What is Human Connection Coaching?

Human connection coaching supports clients in experiencing secure attachment. Through secure attachment, past wounds can begin to heal and clients can recognize that feeling of safety out in the regular world and in future relationships.  In addition, human connection coaching supports clients in communicating boundaries, developing agency and a sense of empowerment in addition to discovering their needs and wants. 

Esther Perel says, “The quality of your life ultimately depends on the quality of your relationships.” I believe that not only means the quality of your relationship with others but also with yourself.

How my Life Experience Shapes my Work

In my own personal experience, having someone in my life who holds me with positive regard, believes in me, wants to hear what I have to say and who looks at me with affection, has granted me a mirror in which I can see myself through their eyes, leading, ultimately, to loving myself.

In the last 5 years of this work, I’ve been able to give that experience to others. I want my clients to feel loved the way I’ve felt loved. It took me 40 years to experience that feeling. I don’t want it to take you any longer than it already has.

Something I once wrote about my work: “My clients see me for so many reasons. I describe my work as human connection coaching. It’s about human contact. It’s about co-regulation of the nervous system. It’s about just connecting and feeling human. I’m not tied to your life. We can talk and I’m not going to get my feelings hurt because I’m just here to listen. I can help find your edges. I can help find your boundaries. I can help you practice asking for what you want. No request is criticized. I may not be a yes but I’ll never shame you.

Is Human Connection Coaching for you?

Human Connection Coaching sessions can focus on:

Personal empowerment

Self acceptance

Physical comfort

Communication skills

Alleviating loneliness

Intentional touch

Building safety

The list could go on and on.

Each client’s needs are evaluated individually. Here are a few initial questions to consider:

Are you looking for support that is emotionally and/or physically intimate but non sexual?

How would you like to feel after our first session?

What stops you from connecting the way you’d like to?

Are you looking for support with sexual intimacy, specifically?

Are you working with a therapist?

There are no right or wrong answers. These are all areas we would discuss when determining the best plan for you.

Where, How, and What Else

I work across the Mid-Atlantic including Baltimore, Maryland; Washington, DC; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I also see monthly clients in San Diego and across Southern California.

I also offer cuddle therapy. Cuddle therapy is non-sexual, fully clothed and client-led. And guess what? These sessions don’t even have to include cuddling or touch! We start every session with, “How would you like to connect?” This is where my work started. Cuddlist, the premier professional cuddle training organization, has been my home since their start in 2015. Clients have found these sessions to be a safe space to experiment with human connection and human contact.

Sometimes my clients need more or something different. Maybe they need to have a plan that is more customized, includes more guided exercises and/or desire we work in collaboration with their therapist. Maybe they have specific sexual intimacy needs including coaching and sexual or relationship education… areas that tend to step outside the cuddle therapy container. I’m here for that too.

What I’m not here for is your entertainment. I love working with people and supporting them in their growth. I can be a huge yes to that! I won’t be a huge yes to less.

“But Michelle, aren’t I just paying you to be my friend?” That’s a great question! I love what I do! I get paid so that I can do what I love. I am so fortunate to walk through this world, supporting myself, while supporting my clients in meeting their goals. I come with a BIG toolbox of knowledge that I want to share with you. If I wasn’t getting paid to do this work, I’d be getting paid to do something else and not available to share what I know with you, to connect with you. So thank you for valuing me.

What’s your next step? Let’s connect and see how we feel about working together!

Additional information about surrogate partner therapy can be found here.

“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” – from Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

Michelle Renee (she/her) is a human connection coach.

Michelle Renee (she/her) introduces herself as an emotional support human.  She works within a spectrum of touch and connection as a Cuddlist® Certified Practitioner and an IMBT Trained Surrogate Partner.  Michelle is also a Certified facilitator of Cuddle Party®, a consent and communication workshop. A student of Betty Dodson, she occasionally facilitates female sexual empowerment and genital confidence workshops. 

Michelle is not a sex therapist but she is a sex geek, experienced in kink/BDSM, polyamory and other relationship structures.  Your weird isn’t weird to her.  In her world,  you’re normal.

When the Body Responds

What does it look like when the body responds to its surroundings? For some clients it will feel like a spike in anxiety. For another it will feel like a jolt of energy. It could feel like complete shut down.

