Hola Sober OCTOBER

RE B EK A H SUNSHINE OUR NEW HOL A SO B ER C OLUMNIST I am a Cognitive Behavioural and Recovery Coach who specialises in working with people who have secrets or concerns of a sexual, erotic, sensual, relational or deeply private nature. Different people have different reasons for contacting me; it can range from relationship problems to fetish explorations, from feeling isolated and disconnected, from having it all but still wanting more, from insecurities about sexual prowess or education, sex/porn/love addiction to fantasies and behaviours. From a background in Sociology and Fine Art, for nearly 30 years I have been exploring identity, self expression and the psycho-social politics of repression and suppression; I have been asking the question "What do we show? What do we hide? and Who gets to decide?". This led me, to undertake a photography project with people who have secret Kink or Sex lives. Working with this group it became clear that there was a need for specific research, understanding and therapeutic support as many of them felt unable to access the usual avenues of help and when they did it felt unsatisfactory. With this in mind, I started to train as a Counsellor with a view to progress onto Sex Therapy.

However many individuals who were reaching out to me expressed that they needed a different approach and a different therapeutic relationship; one that was more Coaching than Counselling. Thus after completing the initial stages of counselling training, I switched to Integrative - Cognitive Behavioural Coaching coupled with various CPD certificates that were specific to the needs of the client group. Over the last 5 years, I have developed an Integrative methodology which includes the specific nuanced elements especially focusing on those who have a recognised embodied, sensual, behavioural element to their sexual desire, drive and actions. I have been offered a place at Robert Gordon University, Scotland (start Feb 2022) to undertake a PhD, exploring the therapeutic benefits of this methodology with clients in relation to their compulsive, fetish and/or secret activities.

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