Solving Disconnection & Creating Connected Relationships (for Couples & Parents)

15: Self-Led Sexuality Expert, Patricia Rich

August 26, 2022 Jason A Polk Season 1 Episode 15
Solving Disconnection & Creating Connected Relationships (for Couples & Parents)
15: Self-Led Sexuality Expert, Patricia Rich
Show Notes Transcript

Patty (Patricia Rich) is a Coach, Consultant and Psychotherapist. She shares with us what Self-Led Sexuality is and how parents can apply that to their relationship and the relationship they have with themselves.

Her website:

Welcome to The Healthy Relationship secrets for parents podcasts, saving your relationship from parenthood. So the question is, how can we be great parents and have an amazing relationship at the same time? That's the question. And this podcast will provide the answer. All right, let's do it. All right.
Glad to be here. Great. Patricia, rich, also known as Daddy, daddy, thank you so much for being here. You know, I was doing research for an interview. And you have some really cool stuff to share. I'm really cool framework. super interesting.
Well, it's a funny thing, even the names are a bit of an entree into the model that I work. Because the model that I work from, which is called the internal family systems model, it was developed by someone named Richard Schwartz. But one of the assumptions is that we have multiple multiplicity inside that all of us have more than one sub personality, if you will. And for me, I realized even though how I announced my name is a reflection of this because Patricia rich feels like more serious it is feels like my business parts like that name, because it's feels like it has a little more gravitas. Right, but in conversation with people I go by Patty,
well, perfect, Patti. Well, thank you for that. So Patti, can you share with us what you do?
I can, I am a psychotherapist, and specifically a sex therapist. And I also specialize in this model called the internal family systems model. And I use this approach to help individuals and couples to feel more authentic in their own skin and to connect with each other in ways that feel alive and meaningful and allow them to share a lot of different aspects of themselves with each other.
Awesome, and how to you were also shared that you coach therapist as well?
I do. Yes, I've done a lot. In my career. I've been a therapist for many years, pushing probably 30 years at this point. And I've worked with kids, I've worked with families, I've worked with elders, I've worked with lots of people. And at this point in my career, my clientele is largely therapists who are learning with me and training and learning how to address some of their own issues in the area of intimacy and sexuality so that they can have more space for that in their work with their clients. And then I do have a clinical practice where I see people who have what psychotherapy and I also have a coaching practice, where I offer support and psycho education to people who are wanting to learn and enhance their life and prevent future issues and problems. And I've worked for many years in parenting support. And I think it's so critically important that parents have opportunities to remember themselves as the people that they are inside, before all their roles started to define them. And then, of course, to be able to share that authentic core self with the people they love the most, including their life partners.
That's great. I love that that phrase authentic core self. I would love to hear more about that. And Patty, this podcast is it's aimed to help parents have a healthy relationship and also have passion and it can also passion I don't know if it's fair to say synonymous with sex. But yeah, so for you to share your unique perspective on how you can help parents have more passion slash sex. Now, I know there's some some border business before maybe we get into that question is what is sex? Right? I haven't really defined that. And also a way to incorporate it and we can see where it goes your model, the model you use of ifs also called internal family system on the plate, but Patty for is to go wherever.
Okay, juicy, juicy subject and there's lots to lots of ways to go and So let's define some terminology to start with, replace the start. Thanks for doing my job for me, no problem. That's one of my parts. I like to over function for other people.
I appreciate it.
