In appropriate cases, Surrogate Partner Therapy is incorporated within the context of the ICASA Sexual Recovery Programme. This works by restoring the body’s natural sexual responses through a non-demand sexual environment and giving the client instruction, support and effective sexual training techniques which eliminate pressure and restore sexual confidence.
Since being established in 1994 the ICASA Sexual Recovery Programme has helped over a thousand people to gain control of their sexual responses and lead a full, satisfying sex life. High efficacy rates have been made possible through the resources of a skilled and highly sensitive team that includes ICASA therapists, mentors and surrogate partners. The client, mentor and surrogate partner build a time-limited but emotionally authentic, intimate relationship. This client-surrogate relationship becomes the environment within which the therapy team are able to learn about the client’s strengths and difficulties in emotional and physical intimacy and work to resolve them.
Using this approach to sexual healing a safe, stress-free therapeutic environment is created where the natural, sensual reactions of the body are discovered, appreciated and released from inhibiting anxieties. The ICASA programme is designed to enhance and strengthen the client’s self esteem and personal confidence and to educate and enlighten the mind through this natural, creative process.
The client develops emotional, intimacy and sexual skills, and has a chance to experience intimacy and relationships in new ways. Surrogate Partner Therapy is conducted as a ‘triad’; involving client, surrogate partner and mentor. The surrogate partner and client feed back the experiential information with mentor so that, together, they can facilitate further growth and change for the resolution of the presenting complaint.
Masters and Johnson first practised Surrogate Partner Therapy in 1970. They had experienced a great deal of success working with couples in the 1960’s and in order to be able to work with single people who were experiencing sexual dysfunction they trained women to ‘substitute for’ the partner of a client, in a programme that was the same as their couples treatment programme. Perceptions of relationships, women and sexuality have evolved considerably in the last twenty years and so has Surrogate Partner Therapy. At ICASA there is more emphasis on an in-depth understanding of intimacy, states of consciousness, open communication, gender equality, sexual energy and the fusion of sexuality and spirituality.
The Institute for Sex Education and Research states:
“A Surrogate Partner helps the client to acquire sexual skills in which he was previously deficient. She will try to help him reduce his anxiety about sexual situations, anxiety which may have reached crippling levels, and in general provide the very best form of psychotherapy by listening and talking and sharing his feelings, his fantasies and his fears. As Masters and Johnson (1970) put it, the surrogate is ‘someone to hold on to; talk to, work with, learn from, be a part of and above all else give to and get from’…”.
Extracts from a talk given by Barbara M. Roberts, Licensed Clinical Social Worker at U.C.L.A. Conference and Legal Issues in the Use of Surrogate Partners in Sex Therapy. May 21st 1976:
“Many people have a very narrow view of sex training, or sex therapy, believing that it is properly limited to treating only one aspect in the totality of human functioning. It is obvious, with experience in life, to observe that sex is often used as a substitute for meeting the basic hunger for a warm, caring, human touch. In surrogate partner therapy many clients begin to accept their sexuality and begin to relate meaningfully only after some of their needs for nurturing have been met through non-sexually oriented touch. Then sexual activity in a caring environment such as can be created in surrogate partner therapy can continue to enrich the nurturing process. In this light, if we look at the implications of working in this most sensitive and conflicted area of human relationship, surrogate partner therapy can have a very profound and far-reaching impact upon our society. From that perspective, sexuality may be at the heart of it, but sex is the very least of it.”
At the convention of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex (November 1983), Dean Dauw Ph.D. of the Sexual Enrichment Counselling Services Clinic in Chicago, reported an 89% cure rate for this type of therapy between 1970 to 1980. The success rate in resolving conditions such as premature ejaculation through The Centre for ICASA’s unique approach was 87% between 1995 and 2005.
Dr. Bernie Zilbergeld, Sexologist and Author of ‘New Male Sexuality’ writes:
“The main advantage of surrogate therapy is that it is highly effective. Although little formal research has been done on this treatment, the therapists I know who do it agree with me that it is the most effective therapy for men without regular sexual partners.”
David Brown, Founder of The Centre for ICASA says:
“Sexual surrogacy always works in appropriate cases. Years ago when people would ask me about success rates I would answer them in terms of efficacy percentages but in recent years I have come to the point where I do not focus purely upon success rates which are now fully proven; I am now equally concerned to examine those cases where Surrogate Partner Therapy is not successful because it is important to identify the conditions where Surrogate Partner Therapy may not be the appropriate form of treatment.”