Category Archives: media

Intimacy & Desire by David Schnarch — Book Review for “Contemporary Sexuality”

JSJ Therapy was recently published in AASECT  “Contemporary Sexuality” with a review of Dr. David Schnarch’s book  Intimacy & Desire: Awaken the Passion in Your Relationship.

Schnarch’s ideas on adult differentiation are often used in our therapy sessions to help clients handle the anxiety of partner’s pressuring with a differing point of view. This most recent book also brings forth the newly structured Differentiation Scale published first in the Journal of Marriage and Family Therapy. The scale is also implemented in session as a measure of couple’s ability to tolerate discomfort for growth’s sake.

You can read a brief excerpt of the December 2011 review on the Highbeam Research site.

As usual, if you are interested in the full review you can contact me and I’d be happy to send you a copy.


Gotta Laugh or Jazzercise!

Sometimes when the stress and pressure of everything makes you want to run away… one of the best things to do is laugh.  Get some perspective, take a step back, breathe, and remember that laughing changes the chemicals in your brain, helps your body ease tension,  you burn calories, and you just all around feel like the world isn’t about to end in a big blizzard.  With all this said, it is important to not take everything so seriously.  Hence, I present you a story and something worthy of laughter.

Soooooo, this girl I know loves to be sarcastic and creative. I think is obviously wonderful as I also love  artsy sarcasm. She knows that I’m on the hunt for office space (which btw… will hopefully be figured out this week!) and suggested that in the move perhaps I should also change my business name from JSJ Therapy to Jazzercise. She is pretty sure that a name change would help in multiple ways. I found this all brilliantly absurd. And sure enough… a wonderful photoshopped image appeared to encourage this name transition for marketing purposes.

What do you think? I bet you laughed! And that is the point… when things are so intense that it is hard to find your center, taking a moment to laugh… really and fully laugh… provides you with more understanding, clarity, and strength. It sounds simple but we often forget in hard times to just allow our hearts, minds, and bodies to find a glimpse of joy.  Go ahead… and laugh, chuckle, giggle, snicker, snort, and smile, because sometimes you just gotta laugh at how crazy it all is!

JSJ Therapy — speaker at WAMFT Conference 2011

JSJ Therapy is proud to announce another presenting engagement at the annual WAMFT conference in April. The two hour workshop topic is:

Sex Positive Therapeutic Approaches to Alternative Sexuality.

This seminar will be providing other therapists with innovative ideas and approaches to working with alt-sex clients. This discussion is expanding off of the many years of work that JSJ Therapy has done with clients to support and encourage growth towards accepting themselves and others within the scope of  love, relationships, and sexuality.

For a brief overview of these ideas you can find them in the CARAS organization website.

I’m looking forward to helping others within the field to better understand and work with alt-sex-clients.

JSJ Therapy in the Media

I’m so proud to be a continual part of CARAS Community Academic Consortium for Research on Alternative Sexualities). The most recent newsletter for the organization is out and Jasmine St. John MS, LMFT has a write up on doing therapy with alt-sex clients from a strengths-based perspective.

You can view the pdf for the article here:   New Approaches to Alternative Sex Therapy (page 3)

Therapy has historically been a confusing and sometimes a contentious subject for individuals involved with alternative sexualities. The medical model approach to alternative sexuality finds its strength in perpetuating societal norms, by defining some behaviors as normal, and normal as healthy. The focus of this therapeutic approach was often directed towards curing the client of so called “pathology” which included  fetishes, kinks, and desires. Needless to say, this approach has negative consequences that discourage people wishing to embrace their non-traditional preferences from seeking out therapy and This medicalmodel approach al so l imi t s , di s suades , or deters opportunities for new developments in thetherapeutic field. Fortunately, there are changes, albeit slow ones, occurring in the field of therapy. These changes have implications for potential clients and therapists alike. (read more)

JSJ Therapy will also be involved with CARAS in research, conference speaking engagements, and educational materials for graduate counseling programs.

JSJ Therapy joins Good Vibrations Sex Education

I was interviewed for the wonderfully sex positive  based group Good Vibrations.