Working with a newer client today I was reminded of how much information the body has to share with us if we can listen. It was our second session and we are working through some of the usual initial exercises that help give me an idea of how the client is with their yes and no, are they able to be present, and how do they respond to touch. When I started to caress his hand, his body responded with a noticable movement, like a jolt of energy, and he quickly reported that he noticed some feelings. I won’t share the details due to privacy. That’s not the important part of the story. What’s important is that the body had a response that can give us access to great information!

Earlier this week, I was with another client that, with the support of his therapist, sees me for exposure therapy. We titrate exposure to my body. His body responds with high anxiety and we’ve been making very small movement to more and more physical contact. For example, he will touch a place on my body that makes him very nervous. We rate his anxiety and then I see if he can feel me touching his arm, a safe place for him to receive touch. Good news! He can feel my touch even with a spike of anxiety. In fact, we played in that space for a bit and could conclude that my touch on his arm or back actually helps lower his anxiety quicker than without my touch. Great information!

These current cases remind me of a case I had a few years ago that didn’t include any touch for MANY sessions. We worked on eye gazing and eventually, as we established trust, introduced very small amounts of touch, like touching toes. In our session, this person, for the first time since his traumatic memories returned, was able to step away from those memories and be present with me. He learned that he could build trust with me and that translated to trusting others in the world outside my office.

My work is a laboratory. I’m a safe nervous system. Being trauma-informed, I tend to let the client lead the session, no matter the type of session. Even if I have an agenda, I let my clients have a choice and they are asked to never tolerate. My space is a space for empowerment, exploration, and experimenting. “How does this touch feel compared to this touch? Which do you enjoy more? If you touch me, instead of me touching you, does your body respond differently?” It’s like the touch equivalent of an eye exam. 🙂

How does your body respond to touch? Would you like to explore that more in a safe container? Let’s connect!

Book List

I thought it might be interesting to log my reading lists from the last many years. Note, this is my completed reads. I’ve browsed or bought MANY more and I’m working to complete those too.

2022

Sickening: How Big Pharma Broke American Health Care and How We Can Repair It by John Abramson

Intimacy Educator: Teaching Through Touch by Caffyn Jesse

Us: Getting Past You & Me to Build a More Loving Relationship by Terrence Real

Bound: A Daughter, A Domme, and an End-of-Life Story by Elizabeth Anne Wood

Finding Me by Viola Davis

Trauma and Recovery by Judith Herman, MD

Wild Feminine: Finding Power, Spirit & Joy in the Female Body by Tami Lynn Kent

Insatiable Wives: Women Who Stray and the Men Who Love Them by David J Ley

Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger by Soraya Chemaly

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

Unbound: A Woman’s Guide to Power by Kasia Urbaniak

Creating Consent Culture: A Handbook for Educators by Marcia Baczynski, Erica Scott

2021

What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing by Oprah Winfrey and Bruce Perry

Listening to Ecstacy: The Transformative Power of MDMA by Charles Wininger

Stranger Here: How Weight-Loss Surgery Transformed My Body and Messed with My Head by Jen Larsen

Love Worth Making: How to Have Ridiculously Great Sex in a Long-Lasting Relationship by Stephen Snyder

Mother Hunger: How Adult Daughters Can Understand and Heal from Lost Nurturance, Protection, and Guidance by Kelly McDaniel

This is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare by Gabourey Sidibe

I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi

Food Junkies: Recovery from Food Addiction by Vera Tarman

My Grandmother’s Hands: Racial Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem

Polysecure: Attachment, Trauma, and Consensual Nonmonogamy by Jessica Fern

How To Do The Work: Recognize Your Patterns, Heal from Your Past, and Create Your Self by Nicole LePera

Brainspotting: The Revolutionary New Therapy for Rapid and Effective Change by David Grand

Proteinaholic: How Our Obsession with Meat Is Killing Us and What We Can Do About It by Garth Davis M.D., Howard Jacobson

Healers on the Edge: Somatic Sex Education by Caffyn Jesse, Cassie Moore, Mehdi Yahya

The Art of Receiving and Giving: The Wheel of Consent by Betty Martin, Robyn Dalzen

