In this exclusive MysticMag interview, delve into the world of dating and intimacy coaching with Kristin Casey, a seasoned expert and Surrogate Partner. Unveiling her personal journey of overcoming fear of intimacy after conquering addiction, Kristin shares a decade-long quest that transformed her perception of vulnerability, authenticity, and boundaries. As a beacon of inspiration, she imparts profound insights into fostering genuine connections, eradicating emotional isolation, and the holistic approach she employs in her coaching sessions. Kristin’s unique blend of experiential counseling, hands-on techniques, and her commitment to sacred intimacy make this interview a compelling exploration of healing, transformation, and the power of authentic connection.
Can you share a bit about your background and what inspired a career in intimacy coaching?
I’ve always been fascinated by intimate connection—whether emotional, sexual, or both at the same time—but it wasn’t until I got clean and sober at age 29 that I realized I didn’t personally know how to forge connections very well without drugs and alcohol. Once I decided to quit relying on substances to lower my inhibitions and muffle my insecurities, I began a decade long quest to overcome fear of intimacy. I had to learn how to flirt, date, have sex, and be in a romantic relationship all over again. I learned to be truly vulnerable with men in a healthy way, meaning I had to accept the possibility of rejection in romantic encounters, while still putting my authentic self out there to be truly seen by my partner. It was scary and exciting, and in the end a lot of work!
Every time I put my genuine self out there, risking rejection by a guy I really liked and wanted to partner with, I was teaching myself how to live in an open hearted way. And once I was able to let men see the real me, I was automatically able to see them in all their authentic beauty. I learned that being vulnerable wasn’t something to fear but instead something that could actually be my greatest strength. Once I learned how to be vulnerable, and thus authentic, I had to learn how to set boundaries in my relationships—another totally new concept to this once severe alcoholic addict and co-dependent.
That journey of learning vulnerability, authenticity, and boundaries, took me 10 or more years. But it was life changing, because once you can genuinely connect with others in a profound and healthy way it’s impossible to feel emotionally isolated. My lifelong depression disappeared as did my dependence on former crutches, from alcohol to binge eating to shopping and spending money (because even in sobriety, over time I had them all).
Anyway, at that point I toyed with the idea of becoming a sex therapist, as a way of helping others who were going through the same journey, but decided that simply talking about issues was less interesting than the type of experiential, hands-on counselling I can do as a coach. Right as I launched my dating and intimacy coaching practice I got trained in a similar modality called Surrogate Partner Therapy, giving me the tools to work with clients who have deep-seated, longstanding issues from past physical &/or sexual trauma.
What are some common challenges people face when it comes to intimacy, and how do you help them overcome these challenges?
Clients come to me for a variety of issues around dating, sex, and intimacy, so I have a variety of exercises covering a wide swath of territory.
In the dating arena, clients frequently need to know how to build a dating profile, initiate conversation, use and interpret body language, make the first move, kiss, text, express their feelings in healthy ways, and understand and respect their partners’ boundaries.
Going deeper with my intimacy coaching clients, I work with issues along the lines of performance anxiety, pleasure avoidance, lack of sexual experience and skills, unreliable erections, porn dependant erections, premature ejaculation, delayed ejaculation, and sometimes a general sense of dissociation. Again, it’s a wide swath of symptoms, largely stemming from performance anxiety and fear of intimacy.
Most importantly, the work I do in session is experiential, meaning we physically go through the motions of being a couple on a date, so that my clients can literally experience their anxieties come up in session with me, as a way of learning to overcome them in real time. It’s a process of desensitization, much like taking an acrophobic to the edge of a tall building, little by little, to help them overcome their debilitating fear of heights.
Of course for some clients there is a medical component, in which case I can give helpful advice and a list of qualified physicians. But even when a client’s ED is partially due to blood flow issues or low T, very often there are mental or emotional factors contributing to its severity—which is where my coaching comes in.
Could you explain what surrogate partner therapy is and how it can benefit individuals or couples?
Surrogate Partner Therapy is an adjunct modality within the field of sex therapy. Rooted in the work of Masters & Johnson, it is a unique form of therapy addressing issues of physical and emotional intimacy. It is diagnostic, therapeutic, and authentically intimate, modeling an actual relationship experience within the safe container of a caring, therapeutic setting. In this way is it much like my intimacy coaching sessions.
It’s different from intimacy coaching in that the SPT process is highly structured and the pace is far slower than I tend to use for intimacy coaching. (For example, I see coaching clients for 1-6 sessions usually, but SPT clients for 12-15 sessions.) But the biggest difference is that a Surrogate Partner works in a triadic relationship with a client and the client’s therapist. The client meets with their therapist once a week, as well as me once a week. Then the therapist and I also consult weekly to discuss the client’s treatment and progress. The inclusion of a licensed therapist is vital to the process of Surrogate Partner Therapy.
Do you believe in a holistic approach to intimacy, including physical, emotional, and spiritual elements? How do you incorporate these aspects into your coaching?
I do have a holistic approach to intimacy. I work in a very heart-centered way, genuinely connecting with my clients through talking and touching.
We start with a free, 30-60 minute phone call, during which I really dig into the client’s current concerns and relevant backstory. On that call I also share details about how I work, what their first session might be like, and my early thoughts on what might be causing and perpetuating their issues. I find most clients relax significantly during that call, to the point they go from anxious and pessimistic about their chances of improving, to eager and excited to meet in person to work together.
Once we’re in session we spend 3-4 hours together. In that time we do more talking, but there’s also a lot of emotional connection and physical touch taking place. Experiential coaching means the client goes through the experience he needs help with, while in session—so we don’t just talk about his experiences & issues around dating, sex, and intimacy. We actually recreate certain scenarios partly as a way to bring up issues he’s dealing with (whether that’s social anxiety, performance anxiety, sexual dysfunction, or whatever). Since most of my clients are experiencing issues around emotional connection and their sexual response to physical touch, that is what they experience in session with me.
And yes, this does mean that sexual intimacy is part of my counselling, particularly when I’m doing Surrogate Partner Therapy.
As for spiritual, I think all authentic connection is spiritual and I genuinely connect with my clients, emotionally, physically, and sexually. There’s a reason the type of work I do falls under the heading of “sacred intimacy”—which is defined as a way of approaching erotic pleasure as healing, transformative soul work. Sacred Intimates are professionals who help others access the joy and power of erotic energy. It is a career and a calling. We teach the technologies of ecstasy.
Are there any practical exercises or techniques you often recommend for fostering intimacy?
The most foundational exercise I teach clients who are learning to get out of their heads (where anxiety lives) and into their bodies (where pleasure and presence live), is a touching technique called Sensate Focus. Designed by Masters and Johnson, Sensate Focus is very effective at reducing performance anxiety and helping clients shift from goal-oriented sexual patterns that are interfering with their natural pleasure and arousal response. This type of “mindful touching” is done in gradual stages and eventually leads to a greater experience of mutual pleasure than the standard, mechanical, orgasm-focused genital stimulation that too often passes for sexual connection.
To learn more or connect with Kristin visit: