriers and make progress meeting their values-based sexual goals.
A New Model
While the Hexaflex Model and the core processes have their utility, they did not present the dynamic that exists as clients move away from being stuck and towards being unstuck. This dynamic movement and process is an integral part of a new model developed by Anstiss and Blonna (2014) called the Ramp Model (see figure # 2).
The Ramp Model illustrates how the core processes facilitate client growth and movement from psychological inflexibility to flexibility. It is a key construct in Acceptance and Commitment (AC) Coaching.
AC Coaching applies the principles and practices of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, to coaching.
Figure # 2. The Ramp Model
Anstiss and Blonna (2014) recast the six core processes as Tools and Techniques so they are more easily understood by coaching clients. How they replace the six core therapeutic processes is depicted in the following way.
1. Valued Sexual Living (defining valued directions). This technique helps coaching clients clarify what really matters to them, their values, and explore how they may manifest their values or live more fully in harmony with them over the coming weeks and months
2. Sexual Mindfulness (contact with the present moment). This tool teaches clients how to pay attention with openness, flexibility and curiosity to what is happening in the present moment.
3. Sexual Commitment (committed action). This technique involves helping clients take committed action towards important life goals which are in harmony with their values (aka; values-congruent goals).
4. Sexual Acceptance (acceptance). This tool helps clients accept, allow, tolerate, be willing to have and make room for unpleasant thoughts, feelings and sensations, especially when taking values-congruent action.
5. Observing Self (self-as-context). This technique helps clients notice their thinking and defuse from and gain separation and distance from their troubling thoughts and painful emotions. It helps them realize that they are more than just their thoughts, and allows them to see their thoughts as objects of consciousness that rise and fall, that come and go, and over which they have little control.
6. Disentanglement (cognitive defusion). This tool helps clients cultivate and view the world from the perspective of the observing self – that silent, quiet part of oneself that persists through time, observing and noticing change in the world, containing all the changes that go on inside a person’s head but which does not itself get caught up in those changes.
The process of AC Sex Coaching is helping clients progress up the ramp – perhaps first working on one skill, and then another. In reality, the AC coach works with the client on several skills in any one particular coaching session, and the skills are all rather interconnected. For example, when you cultivate the perspective of the observing self you most likely have also defused from some unhelpful beliefs.