Surrogate Partner Therapy (SPT) 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 it assists clients in later generalizing skills that will serve them in future relationships.
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 the Surrogate Partner once a week. The Surrogate Partner and therapist also consult weekly to discuss the client’s treatment and progress. The involvement of an engaged Supervising Therapist is central to Surrogate Partner Therapy. It is an absolute requirement of this work.
In interacting with a Surrogate Partner the client engages in experiential learning—structured and unstructured experiences in relaxation, communication, sensual and sexual touch, and social skills—designed to build self-awareness, reduce performance anxiety, and resolve long standing difficulties with intimacy and sexuality. The roles and boundaries of the surrogate are distinct from those of the therapist.
Therapists talk with clients. Surrogate Partners talk and touch.
Among other issues, SPT addresses inexperience, late life virginity, body image, performance anxiety, inhibited orgasm, diminished desire, erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, vaginismus, shame, disassociation, pleasure avoidance, and physical impairment/disability-related concerns. If that sounds a bit clinical, know that Surrogate Partner Therapy is also deeply transformative. It involves playful sensuality, erotic exploration, and the creation of a genuine (if transitional) intimate relationship. It can, and generally does, lead to life-altering confidence, self-awareness, and self-acceptance for the client.
My name is Kristin Casey but everyone calls me KC. I’ve spent most of my life in Southern California and Central Texas (with a few years of globetrotting wanderlust in my 20s). I attended the University of Texas at Austin but am mostly self-educated, driven by passionate curiosity about human nature in the areas of sexuality, psychology, and spirituality.
I completed my training with the International Professional Surrogates Association in May 2016 (a 100-hour didactic and experiential course of study), followed by a 2 year IPSA-Supervised Internship. Previous to that was 20 years experience in related fields of physical and emotional intimacy (and one decade selling residential Real Estate). At age 50 I had my first book published (Rock Monster, an addiction memoir, Rare Bird books, 2018). Currently I’m single and self-employed as an intimacy coach and writer.
My wait list for SPT extends through August, 2020. If your need is more immediate I recommend contacting IPSA for a qualified referral.
My approach as a Surrogate Partner is one of respect, compassion, patience, and openness. I’m not afraid of intense emotions and I like complicated people. I have a nonjudgmental, emotionally generous nature and I understand people intuitively. I’m told I have a gift for making people feel good about themselves, but it's really a gift for seeing people clearly. I zero in on a person’s best qualities, then help them see those qualities in themselves. I offer a safe space and loving heart for clients to be their authentic selves, accepted and appreciated for who they really are.
I believe intimacy makes life worth living and that isolation can be a form of torture.
For many years I struggled to accept and express my authentic self. I am familiar with the pain of emotional isolation, and fear and anxiety around emotional vulnerability. The self-acceptance and serenity I’ve found were in part due to wise mentors who made this journey before me. They didn’t just hand me a map; they walked beside me and illuminated the way. I have great compassion for others on that path and it’s an honor to be of service in their healing.
Oct 2019, Kristin Casey
What is a typical SPT session like?
Every session is different. SPT is a progression of structured and unstructured exercises, meant to give the client hands-on experience that parallels the progression of a traditional relationship. In that vein, you can expect a “getting to know you” phase (the first session), in which I’ll ask many questions about your life and personal history, as well as answer your questions to better know me. From there, the core of the work is “sensate focus”—a mindful awareness of the body and way of touching and being touched that is of a non-demand nature, meant for pleasure versus performance. There may be breathing and verbal exercises. There is a hand caress, face caress, foot bath, etc. As sessions progress they encompass a gradual increase in sensuality and sexuality, always with the client's well-being and comfort level in mind. Pacing and activities are tailored to the individual needs of the client.
What if I don’t want to work with a therapist, but solely with a Surrogate Partner?
All true Surrogate Partners work solely with clients and their therapist. If you don’t already have a therapist, I can recommend one in Austin or Houston. And if you have questions about the triadic process (or anything else), I’m happy to provide information to help you reach an informed decision that honors your therapeutic needs.
How long does it take?
SPT can be expected to last 3-6 months, or longer. We meet every 1-2 weeks for 2 hour sessions. Some Surrogate Partners are available for 10-12 day intensives—a condensed program for clients who don’t have a SP in their area. Intensives usually entail meeting 3 hours every day, either in your area (the SP travels to you) or the area where your Surrogate Partner lives (you travel to them). I am not available for SPT intensives.
Is it just for men?
SPT is available to male and female clients of all sexual orientations, with Surrogate Partners of either gender. Some clients, particularly with histories of trauma, may choose to work with a same-sex surrogate who acts as a role model rather than intimate partner. I work primarily with straight men, though I am open to female clients, LGBTQ, intersex, and all genders & sexualities.
What does it cost?
My rate is $200 per hour. Session length is two hours ($400) every week or other week. Expect the series to last 3-6 months or longer if necessary.
Where are you located?
I have a cozy, comfortable studio in central Austin.
When can we start?
I have a waiting list and am currently unavailable through July 2020. (You may contact IPSA for a list of available surrogates.)
What is the benefit of IPSA training?
The International Professional Surrogates Association (IPSA) is the only professional training and certifying body for Surrogate Partners in the US. They adhere to a strict Code of Ethics, rigorous course of study, and the highest level of integrity.
Are you IPSA certified?
I was an IPSA supervised Surrogate Partner intern for 2 years following completion of their rigorous 100 hour training course (in May 2016). I eventually declined IPSA’s offer of full certification based on a difference of opinion about unrelated marketing materials for my coaching practice. While I chose to forego official IPSA certification I met every requirement including 100% positive evaluations from my IPSA mentor and Supervising Therapists. I’m grateful for my time under their stellar tutelage and supervision. I am and always have been committed to standards of ethics, integrity, skill, and continuing eduction as high as, or even higher than IPSA’s.
What is the role of a Surrogate Partner and their relationship to the therapist?
The role of a SP is multidimensional. Primarily, they are a genuine—if transitional—partner engaging in authentic emotional and physical intimacy, enabling the client to progress and build on a foundation of positive experiences. The SP is also a coach, guide, mentor, role model, and facilitator of healing. Much like a physical therapist who works in conjunction with a surgeon to help repair and strengthen injured/impaired areas, Surrogate Partners engage in hands-on experiential exercises that strengthen and heal areas the client is simultaneously addressing with the therapist.
An effective SP is intelligent, self-aware, empathetic, accepting, and emotionally and sexually open. They tend to have histories in the helping professions (teaching, nursing, massage, psychology, etc.) and feel called to do this work. During SPT they practice full disclosure with the therapist, having thorough and informative discussions regarding the client's patterns, habits, and issues. They don’t presume to take on the therapist's role, yet are open and honest with opinions regarding treatment in the best interests of their shared client.
Is SPT legal?
While I encourage consulting on the issue with your professional organization, I can tell you there are currently no laws regulating Surrogate Partner Therapy and no surrogacy case has every gone to court. SPT is not prohibited in any state and it is widely used and accepted in California and other places.