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The Short Version: Nearly a decade ago, Celeste and Danielle revolutionized how people can improve their relationships and sex lives with the development of the Somatica Method. Their technique goes beyond the traditional realms of sex and relationship therapy by offering an interactive, experiential approach grounded in modern neuroscience that transforms unhealthy emotions and dysfunctions into self-assurance and improved sexual interactions. Through private coaching, couples workshops, and an extensive storehouse of resources on their website, Celeste and Danielle are empowering people to unearth their authentic selves and nurture open, loving, and sexually fulfilling relationships.
“Celeste, I think you saved my life.”
These were the words uttered to Celeste Hirschman by her client who had struggled to engage with women his entire life because of his disability. Celeste’s client had never been intimate with a woman before and had no idea how to approach dating and forming connections. Through her unique and effective style of sex and relationship coaching, Celeste was able to help.
“He’s learning to be physical even though he has impairments,” Celeste said. “It has been profound to see him blossom and accept his body as it is and put himself out there in the dating world. It’s been really beautiful to work with him.”
In 2009, Celeste, along with Co-Founder Danielle Harel, developed the Somatica Method to help people, like Celeste’s client, overcome obstacles impeding intimacy, loving relationships, and healthy sex lives. And, through their thriving therapeutic practice in the San Francisco Bay Area and the vast resource bank on CelesteAndDanielle.com, they’re doing just that.
Celeste and Danielle’s approach goes beyond traditional sex therapy models that stop when couples are having average sex. The Somatica Method aims to coach people into having amazing sex. The highly trained sexologists draw from their rich educational backgrounds to provide hands-on counseling that gets to the heart of the issues people are having. This allows Celeste and Danielle to provide personalized experiences for their clients and put them on the path to enjoying all that relationships and sexuality offer.
After meeting at a conference at the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, Celeste and Danielle decided to attend another sexuality conference together. Over lunch, they dreamed up a class that would bring together all their therapeutic wisdom, with their individual experiences, and unique learning around sex and relationships.
That’s when Celeste and Danielle devised the Somatica Method, bridging the worlds of talk therapy and science-based learning techniques to form something Celeste calls “experiential education.”
“Celeste and I determined there was a big missing piece in the industry in terms of coaching and therapy,” Danielle said. “There wasn’t an approach that was both therapeutic and educational, and that’s what we wanted to create.”
According to Danielle, only so much can be learned from talking about sex and relationships. People actually need to practice to learn how to share emotions and connect with someone in an authentic way.
An essential part of this experiential method involves allowing individuals to understand what arouses them, what they desire, and how to fulfill their passions. Somatica celebrates individuality and explores ways in which people can have their desires met.
Celeste and Danielle encourage couples to both communicate their wants, and practice empathy and acceptance toward each other when they share their feelings. In person, by Skype, and through intensive weekend retreats, Celeste and Danielle coach individuals and couples how to attain the Holy Grail of an exciting, sexually fulfilling relationship by first being true to themselves and then working to meet their needs and those of their partner if they have one.
Going to a sex and relationship coach when you’re single may be the best gift you can give yourself. You learn about your sexuality, your desires, and how to communicate them to future mates. All people are not created sexually equal, so Celeste and Danielle treat each client as a unique being and customize their experience to the particular needs of the individual.
Men and women, too, have different things they seek when it comes to dating and attracting a partner. Celeste and Danielle most often help men learn a few critical skills when relating to those they are looking to date. Men are often coached to be resilient around rejection. They also train men on how to talk on the first date, how to initiate the first touch, and how to know when someone wants to be kissed.
“We help men pay attention to women’s boundaries,” Celeste said, “but we teach them to be successful and know when to initiate intimacy.”
Celeste and Danielle find that women often tend to turn a few dates into short, unsatisfying relationships. That’s why they coach women to play the field a bit to see what’s out there rather than jumping into the first potential relationship that presents itself. Their goal is to make women feel comfortable with dating and being sexual with more than one person at a time.
“Women often justify sex with love — falling in love too easily with the first person they have sex with and then consolidating monogamy as quickly as possible” Celeste said. “But it’s good for them to cast a wide net and date for a while, try out different partners to see who they feel really connected with over time.”
Danielle told us the cultural phenomena of slut shaming may be preventing women from doing this, as they are discouraged from actively seeking intimacy with multiple partners.
Celeste and Danielle also serve the LGBTQ community. They have specialty coaching sessions that help gay, bi, and questioning men explore their desires as they relate to giving and receiving passion from another man. Lesbian and bisexual women also have a program designed to help them create pleasurable, romantic, and erotic connections with another woman.
Finding love isn’t easy, and maintaining love can be even harder. Celeste and Danielle work with couples on a host of issues to help them reconnect, communicate better, and enjoy deeper sexual relationships. They work with couples on how to keep sex hot after it may have cooled down, how to communicate emotionally when times are challenging, and how to unearth their lover’s turn-ons.
Celeste and Danielle guide couples through tricky waters like overcoming an infidelity. Rather than focusing on the shame of the affair, they zero in on why it happened and use that to uncover unmet needs of both partners. They have coached numerous couples back from the brink of what might have been a relationship-ending affair to a place where couples can be more transparent with each other and themselves. This leads couples to a greater sense of vulnerability and acceptance between them.
Celeste and Danielle also help couples through other common relationship issues like how to avoid cheating, how to jump-start the spark in a sexless marriage, and how to expand their sexual repertoire. In couple’s sex and relationship counseling, couples learn how to communicate in a way that invites deeper love and meaning into their relationship.
Couples also learn how to share their deepest fantasies, which can be scary for some. This is why Celeste and Danielle create a safe and accepting space for couples to feel empowered to share their feelings free from judgment. From there, couples learn how to bridge desires and discover ways to experience a fulfilling sexual connection based on openness and honesty.
Celeste and Danielle aim to expand their efforts of helping people by bringing some of their successful workshops back. They plan to offer programs for clients who are looking for sex and relationship coaching, and for those who wish to become clinical practitioners of the Somatica Method.
In Celeste and Danielle’s Introductory Workshop, attendees can get a taste of what the Somatica Method could do for them personally and professionally.
The accepting and warm environment allows participants to learn about the emotional, interpersonal, and erotic tools they need to grow intimately with themselves and with a partner. Participants explore various themes in the workshops, including “The Power of Selfness,” which teaches people how to get in touch with who they are and what they want. “The Joy of Connecting” helps participants find ways to work with others to learn how to forge deeper relationships. Another effective subject, “The Pleasure of Erotic Relating,” gets attendees to learn how to voice and share their own eroticism.
Celeste and Danielle also offer a comprehensive six-month training for professionals or people interested in a full-immersion into personal growth. In the Somatica Method Core Training, students learn to be coaches in the Somatica Method as well as how to employ Somatica for their own personal or professional use. The training covers embodiment, attachment, individuation, sexual desire and arousal, women’s and men’s sexuality, and how to have successful long-term relationships.
In four five-day modules, students learn how to find, voice, and explore their authentic sexuality and relationships skills and help others do the same. They also gain an amazing community of sex-positive friend and colleagues whose connections extend far beyond the course.
Celeste and Danielle are looking forward to bringing more people to healthy and satisfying sexual connections. The duo will soon be starting a blog series about sexy transformational stories from their coaching rooms and exploring ideas for another book. It’s easy to see why they’re so passionate about their work. They really are saving lives.
“It’s amazing to go to work and know that you’ve changed people’s lives,” Danielle said. “It’s incredibly rewarding.”