I’m so proud to be a part of their  Sex Educators Organization.  It is an honor to be among such an amazing group of  individuals that care so deeply about advocating, empowering, and supporting sexuality in all its glorious forms.

Conducted by Dr. Charlie Glickman
What led you to become a sex educator?

Looking around, I originally faced an astounding lack of sex positive supports for alt sex practices. Most therapists truly want to help, but hardly any are actually familiar with alternative sexuality. Today, I get to be the one to share authentically with others hoping to speak freely about kinks, fetishes, non-monogamy, sacred sexuality and more.

What kinds of sex education do you offer?

I work with individuals, couples and multiple relationship formations to explore sexuality within full lives. When called upon to speak at conferences (of kink groups, of therapists) or at broader gatherings, I inevitably promote acceptance of alt sex options. My passion is helping others discover sexual identities.

Where did you get your education in sexuality?

Before grad school, I shopped for therapists to process my own experiences with and early ideas on alternative sexuality, and found no one truly confident and interested. So, it became best to just learn psychology much more broadly — and then build a lot of bridges to specific interests on my own. I chose my college, and an associated counseling “school” (systems therapy), as firm foundations for those bridges among decades of really impressive therapeutic experimental results.

Systems therapy is all about smoothly advancing on multiple fronts with each client instead of linear cookie cutter methods. I see much faster results (fewer sessions for more progress) than we could with any one approach. Even in the moments of focusing on alternative sexuality, my therapeutic approach uses many other factors in a person’s life — especially their own strengths.

What do you love about giving sex advice?

It feels amazing to empower each other to live life fully and incorporate sexuality as a part of core being. Even my earliest work revolved around alt sex clients, and naturally incorporating even the wildest fantasies is crucial to my mission.

What is your most common question?

“What exactly IS alternative sexuality?” I answer that it is any form of sexual desires or ideas that aren’t currently considered mainstream.

What is the most difficult or hard-to-answer question you’ve ever received?

“Why do people hate me for my desires?” This question breaks my heart. We all feel such turmoil when treated harshly. It makes me want to build stronger and stronger senses of self.

What is your favorite sex toy or product and why?

I recommend Astroglide, spare parts harnesses, magic wand, cb3000, and good quality leather cuffs/paddles, floggers. It all depends. I find I always recommend  different books as well.

How do you think your website is different from others out there?

I’m automatically different in the regular world of therapists, from the focus on alt sex. Beyond that, most new clients come to me mentioning that my blog seems otherwise honest, smart or unusual. I’m just a real person with a calling and passions for alternatives and acceptance — and I guess that comes through in every medium.

Most unusual panel or experience?

I had been “the therapist” at a number of alt sex conferences…but I could still be surprised to find myself on a public panel spontaneously musing on necrophilia.

What was the most interesting thing you learned in your exploration of sex?

That each one of us truly is a distinctive sexual being — and that its various expressions really tie to so much of how we see ourselves.

How has Good Vibrations helped you?

GV is great for my clients because it is so open about sexuality. GV seriously promotes acceptance of alt sex . GV’s simple existence on the net and at conferences does so much for the community in general. In our local community, I know GV takes roles in helping presenters, podcasts, and conferences provide explorations of products and ideas.

What would be your number one piece of advice for someone interested in a career of sex education?

Be authentic to your own passion. You’re probably drawn to this field precisely because you feel it crucial to speak from a place of real honesty and truth: so, if you are going to go into this field, know that plenty of others will dislike you for exploring threatening ideas. Make sure that the good you are doing far outweighs their fears.

What’s the best thing you’ve learned or best advice you’ve received?

That it’s a gradual and powerful series of achievements to accept yourself as a sexual being deserving respect, and no one can take that away from you. And, that you remain free to keep discovering and developing.

Where can people find out more about you?

JSJ Therapy In The Media

By Dickinson
Daily News staff writer

Technology and dating?

Not exactly a seamless combination.

In fact, many of us in the New Boomers generation wonder when to call? When to text and when is it appropriate to send a Facebook message?

Or, perhaps the most important question should be: What happened to old-fashioned face-to-face communication?

