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Bounded Chaos.

In my work as both sex + trauma and ketamine-assisted therapist, I have the honour of getting to witness individuals in some of their most vulnerable states. The fear arises when they’ve never told a single soul a story they are about to say to me. Times when they’d be trembling on the couch, afraid that what they did or what they thought or felt would impact my judgment about them + threaten our therapeutic relationship. Sometimes clients clench, sometimes their eyes avoid mine, sometimes they fidget, sometimes they break into tears. Still, they lean into the fear + share, feel, and express. And they are held. By me, not physically, but with my unwavering presence + compassion.


Then I watch their nervous systems settle, their breathing regulate, their eyes finding mine, and a sigh escaping their lungs. All signs that they feel safe again.

While this may appear to be a simple solution to their doing, there are many technical skills I’m consciously achieving to foster depth in their surrender + resulting release.


I’m not saying words to bring them out of their discomfort. I’m not minimizing or bypassing their pain with some spiritual antidote like “it all has a purpose,” “they will be okay in the end,” or “it’s okay.”


I think many people go into a response of comforting them to make them “feel safe” again. Maybe “save” them from pain by calming them down or shifting out of the so-called negative emotion. Partially, I think this is a cultural issue where we’ve labelled specific emotions as bad + now have this internal agenda to eliminate them as soon as possible. As a result, we’ve become less equipped to tolerate distress + discomfort.

The client does not FEEL safe. By the definition of vulnerability--there is the potential for harm. In this case, we can see the evidence of the client not FEELING safe by their tremors, tears, eye contact avoidance, or fidgeting.


The container of my office or myself IS safe, however. And that is a very different + crucial concept to know + create here.


Lynne Gravell wrote: “This level of containment works to help provide the client with a sense of stability from which a degree of trust must ensue.” This level of containment allows the client to feel feelings and think thoughts that might otherwise be intolerable, too overwhelming, or too frightening to face alone. When the client can feel that the therapist can hold this information + expression without judgment or shame, the client can feel that negative or fearful feelings may become more acceptable + integrated within the person, ultimately helping them to become their container. They can cultivate a greater accessibility to feelings of openness and exploration.


Lucy Felding coined the term “bounded chaos.” + I love this deeply for healing + finding our most profound, richest, most expressed erotic self.


To experience your highest expression of yourself, your fullest potential in sex + eroticism, we need to BE safe to feel the full intensity of energy + feeling. It doesn’t feel safe anytime we lean into the edges of what we’ve known ourselves to be. Testing our kinks out in front of another person doesn't feel safe. It doesn’t feel safe embodying a new persona, trying a new toy, a new power role, or even surrendering to our pleasure + orgasm fully.


But THAT’s the nature of the unknown + the exploration of our being. CHAOS. “What’s going to happen to me?” “How are they going to think of me?” However, if we are safe and a deep part knows this, we can unravel most beautifully. We are meeting a new reference point of deep feeling + expression that we can then integrate.


I see these concepts come to life as my role in holding a safe space for my ketamine-assisted therapy clients. How well the space is held from me determines the depth of which they can unravel + meet breakthroughs.


I also see this as it relates to the art of rope bondage. In bondage, you may not necessarily feel safe as someone is restricting your movements, maybe even restricting your sight with a blindfold; however, with the deep presence, attunement, careful consideration, + encouragement of the person who binds you, you can relax into pleasure or other emotions + feel held. You ARE safe. That is when bondage transforms from simply being technically tied up to energetically erotic.

 

Dr. Cat Meyer, PsyD, LMFT, is a licensed psychotherapist specializing in sex, trauma, and psychedelics in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles. She is also a ceremonialist, author, teacher of yoga, and international speaker dedicated to evolving the relationship surrounding sexuality and our bodies. Through her company, SexLoveYoga, she leads online workshops, sensual retreats, + ketamine-assisted retreats for couples. She is also the host of Sex Love Psychedelics podcast.

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