2020

Breath by James Nestor

Fiber Fueled by Will Bulsiewicz

Awareness by Anthony de Mello

Existential Kink by Carolyn Elliott

Boys & Sex by Peggy Orenstein

The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy by Deb Dana

Body Respect by Linda Bacon PhD, Lucy Aphramor PhD RD

The F*ck It Diet by Caroline Dooner

The Dance of Anger by Harriet Lerner

Together by Vivek H. Murthy

Better Sex Through Mindfullness by Lori A. Brotto PhD

Untamed by Glennon Doyle

Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski

Dare To Lead by Brene Brown

The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss

2019

1984 by George Orwell

Building The Ideal Private Practice by Lynn Grodzki

When The Body Says No by Gabor Mate

Braving The Wilderness by Brene Brown

Scattered by Gabor Mate

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown

Rising Strong by Brene Brown

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

Waking the Tiger by Peter Levine

2018

Transformation Through Intimacy by Robert Augustus Masters

Feeling Good by David D Burns

An Intimate Life by  Cheryl Cohen-Greene

Hold Me Tight by Sue Johnson

The Gift of Therapy by Irvin D. Yalom

Trauma: A Practical Guide To Working With Body and Soul by Pelmas, Christiane

Sex is the Least of It: Surrogate Partners Discuss Love Life and Intimacy by Tova Feder

2017

The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel A. van der Kolk

The Male Brain by Louann Brizendine

Betty Dodson Bodysex Basics by Betty Dodson and Carlin Ross

The Chemistry of Connection: How the Oxytocin Response Can Help You Find Trust, Intimacy, and Love by Kuchinskas, Susan

Sex in the Forbidden Zone When Therapists, Donaters, Clergy, Teachers and Other Men in Power Betray Women’s Trust by Rutter M.D., Peter

Leading and Supportive Love: The Truth About Dominant and Submissive Relationships by Lyon, Chris M

2016

You’re Not Too Much: Intensive Lives in an Expansive World by Leela Sinha

The New Topping Book by Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy

2015

The Truth by Neil Strauss

Domination and Submission by Michael Makai

The New Bottoming Book by Janet W. Hardy, Dossie Easton

2014

Vagina: A New Biography by Naomi Wolf

Memoir of Mourning: Journey through Grief and Loss to Renewal by chowaniec, claudia

The Benefit of a Slower Pace

Surrogate Partner Therapy moves at a very measured pace. The first stage of the work is dedicated to building communication skills, building trust, learning to be present, and learning conscious touch. This slower pace has a great benefit: by the time we get to erotic work, we are comfortable with each other and we have some skills and can experience authentic connection.

Often I work with clients that have had some sexual experience. (Often times they haven’t had any, and that’s ok too.) But I bet they haven’t had the experience of a deeply safe and satisfying connection, or they probably wouldn’t be seeing me. Maybe they’ve had a few casual sexual encounters. Maybe they’ve only ever seen sex workers for their experience. Maybe they had a traumatic event or events in their lives that have affected how they can show up in relationships, especially sexual relationships.

Every client I see is unique. The work can look similar but it’s never “the same”. I meet clients where they are and with my toolbox, we create sessions that fill in any gaps or give them the education they never received. Many times the education is sex education, but often it’s body awareness education.

Yesterday I saw a client I’ve been working with since last summer. We’ve built a trusting relationship and we’ve done a lot of Wheel of Consent work, often asking ourselves, “Who is this for?” Other questions include:

How do I want to be touched?

How do I want you to touch me?

How do I want to touch you?

This session was our first erotic session. We’d moved into the next, and likely the last phase of our work. It was time to start putting all our skills together.

I love sending this video to clients early in the work. It helps them understand why we move at a slower pace:

In this video, Ilan Stephani talks about how the animal kingdom, specifically tigers, establish relationships. Ilan then compares it to the order we tend to establish relationships. I have this printed for my office to remind me why I do my work in the order and pace that I do!

This poster is in my office to remind me why I do my work the way I do, at a slower pace.

I share this video with my clients and I share that if we establish safety and proximity, the sex will come easily (assuming both want that kind of relationship). Sometimes I assume they are rolling their eyes in their head, thinking, “Yeah, sure. Can’t we just get to the thing I came to work on?!” But thankfully they trust me and we proceed.