“When using other tools such as texting and Facebook, you’re not guaranteed you’re interacting with the person you think you are, and it also doesn’t give you a complete picture of who the individual is,” she said.

In fact, 93 percent of first impressions are based on what you see; just 7 percent is based on words, she said.

For some specific clients in long-term relationships, however, sending a text or a quick e-mail that says “I can’t wait to see you,” has been shown to light the fires of romance or intimacy that perhaps they were missing after being together so long, said Jasmine St. John, who specializes in relationships as a licensed therapist at JSJ Therapy in Madison, Wisconsin.

Also following a prospective suitor on a blog or Facebook can give you insight into how that person communicates and interacts with others, St. John said.

For example, it could be a red flag if the person is mean to someone on Facebook or it be an encouraging sign if you see the person is active in charity.

Instant communication is also a great way to keep in contact during the day for couples in new relationships who are experiencing brain chemicals that are making them crazy in love.

“We also have a bigger network to declare your love,” St. John said. “Before it was just the classic idea of a big airplane in the sky saying ‘I love you.’ Now you can tell the whole world.”

That community aspect where everyone in your Facebook network is updated on your social life can also be a detriment in situations such as when everyone finds out you experienced a break-up.

The constant communication may also be a negative because it can accelerate the relationship too quickly causing couples to burn out on the relationship, especially when the individuals begin to lose the brain chemicals making them infatuated.

Regardless, texting doesn’t make a great first impression because it is so casual and informal.

“But some clients have such anxiety about asking someone out in person that for them and the level they’re at even sending an e-mail or “hug” on Facebook is a step forward,” Jasmine said.

Nevertheless, if frustration ensues from a partner texting or e-mailing too much, Bockman recommends saying, “I enjoy hearing from you, but this isn’t the way I prefer to communicate.”


When to not leave the relationship

Laura Munson wrote an amazing little article about how she didn’t leave her husband when he said he wanted out the marriage.  This woman pretty much explains it all perfectly and there isn’t much I can add to her story but I will write this blog to encourage others. First off, read Those are not fighting words … it is an inspiring look at a relationship’s reality.

Now, just in case you decided that the few paragraphs were not worth your time, I will demand you click the link above and read it. I assure you, it is worth your time.   Good… now we can move forward.

In my office, I get person after person questioning if they should leave their relationship, if it is already too late, if their relationship can be saved, or if they should just move on.  Each person sits with their heart breaking open because they very much love the person with whom they are considering staying/leaving the relationship.  These are real people with real emotional ties who want to do what is right.

When are you supposed to leave and when you are supposed to stay?  Each situation is different there is no mistaking that point. However, there is something deep about considering that a relationship might be in the stages of some sort of growth that has little to do with you and very much to do with your partner.

If you are overall sure that your needs are being met, boundaries are being respected, that you are not being mistreated in a way that is beyond your capacity, and that you very much love your partner… then it might be worth considering to wait out the situation.  Not everyone is prepared for the internal strength it takes to hold on while your partner is flailing about during hard times.

Still, allowing your mate to breathe on their own… find their own path… and to know that you will be there as they find their way … can be the very key to bringing you closer.

I find that many of us have lost sight of the fact that relationships go through hard times and that we can  be cruel to one another. We blame, mistrust, and hurt our partner deeply.  We say we know this but in action we break often under the pressure. I wish this wasn’t the case but often when two people share their most vulnerable parts they end up needing to protect themselves from the very person they want to be most at peace with. This is simply a truth.

So when things turn nasty and you are being attacked it is natural to want to run away from the situation. But maintaining a sense of self that can stand within the face of someone else hurting is another very true part of relationships.  The ability to love without demanding the person change but allowing them to figure themselves out is a powerful expression.

I’m not asking you to stay in a relationship that you don’t want to be in (or that you feel is unhealthy/abusive for you)… however if you look at things and consider that you can wait out storm without attacking your partner then perhaps there will be a rainbow at the end.

Relationships require work and often times they hurt … but they can also bring great joy when you look back and realize that you endured and became stronger for allowing your partner to grow in the way they needed.

Taking space and giving space in loving ways is not an easy task but well worth the effort. Consider taking the wide persective on the situation and see if the long term gains are worth it!