Just kidding. So, okay, so helping parents feel passion with each other. And for me, there's a lot of ways that passion can come through. And passion and sex and sexual intimacy may or may not be synonymous terms. So, when I think about these parts of ourselves, they're they're all important, there's no bad parts is Dick Schwartz says the founder of this model, all our parts have a positive intention for our survival. And when we have a relatively what we use the term burdened in this model, right, so are unburden, right. So if we have, you know, we're not carrying massive trauma, we have sort of the ups and downs of daily life, we probably have more access to more parts of ourselves and can be more fluid, as we kind of switch from one to the other meaning, okay, I woke up, I have maybe a little, if I'm lucky, a little time to myself, I'm gonna work out for 20 minutes. And that's like my knee time. But now I have to get into manager mode. And now I'm making lunches. And now I have to get my kids up. And now we have to go over the schedule, and my manager part is taking over and then maybe, you know, some nurturing part takes over because I need to attend to someone who's hurting, you know, and then maybe another part takes over. So we can often fluidly through these different, you might think of them as roles, because we have life roles. But we're actually sometimes showing up for those roles, with very different energies within ourselves. Do you know what I mean? So that maybe we feel really anxious, you know, thinking about getting the kids ready for school and the bus is coming and our kid isn't putting on their shoes and the lunches aren't done. And so there might be a real feeling of anxiety, you know, and a part of us that maybe holds an expectation that we need to be perfect, or we're afraid of someone judging us or, you know, so. So these are the use of our parts are positive, and have positive intentions for us. If we have not had a ton of life difficulty, at least in certain areas, we can probably fairly fluidly move in and out of those different parts of ourselves. But sometimes we get stuck in certain roles, either, because life is calling for that role from us so much that it doesn't, we might just not have a lot of opportunity to experience ourselves in other ways unless we're really intentional about it. Or it could be that people, you know, have had a life experience. Where there, there's just not a lot of flexibility and being able to switch from one to the other. Do you know what I mean? You know, like, I've always been in survival mode. You know, there was never enough money, there was never enough love, I'm always feeling frantic about everything that I do and afraid the bottoms gonna drop out, you know what I mean? So if that's the space that you're in a lot of the time when you're a parent, there's plenty of things that could fuel that level of anxiety. Right? So, but a new rescue about passion. So sometimes we can connect with sexually or emotionally with partners from our parts. You know what I mean? Like, I am so anxious right now, and I'm going to my partner to comfort me and soothe me
like that.
But at another point, I might be able to notice, gosh, I'm really getting taken over right now, by this anxious part of myself, I know that part of myself, maybe already encountered that a little bit and learned what it feels like. So maybe I can just take a breath or two.
I'll take a breath with you, by the way.
Yeah. Amazing what a breath can do. And maybe I can just ask that part of me to give me a little more space. I'm not pretending it isn't there. I'm not saying it's concerns are invalid. I'm just asking it not to take me over right now. So that I can breathe and feel myself in a little bit more of an expansive way.
Yeah. Can I pause you real quick? Yes. I just want to highlight what you said. You know, there's two ways of going about this. I'm in anxious manager mode. I can If appropriate, reach out to my partner and say, oh my gosh, I'm overwhelmed. You up for a hug or whatever that are just saying that I'm overwhelmed, but also the work of identifying it. And you have a relationship with that. Agent part. Vu, I don't like to refer to people, but I just wanted to make sure yeah, I'm
really glad you're clarifying. Because I also even realized in what you're saying that there's a third possibility, which is probably the most common one, which is that we don't have any of that self awareness, we're anxious, have an A, maybe we're have this anxious manager energy, and we just fire it in our partner. Because we're like, What do you mean, you didn't go to the store? What do you mean, you didn't buy the mayonnaise? What do you mean? Oh, my God, don't you know, I'm supposed to bring snacks. And we have to be there in 10 minutes. So we're probably more often in the line of fire of those parts of our partners. You know, when we're under a lot of stress, and maybe haven't had the chance to learn how to recognize our own inner states or sub personalities, in order to even like, because the next thing you said, is, is a little bit better, right? Like, oh, my god, I'm so stressed, can you give me a hug? I already have some self awareness at that point. And then, if you were my partner, you would have a sense that I wasn't just not seeing you. Good point, or expecting you to just take away my bad feeling?
Yeah, that's great. This is a side note, from my practice, in my coach, I coach people, the very least, this gives someone emotional snippet of what's going on if you can write less stuff for your partner to make. And even I think it can be a form of regulation, if you pause to see what's going on with you, in a way you're able to communicate that.