Yesterday my client and I had a plan for our session, body and genital exploration. We would take turns, each having 30 minutes. I started by touching him. I touched for my curiosity and pleasure. There was no goal in this touch other than being present and curious. I had so much fun running my hands all over him. Did he enjoy it? Yeah, he did. But ultimately it was for me. I wouldn’t want him to just tolerate it. It’s important that it’s something that feels ok to him too. But what I’m not doing is looking for his reaction. This is a practice in direct pleasure. (Otherwise, it would be in-direct pleasure, when I’m getting my pleasure from his pleasure – which is ok but not the most efficient way to feel good. You can learn more by reading The Art of Receiving and Giving: The Wheel of Consent by Betty Martin and Robyn Dalzen.)

At 30 minutes the timer went off and we switched places. He started his exploration and it felt amazing to me. While he was still touching me for his curiosity and pleasure, I was definitely reaping the benefits. I could feel my skin start to come online. It was waking up. First, a few little noises slipped out from between my lips. As his touch continued I let myself get lost in it. Before long my hips were rising to meet his touch, I was moving into his fingertips, my audible pleasure increased. I even felt the most delicious whole body orgasm move through me. The 30 minutes was delightful. When the timer went off, I laid there wanting to share some thoughts but my body was buzzing with so much electricity that I also didn’t want to say a thing. I gave myself a few more moments and then I put my practitioner hat back on.

“Do you see how that could have EASILY moved into other forms of sexual contact?”

We have safety, proximity and now it’s so easy to move into the touch/sex phase.

We both experienced so much fun and pleasure in this session. The slower pace really pays off, for both the client AND myself. Nothing beats a client with conscious touch. Why is it “conscious”? Because we know who it’s for. More on that in another post. 🙂

Interested in Surrogate Partner Therapy, check out the information on the front page and then schedule a call.

Why Human Connection?

I’m often reminded of the power of human connection. Today it was while watching Andrew Tatarsky, from the Center of Optimum Living in New York, speaking with Gabor Mate, both powerhouses in the world of harm reduction and addiction.

I met Andrew Tatarsky while attending the PsychNetworker in 2019. It was also when I was able to see Gabor Mate present on using plant medicine in therapy. There was a major overlap between the two sessions – our society is hurting from childhood wounds. Today’s conversation brought the same message.

When you think of trauma, you likely think of big, ugly events. But what if trauma wasn’t the event but what our body did with the event. In all actuality, trauma doesn’t have to come from something bad happening to us. Many times it’s as simple as something not happening that should have. (This is summarized from Gabor Mate) Think neglect.

Many forms of parenting, often thought as healthy, can lead to longterm detrimental effects. I think of “hands off” parenting and “letting them cry it out”. I was one of those parents with my children. Esentially I was asking my infants to self regulate their nervous system, something we now know is only possible after we learn to co-regulate.

Pause, what is this self-regulation and co-regulation you are speaking of, Michelle?

In simple terms, self-regulation is the “conscious control of thoughts, feelings and behaviors”. Co-regulation is the precursor to self-regulation. We learn how to self-regulate through the nervous system of others. When you can feel safe and seen by another, your nervous system will start to relax and with enough practice, you can learn to better do that on your own. Think of the parent-child relationship. For a more detailed read, check out this blog post. I also love the work of Deb Dana.

Today’s talk was about addiction and the astounding number of people we are losing to overdose. “The question is not why the addiction, but why the pain,” a common mantra of Gabor Mate.

What do we do with the pain? We have to find support or we numb it. Addiction is the numbing. It’s a coping mechanism.

How can we find support that is safe? That’s often a common question. Maybe you live in a toxic household. Maybe you are isolated. Many of us don’t have safe human connection. Who can hold space for you to feel? It’s scary. But until we feel, we will be avoiding it. The only way to avoid it is to numb it. We need to feel the pain.

Talk therapy is a great place to start! We need qualified support. But here is where I can come in. Talk therapy is neck-up work. But what about the rest of our body? I believe in a holistic approach. I’m the body part. Therapist can’t hold their clients. I can.

