Psychosexual Somatics® Therapy (PST) is an evolutionary, body-oriented therapeutic modality dealing with sexual and intimacy issues, developed by Mike Lousada.
PST is based on the understanding that all sexual issues have an underlying emotional root cause, and present as a combination of cognitive (mind/emotions) and somatic (body) symptoms. It is only by addressing both the mind, emotions and the body, and by re-regulating the nervous system, that issues can be fully resolved.
PST offers a clearly boundaried therapeutic space, uses safe, gentle and effective techniques that allow the client to see how old, limiting patterns from the past affect their present situation. It helps them release what they’re holding in their body and nervous system and empowers them to develop positive changes with their sexuality and themselves.
How is PST different from regular sex therapy?
Conventional sex therapy arises from the medical model, which focuses on function and dysfunction, and on pathologization. It assumes that if desire (‘I want to have sex’), arousal (‘my body responds to desire’) and function (‘I can get erect/have an orgasm, etc.’) are all working ok, then sex should be working just fine. It makes sex into a “black box” that doesn’t need to be talked about directly.
In PST we open the black box and we talk about how sex is really experienced by the client. We explore what’s working and what isn’t, we look at the deeper underlying issues from your past. We focus not only on resolving “dysfunction” but also on helping you move towards your sexual potential. PST believes that our capacity for pleasure is only limited by our own negative beliefs, not by physiological constraints.
Another significant difference is that sex therapy only addresses psychological and emotional aspects of sexual issues by talking about them. PST is evolutionary in that we hold an integrated body-mind approach: Emotional and sexual issues always show up in the body as patterns of tension, pain or other physical symptoms, and it is only by addressing both that we can get to the root of the problem.
How is PST different from Sexological Bodywork?
PST sits between conventional sex therapy and Sexological bodywork in that it uniquely addresses the mind-body connection and builds an important bridge between the two.
In PST we believe that the body can be addressed in a gentle way that does not require intimate or internal touch techniques, which some clients can experience as invasive. In PST sessions clients remain fully clothed, and less than ‘doing to the client’, a PST practitioner holds space for the client to feel themselves. PST’s practitioner’s training always includes understanding not only of the nervous system but also of how to manage and contain trauma, something which is likely to arise when working with sexuality. PST also works with bringing awareness to the dynamic between client and practitioner as part of the process, informing about the client’s relational patterns.