Absolutely. And another really empowering aspect of the IFS model is this idea of within this idea of multiplicity, is that say my partner comes at me in a certain way, I know that that's not all of who they are. Because I know, that's just a part of them, and that we use this term blended, they're very blended with that part right now. So it doesn't mean I like, it doesn't mean it feels good for me. But it also means that I don't have to say, Why did I ever marry this person? You know, they're so impatient. I can know, well, you know, my husband has a part that gets very frustrated and impatient, and it blends with him a lot. And, but I know that there's so much more to him than that. You know, so it kind of allows a little more grace, a little more compassion for each other. This is actually going to segue back to the question of intimacy. Because in order to feel close, emotionally and physically, we need to feel safe with each other, we need to have a certain level of feeling accepted a certain level of that our we can let our guard down. There's many ways that people have sex and have sexual relationships. I'm not saying that. I like to say you can have partland sex or we can have self-love sex. Nice. All right. So and then they again, not gonna say good or bad, I'm just gonna say they're gonna have different qualities. So part lead sex, if we take the example we had before and turn it into a sexual context. So stressed, maybe someone that feels reassured, like my anxiety is relieved through having sex with my partner. So I may come to my partner when I'm really anxious, and I'm really keyed up. And I'm going to say, let's have sex. Can we have sex? Now? Come on, you know, like, how long has it been? We haven't had sex in a week, like I really need this. And so that may or may not be received well by the other person. Right? Because they're feeling the energy of the part that's approaching them. Right? And maybe they're down with that. They're like, Okay, we always have a good time and helps us both blow off some steam and we wind up feeling closer. No problem. No. Or it might be that they're like a little bit like, Yeah, not really feeling it right now. Yeah, may not want to encounter that part as much and might or maybe they're just busy and their manager part is doing something else. And so when we approach with a sexual request. And we're not really seeing the other person, and where they are and what parts they have going in the moment and just try to initiate something, you're maybe more likely to be rebuffed. And then that's going to maybe get a whole nother set apart going, Oh, my God, I've been rejected, doesn't she think I'm attractive anymore? I know, you know, whatever, whatever. Like, our parts can go down a rabbit hole.
Yeah, well, how do you if you could, I don't know, give some advice. And of course, every situation is unique. But say, That's me. Right? If I get anxious, my parts are like, hey, a way out of this is to have sex. And I go to my wife, and I'm like, Hey, baby, because I wouldn't say like this. I'm anxious. I need to have sex now. Is our I know, my wife, that's not going to work. Okay. All right, if it'll be too bad, so sad, or something like that. But I guess in a way, what would be appropriate? Again, being aware of it, requesting and even though that she says no, it's, that's fine. I don't know if you can speak a little bit on that, or yeah, go after that.
Absolutely. So I want to talk to you what it might be like for a partner to be approached in that way. And then maybe some options you would have about how to approach differently. So again, if your partner is blended with her parts, she might not have a lot of room for that he might make a little joke about it, or she might be sarcastic, or she might just feel pressured, or who knows, right. And so she's gonna have our own parts. But let's just say and this gets to that piece of the end blending. So when we're able to ask our notice our parts, just pause a minute, take a breath, really center ourselves. And something that's so important here is we're not invalidating our own feelings. We're not just saying get over it, don't be anxious, you're always so uptight. It's just like, Okay, I hear the anxious part. Let's just look around and see there really isn't really anything that has to be done in the next five minutes? Or could you give me space just for a minute or two here, the process of how to do that is something I coach people on. And we might need a little more time to, we could even do a little bit, we actually could do a little demo here, with people. But anyway, so let's say that she was feeling a little more spacious as you approached her, then she might be able to say, you know, Hey, we love you. Really sorry, you're feeling that way right now. That's not going to work for me. Let's check in later. Something that doesn't feel harsh or rejecting? Believe it or not, there's a lot of research out there about how to say no, in ways that are not harmful to the other person or not as likely to be, you know, what I mean, kind of negative experience. For the relationship, we should say No, when we mean no, but then there's ways to say no, right? But then on the other hand, say before you ever approached her, you are able to notice you're so anxious, that maybe you could do the same process again, right, just taking a breath sort of a little, it's kind of like self talk, except the idea that it's not just in your head that there really is in like a somatic experience of these parts that you can really feel and engage with. So but if you can ask them to give you a little bit of space, or really, again, there's some ways to do that, then you might have more room to approach differently. And you might be able to say, Okay, I want to approach her when I'm feeling safe in my own skin. You know, I'm gonna be way sexier to her. If I'm feeling my own self energy, my core being that's my lifeforce energy. That's the thing that she fell in love with. Maybe, maybe we could lead from there.
Yeah, that makes sense to me. Well, let me ask a question. How do we know that we're in that space you just described?
Well, in the IFS model, Richard Schwartz, who developed it came up with something called the eight C words. And these words are to help recognize when we're in that state. Cool, and I will try to remember them all. Not they're on my wall behind me.
And they're on your Facebook page to your face. Oh, okay.