As a trained listener, I come to our sessions with unconditional positive regard. I start by asking how you’d like to connect. That might look like sitting together and talking until you are comfortable with minimal touch like holding hands or sharing a hug. It might look like more traditional cuddling. I’m there to soothe your nervous system, to support your safety, to hold space for your pain.

In today’s webinar it was said that often times the fundamental traumatic event is not being accepted for who you were in childhood. If it’s that simple, most of had that experience and are likely still carrying it with us.

There is profound healing inside of relationship. That’s my work, to share a safe relationship with my clients that includes nurturing touch and compassion. I provide safe human connection.

Interested in learning more, either as a therapist or a client, let’s connect.

Cuddling and Sex Work – What’s the Connection?

Hi, my name is Michelle and I’m a professional cuddler and a sex worker.

In 2014 I watched the movie The Sessions and had this knowing that I would love to be a surrogate partner, or sex surrogate as it used to be called. It didn’t seem like it was in my future but I felt it might be something I’d be good at. I shrugged it off, still looking for what I wanted to do for this next chapter of my life.

At the end of 2015 I chose to be trained as a professional cuddler and became a Cuddlist Certified Practitioner. Wouldn’t you know it, in 2018 I circled back around and started training as a surrogate partner. It made sense. The work I was doing as a professional cuddler could easily be surrogate partner work, just with a different set of boundaries. As a professional cuddler I was supporting my clients in experiencing safety and secure attachment. I was thrilled to add surrogate partner to my offerings.

Being a surrogate partner, I proudly identify as a sex worker. I’m also very aware that I have a lot of privilege. I’m open about my work because I feel safe enough to do so. I’m a white, cis, mid-40s female and I feel safe. My work as a surrogate partner is protected a bit too, as I work in a triadic model with a therapist and the client. You can learn more about the ethics and legalities here.

I support the decriminalization of consensual sex work.

Here’s a video I made with my colleague Keeley Shoup.

Learning to Love Yourself

Today I took a question from my sister. She wanted to know how her friend can learn to love herself better? She wanted to know if I had any podcast or book suggestions? First, I needed more information. Once I had a better understanding of her friend’s background, my suggestions came quick.

Three Questions to Love Yourself

  1. How are your boundaries? You might say you don’t have any boundaries. Or maybe you think your boundaries are great. You might not know how to know if your boundaries are good. That’s ok. A pretty simple question: “Do you find yourself often feeling angry in similar situations?” If that’s a yes, you’ve likely got some boundary issues and some work to do. Loving yourself requires boundaries. (Psst… I can help with that.)

2. Are you living authentically? When I was married, I battled with depression. I honestly didn’t know who I was. When the marriage ended and I got to explore Michelle 2.0 what was really evident was that I was not living authentically. I filtered my life for the comfort of the people around me and that didn’t make me very happy. Was that me loving myself? No. To love yourself you must be yourself.

3. Are you regularly asking yourself what you want right now? Maybe a first step is to ask yourself what you NEED right now? Seriously. Start a new habit to stop and ask yourself, “Self, what do you need right now?” and then give yourself that need. Transition into asking what you want when it feels like the right time. It’s funny how we’ve been taught that needs are essential and wants are frivolous. They aren’t frivolous. It’s ok to ask for what we want! Many times we walk through our lives compromising and never even needing to know what we want. We’ve silenced our voice, probably since childhood. To love yourself is to hear yourself.

Recommended Reading to Love Yourself

In the case of my sister’s friend, I learned that her friend likes to be in control of everything. That was the key phrase I picked up on in everything I read. I knew right away that the first stop was to suggest The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. When we are afraid of being imperfect, we are battling shame. Read the book! It’s good. Then… go ahead and keep reading through all of Brene’s books. I did it. It was a good choice. If you’d like the order I read them in, I’m happy to share. Shoot me an email at michelle@humanconnectioncoach.com.

"Every time you're given a choice between disappointing someone else and disappointing yourself, your duty is to disappoint that someone else. Your job, throughout your entire life, is to disappoint as many people as it takes to avoid disappointing yourself." 
- Glennon Doyle

THAT's how you love yourself!
“Every time you’re given a choice between disappointing someone else and disappointing yourself, your duty is to disappoint that someone else. Your job, throughout your entire life, is to disappoint as many people as it takes to avoid disappointing yourself.” – Glennon Doyle

THAT’s how you love yourself!

