Emiko Yoshikami

Surrogate Partner Therapy

Welcome

Welcome to Healing Intimacy, where value is placed on the healing nature of grounded, compassionate, and intimate care. As humans, it is important that we develop meaningful connections with other people. Surrogate Partner Therapy can give you the opportunity to explore greater levels of intimacy and can help you create a richer relationship with yourself and others.

Definition

What is Surrogate Partner Therapy?

Surrogate Partner Therapy is a well-established practice that addresses issues of intimacy and sexuality by working with both a therapist or clinician, and a surrogate partner. Clients receive support from physical and emotional interactions with their surrogate partner as well as therapeutic support from talk-therapy. Surrogate partners build a non-judgmental environment in which clients are able to explore their own unique capacities for, and expressions of, intimacy and sexuality.

Why see a Surrogate Partner?

We live in a society that often disconnects us from our bodies and our emotions. Though we see dozens of faces everyday we rarely touch one another. We are endlessly confronted with narrow prescriptions of the 'normal' or 'right' way of being, loving, and living. Issues of sexuality are seldom addressed apart from sensationalist stories that depict relationships in either dysfunctional or idyllic ways. Realistic and helpful role models are hard to come by. As individuals and as a culture, we need more grounding touch and sincere invitations to connect with our differences and our possibilities.

Far too many people experience alienation and dissatisfaction when it comes to intimacy. There may be a number of reasons for these feelings, including, but certainly not limited to: isolation, inexperience, trauma, or struggles with regards to one's disabilities, gender identity, and/or sexual orientation. Surrogate Partner Therapy provides a level of physical attentiveness that is not possible within traditional forms of psychotherapy. Even the simple act of being held can be transformative.

Process

How does Surrogate Partner Therapy work?

Surrogate Partner Therapy begins when client and therapist meet to discuss the work. Once the therapist and client agree that Surrogate Partner Therapy is the right choice, there will be an initial meeting between the therapist, client, and surrogate partner. In subsequent sessions clients will meet with their therapist and surrogate partner separately. All three participants will remain in contact with each other throughout the course of the therapy to ensure the well-being of the client. The length of the therapy, as well as the activities involved, depend on the specific needs of the client. Length of therapy can range from a few weeks to several months (or occasionally years).

What happens during sessions?

It can be helpful to think of Surrogate Partner Therapy consisting of four stages. However, not every case fits this model and sessions are always tailored to the needs of each client. The following is written to give prospective clients an idea of what the therapy entails.

The first stage of the process centers on building rapport. The surrogate and client learn about each other and cultivate a safe space for the exploration of intimacy and sexuality. At this stage social and emotional connections are developed. This is a time for the surrogate and client to get to know each other as individuals. Making an authentic personal connection sets the stage for emotional intimacy, a key part of Surrogate Partner Therapy.

During this first stage, and continuing throughout the therapy, the client is shown exercises which aid in staying present, relieving anxiety, and building and maintaining intimate connections. All of the exercises in Surrogate Partner Therapy are done by both the client and surrogate partner. The relationship being built is one in which the surrogate partner is a peer, rather than an expert educator. In this first stage of the therapy, exercises are done clothed. Usually the overarching mood is one of gentle nurturing.

Nudity is introduced during the second stage of the therapy. During this stage, the concern is not sexual arousal. The focus is on comfort with one's own body and being with the body of another. Graduating exercises will include the whole body. Once comfort is established, the mood of the sessions is usually marked by sensuality.

It is during the third stage of the work that sexuality is explicitly engaged, often including various sexual activities. There is no contract for intercourse; intercourse will only take place if it is determined to be therapeutically beneficial for the specific issues presented by the client. Playing with eroticism and exploring sexual pleasures and desires is part of this process. Specific sexual issues will, of course, be directly addressed.

The fourth and final stage is closure. Sessions end consciously and with the understanding that ending a relationship does not signify a failure. We learn that intimacies can build, change, and end, all with compassion, awareness, and intentional communication.

The process is, of course, unique for everybody and this brief outline only gives a small window into what is often deep and transformative work.

Bio

Hello. My name is emiko yoshikami. I am a surrogate partner certified by the International Professional Surrogates Association. I have a passion for intimate connections and a deep commitment to healing. In my life I have built close relationships with a wide variety of people. Through these relationships I know that intimacy heals. I also know that there is a need for healing our most intimate wounds. This work of healing is the path I have chosen for myself. I am honored to be doing this work and grateful for the opportunity to love in this unique way.

Credentials

I hold a Master's degree in Cultural Anthropology & Social Transformation from the California Institute of Integral Studies and have taken master's level courses in psychology and human sexuality. I completed the San Francisco Sex Information Program in 2013. I have been a Buddhist meditation practitioner since 1996 (at the age of 15) and I incorporate mindfulness into my life and my livelihood. In addition to my formal training as a surrogate partner, I have been working with individuals regarding issues of intimacy since 2012.

Contact

I see people of all genders (I am especially welcoming of women and trans* clients), ages (18 and above), and abilities (physical and social). I am queer, poly, and kink-friendly.

My office is located in San Francisco. There is one flight of stairs to reach my office. I will work with you to accommodate any accessibility needs you may have.

For all inquries, please send an e-mail to healingintimacy@gmail.com.

Please note that any opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of the International Professional Surrogates Association.