Patricia is My website and other on the Facebook page and in the my website, I believe so it's things like am I feeling calm? Am I feeling compassionate, curious, connected, creative, courageous competence? Do I have clarity. So those are just some clues. Because when we feel a lot of agenda, a lot of driven newness, that's, that's a clue as well that we are possibly blended with a part. And it also could be numbness, you know, if we feel kind of disengaged, absent, foggy, just not quite there. That's also an indication that there may be some part of us, you know, we're kind of looking at the eyes of that part or feeling through the body of that part,
if you will. So,
so from a parts place, like I said, part lead sex isn't necessarily bad at all, you know, it's like, hey, we want to be able to fall asleep more easily, let's have sex for that reason, or, Hey, we really should do this, you know, it's good for our relationship. You know, there might be parts that either motivate the beginning of a sexual encounter, or that even or the mean experience moving through it. And as long as that's agreeable to both of you, that's fine. And this idea of self led sexuality, which is what I teach, I created a model called self love sexuality, is based in ifs, and I've added components to it based on my training as a sex therapist. So I've created something called the six S's which sort of bounced off of the seawards. So to me, these six SS describe this lifeforce energy this core authentic self is having sexual qualities of its own. So like self is sensual self is sexual. And so when you may be kind of in maybe your listeners even just to feel into that, like what like, like, when you're really relaxed, when you're in your most kind of comfortable with yourself place? Do you notice something at some sensations inside? Do you notice a sense of safety with yourself? Like I just good with myself, I'm good being me. I'm not trying to be anything else. You know, there's a sense of safety that goes along with that there's a sensuality to that I'm when I'm in this space, a just a family feel just a little more fluid a little more. I don't know what you know, just like a little more able to feel our own energy in a way that feels good. And we also become more mindful to sensation, we might just like they say, Stop and smell of flowers. When we're in a flurry of activity. We don't smell the flowers, when we can when our parts have relaxed when we feel safe. All of a sudden, oh, I didn't even notice there were some music playing in the background. Gosh, I wasn't tuning into that, you know, I didn't even notice how good it feels that you're rubbing my shoulder. As we're talking, I wasn't I wasn't even perceiving that because I was abuzz with thinking about work. You know what I mean? So when we're attuned to this core energy, we notice sensuality more. And we also might feel more expansive. It's not like we're really restricted where it doesn't mean we don't have constraints in our life, but within our own skin, we can, at times feel more expansive, and spacious. And then there's some additional SS which are sensitive, steamy and satisfying. So our salt when we're in that core self, our sensitivity is heightened. We may be can be a little more sensitive to other people, to our partner emotionally, physically, we might notice sensations that were maybe we might not have even noticed before we started to feel safe and sensual. Now all of a sudden, maybe our sensations are becoming more pronounced. And maybe there's more intimacy, emotional intimacy happening. And steeliness, there might be passion. This is where the passion comes in. Maybe we're going to, at that point, feel either emotional or physical passion with our partners, and then satisfied means that the self that we have is already satisfied. Like we don't have to do anything to be good enough.
To be the coach therapists love that. We don't have to do anything to be good enough. Please continue.
Yeah, yeah, easy to forget that. And we get maybe a million messages a day, for commercial and other reasons, trying to dissuade us from that. But when we know we are enough, and that no matter what happened in an intimate encounter, whatever happened, physically, whatever happened emotionally, we are still enough, we can exit the situation with grace as well, which makes it a more inviting place to return to. So the six S's can serve us in many ways. And I'm going to pause before I go into more of those. But I hope this is making sense that that's not too abstract.
I love the successes, and I want to remind my audience, you can download the PDF, info graphic, whatever you want to call it, yes,
it's a free offering on my website at Patricia, where it says free six SS chart, and you can go there, and you will immediately get an email with the link to this graphic. And it defines each of these Ss.
Yeah, that's great. As I was thinking, I was reflecting on the IFS model, in your model, the six S's and what I really like about it is that it assumes our true nature and Jose is good. But that we have in a way and feel free to correct this, we have everything we need, that fundamentally I it almost seems a little bit of like Buddhist. Nature is like holding complete.
Absolutely. And it's very resonant with lots of different traditions. But it's not a religious model in any way. But the idea of self, that we all have a self that is indestructible, no matter what kind of life experience, we've had, no matter how much trauma, that there is a light as long as we're alive, you know, we have this force within us and that this is who we most authentically are. And it's also capable of healing and harmonizing our parts. So it's very optimistic in that way. And one thing to get back to parenting is I think it's very easy as a parent to lose your sense of who you are.
I saw the look on your face there some recognition.