Next, because I just think everyone should read this book, I want to recommend Untamed by Glennon Doyle. While it’s definitely written for women, there are lessons for everyone in this book. BURN THOSE SOCIAL MEMOS!!!! It’s been my favorite read since COVID halted my life. I started my untaming process 6 years ago and I still needed to read this book. I listened to it on Audible and then bought the hard cover because I wanted to be able to loan it out to my clients.

Learning to love yourself is a process. You are a work in progress.

Interested in working together to learn to love yourself? Let’s connect!

Michelle (she/her), based in the Baltimore area, offers human connection coaching ranging from cuddle therapy to surrogate partner therapy (sexual surrogacy).  While Michelle is not a sex therapist, she is a sex geek, experienced in kink/BDSM, polyamory and other relationship structures.  Your weird isn’t weird to her.  In her world,  you’re normal.

Are you too much?

Are you too much? Do you hear: “You’re too much”? Whether it be at work or in a relationship, hearing you’re too much is devastating.

I want to introduce you to the Sinha Intensive/Expansive Framework and tell you that you aren’t too much. Go take this quiz. Read the book. Consider some coaching with Leela Sinha, the framework’s creator.

I met Leela at Sex Geek Summer Camp in the summer of 2015. By the summer of 2016 Leela was touring with their new book You’re Not Too Much. My community, then in West Michigan, was fortunate to participate in a couple of get-togethers with Leela, to learn more about the book just before it’s launch.

Once I was able to get the book in my hands, I gobbled it up. (If you’ve taken the test linked above you’ll understand when I say I’m an 8.) It was maybe the first time I felt like my “too much” was a gift. I gained a lot of self-acceptance reading You’re Not Too Much. I think you will too, if the phrase resonates with you.

Not too much? Then I think you’ll find the Sinha Intensive/Expansive Framework a great tool to add to your intrapersonal toolbox for maintaining relationships.

Are you too much? I’d love to hear from you! Comment below or let’s connect.

Are you interested in more of my book recommendations, check back. I’ll make a list!

Michelle (she/her), based in the Baltimore area, offers human connection coaching ranging from cuddle therapy to surrogate partner therapy (sexual surrogacy).  While Michelle is not a sex therapist, she is a sex geek, experienced in kink/BDSM, polyamory and other relationship structures.  Your weird isn’t weird to her.  In her world,  you’re normal.

Michelle (she/her), based in the Baltimore area, offers human connection coaching ranging from cuddle therapy to surrogate partner therapy (sexual surrogacy).  While Michelle is not a sex therapist, she is a sex geek, experienced in kink/BDSM, polyamory and other relationship structures.  Your weird isn’t weird to her.  In her world,  you’re normal.

“Can I be fully healed?”

Can we be fully healed? That’s a good question! First, I want to declare that we aren’t broken. We are managing with life circumstances. We can learn new tools, create a new future, and we can process old trauma. Is that “healed”? I think so.

Covid has given me some precious time to do a lot of reading (I’ll share my reading list soon in another post) and to watch videos, movies, series, etc.  While I have spent some time on guilty pleasures like Tiger King, I’ve spent a fair amount of time feeding my knowledge banks. 

Right before the shelter-at-home started, my partner introduced me to a twitch streamer named Dr K, The Healthy Gamer GG.  Dr. K is a Harvard Psychiatrist who has built a library of interviews with gamers, coaching them around mental health.  While the videos are LONG, I haven’t watched one and not learned something about myself.  

Last weekend I listened to this episode below (and I’m sharing at the point I find most interesting though I highly recommend listening to the entire episode) and when I heard this shared portion, I knew I needed to amplify Dr. K’s voice, this part specifically.  

Take a listen:

Dr K shares the 5 layers of being:

  • Physical
  • Energetic
  • Emotional
  • Intellectual
  • Spiritual

When asked if he can be healed from C-PTSD, Dr. K demonstrates the 5 layers of being and helps us understand how those different layers experience healing.  If you’ve worked through mental illness, you will probably have an ah-ha moment watching this clip.  

