Stella Resnick, PhD,
is a clinical psychologist, author, speaker, and AASECT-certified sex therapist and supervisor. She practices in Beverly Hills, Calif. Dr. Resnick’s Full-Spectrum Training integrates couples and sex therapy. Her most recent book is The Heart of Desire: Keys to the Pleasures of Love.
Embodied intimacy is the body-to-body intersubjective connection between parent and infant that shapes the brain and grows secure children, underlies the affection between mates, and arouses erotic lovers. Research shows that many of the vital qualities of nonverbal communication shared by intimates are necessary elements in the therapeutic alliance. Therapist attunement to the client’s facial, vocal, and body language in the present moment (and whose own body reflects empathy and understanding) is more critical for client growth than psychotherapeutic orientation.
Much emphasis in couples’ enrichment focuses on verbal communication, particularly articulating feelings and mending bridges. Yet subtle nonverbal communications can elicit unresolved past emotions in a nanosecond without either partner recognizing that their facial micro-expressions, vocal tones, and gestures are triggers. Being in touch with your bodily sensations and attuned to the other’s reactions involve present-centered body awareness and skills that can help partners heal old wounds and enjoy the pleasures of love.