My wife and I both we both know this, but continue. Yeah.
So really taking the time. And this, again, has to do with passion, like what does it take to remember who you are, and to feel like yourself, you know, and sometimes we think we have to go on a retreat for six months and meditate on a mountaintop, if that's your thing, and you can manage it. Awesome. But one of the cool things with ifs is it teaches us how in just a few moments time, we can arrive at a state where we feel much more like our authentic self, much less impinged upon. And that's the place where our passion can surge from, not with an agenda of any type. But just because it's who we are.
Well, I feel like I could talk to you for hours on this. But I want to throw something out there. And then for the sake of time, you can obviously pass or do it do the quick answer. But the six passes. Is it a practice for that? What comes out? As after we or as we work through our parts or like our trauma? Yeah, whenever you say like fun, I think I'm blending. And yeah,
that's a great a great question. So self has these qualities already. And Richard Schwartz calls the IFS model, a constraint release model. So we're not trying to add anything to ourselves. We're trying to release the constraints to our experience of what's already here. But that being said, the esses I have found can be helpful in lots of different ways. We can use them lots of different ways. So we can more actively check to see am I feeling safe right now? And you can ask your partner that and are you feeling safe right now? And safe? You know, maybe physically safe, it might be comfortable? Do you feel comfortable enough to let your guard down right now? And the act of asking and of taking the responsibility for checking yourself. And then for showing the care for your partner to say, are you feeling this way now, and then allowing a little space to sort out whatever might need to be sorted out, I was actually just talking to a friend who has a new baby. And she and her husband, when they have a chance to connect and maybe have sex together, they've realized that the fact that they have the baby monitor on the night table with the picture, the baby isn't helping her feel like she could disconnect from that vigilant, anxious, new mom part enough to be present. So, you know, when we're so worried about our kids, and all the bad things that can happen in the world, or just in a day, or an hour, five minutes, it can be harder to feel like it's safe enough for me to let my vigilance down enough to really be present. So just approaching and exploring that together, you can deal with that and the external environment, and you may start to feel a little closer with each other. It's like, you're not just expecting someone to be available. Without them, checking, you know, to see if they're available, for sure. But each of these can be consciously approached. And intentional ways sensuality, as well can just be a really nice bridge into intimacy. And again, with pill, children, babies, teenagers, there can be a lot of distraction from being able to feel like you can notice sensual pleasure. And so it's sometimes it's the opposite. You know, there's a lot of baby smell in your bedroom, that's sensual, that it's not sexual. Like sometimes it brings out a different hormonal response. So sort of attending to what is in the atmosphere here, are there a lot of stinky sneakers in this room for my teenagers? Maybe we want to do something about that. So you can attend to what helps each of you to really feel like you're present to sensual pleasure as another bridge. And that may or may not bridge into full sexual contact, whatever that means to you that it can still be very bonding and create a receptivity when the opportunity
occurs. Sure, like the idea of bonding, you know, it's intimacy, right? But have this conversation. Am I feeling safe right now? What a cool conversation if the circumstances align, but Paddy, that this is really great. I feel like this is a good enough tease into your model, the six S's and I would urge everyone to check out Patricia But how do you how can people find you and work with you?
Thank you, yes, the website is a great place to start, you can sign up for that freebie of the six SS of sexual self energy infographic. And that will also put you on my mailing list which you can opt out of if you don't want that and just want the graphic. But if you stay on there, you will hear about upcoming offers and opportunities and workshops that I have. If you happen to be someone listening to this, who is familiar with the IFS model already, and is interested in workshops and learning how to bring the perspective of selfless sexuality into your work. That's something also that I offer. And I have coaching packages for people. So if you have parents who are saying, Gosh, this could be very enriching for us. I have some different ways I've set up, you know, 12 week, packages, etc, that really walk people through the IFS basic skills, and then how to navigate the six SS. My social media is not super snappy yet, but it might be in the future.
Yeah, no, I Well, that sounds great. Well, Patti reflecting on the the interview, what pops out to me is your energy, and also your knowledge. So thank you so much for that. And thank you so much for taking the time. It's been a pleasure. So likewise,
thank you so much, Jason, for inviting me and giving me a chance to speak with your audience. And I just want to say as a parent of kids, who are now in their 20s I remember with just a lot of compassion, how hard many of those days weeks and years where and at the same time, I do miss them tremendous.
Both Patti, thank you so much. Okay, we'll talk to you soon. Okay.
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