Can I be fully healed?  Dr K's final notes from the video, breaking down some of the diagnoses and treatments and how they correspond to the 5 layers of self.
Dr K’s final notes from the video, breaking down some of the diagnosises and treatments and how they correspond to the 5 layers of self.

“How does this play into my work?” is a question I often ask myself when I watch The Healthy Gamer.  In this episode, it became very clear that my work, inviting clients to experience secure attachment, definitely supports the spiritual layer. That the loudest connection for me. But what if we go further, looking at all 5 layers. Here’s my quick analysis:

Physical: Relaxation, Address skin hunger

Energetic: Co-Regulation

Emotional: Safe space to identify feelings, Feel emotional intimacy

Intellectual: Learning communication and boundary skills so you can create the life you want

Spiritual: Secure attachment, Experiencing safety and worth

That was 3 minutes to quickly see how we can address each layer in our work together. I could definitely explore this deeper.   

I also love that he said that strength in at least one of these areas creates resilience. <3

I invite you to share your comments below.  I’d love to hear how this video landed on you?  Had you heard of Dr. K’s work with the gamer world?  Do you know someone you could share his work with?  Personally, I’ve integrated these videos into my son’s schoolwork.  I think we could all stand to learn more about mental health.  

Interested in working together? Fill out my contact form.

Michelle (she/her), based in the Baltimore area, offers human connection coaching ranging from cuddle therapy to surrogate partner therapy (sexual surrogacy).  While Michelle is not a sex therapist, she is a sex geek, experienced in kink/BDSM, polyamory and other relationship structures.  Your weird isn’t weird to her.  In her world,  you’re normal.

Michelle (she/her), based in the Baltimore area, offers human connection coaching ranging from cuddle therapy to surrogate partner therapy (sexual surrogacy).  While Michelle is not a sex therapist, she is a sex geek, experienced in kink/BDSM, polyamory and other relationship structures.  Your weird isn’t weird to her.  In her world,  you’re normal.

Upcoming Sightings! (Where to find me at upcoming conferences)

I’m stealing a few minutes to post my first blog post in a long time, and the first one on this site. I’m headed to Burbank, California for Sex Positive Con EARLY Friday morning. I’ll be presenting with my friend and colleague, Yoni Alkan, DHS. We will be presenting “Professional Cuddling as a Peacemaking Tool in the Gender Wars” on Saturday. I hope to see you there!

In March I’ll be attending the Psychnetworker Symposium in Washington, DC as a representative of Cuddlist.com. Look for a purple Cuddlist tshirt and my curly hair! This will be my second year attending and I’m so excited to go back. Last year was wonderful but this year I’m actually local and this will be a great opportunity to network with therapists and counselors in my area.

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Cuddlist is so excited to have representatives attending the 2020 Psychotherapy Networker Symposium​ (March 19-22) hosted by @psychnetworker in Washington, DC again this year! Madelon Guinaazzo, our Co-Founder and Director of Training, with Michelle Renee, our Director of Operations, will continue to introduce our services to the therapy world while attending workshops with speakers like Bryan Stevenson, Tara Brach​, Peter A Levine, PhD​, Esther Perel​, Lori Gottlieb​, Dr. Dan Siegel​, Dr. Sue Johnson​ Dick Schwartz​, Alfiee Breland-Noble, Bessel van der Kolk plus so many others. Learn more about how Cuddlist sessions can compliment therapy: https://cuddlist.com/for-therapists/ #pns2020

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Know of any conferences in the Washington, DC/ Baltimore/ Philadelphia areas that I might be interested in attending? Email me at michelle@humanconnectioncoach.com and let me know!

Michelle (she/her), based in the Baltimore area, offers human connection coaching ranging from cuddle therapy to surrogate partner therapy (sexual surrogacy).  While Michelle is not a sex therapist, she is a sex geek, experienced in kink/BDSM, polyamory and other relationship structures.  Your weird isn’t weird to her.  In her world,  you’re normal.

Michelle (she/her), based in the Baltimore area, offers human connection coaching ranging from cuddle therapy to surrogate partner therapy (sexual surrogacy).  While Michelle is not a sex therapist, she is a sex geek, experienced in kink/BDSM, polyamory and other relationship structures.  Your weird isn’t weird to her.  In her world,  you’re normal.