recent feedback after couples coaching
I want you to know how much value you brought me AND my relationship in 5 weeks. I can't even remember if I experienced any skepticism at the possibility of 5 weeks' efficacy, because if I ever did I have since forgotten and it has been replaced entirely by our time together and all that I have begun to stretch and feel into in my own experience.
Like a cat sitting on a lap, purring and being pet in a warm sun beam, taking a stretch here and there– that's what I would equate to my felt sense of our 5 weeks.
Our work, centered around Betty Martin's concept she calls The Wheel of Consent, was perfectly "unsexy" in that it wasn't mysterious, required no pretending or role play on its surface, and instead required total clarity of what you want and what the intentions behind any interaction are. And in that, it has helped to reframe what I believe is sexy.
The work we did together was so much more than sexual awakening, or sexual re-awakening.
On the sexual front, we worked to deconstruct the elements keeping me from pleasure seeking, and that has been incredibly liberating.
The most value I feel like I derived from the 5 weeks is how much the work helped me call up more of my own awareness and find more language for what I find, validating my desires and my aversions and giving me language to discuss both more openly, challenging my subconscious need to do the emotional labor for my partner before I've even uttered words about my own desire. It has challenged both of us to take ownership of our own "sexual readiness," taking the burden off my partner to know how to approach me when he has desire on his heart.
I got to see my partner interact in this new world and observe him through this new lens of my own awareness. You call it being in my own power. Like I said, it mostly feels like just being fully awake -- taking all of that energy I was subconsciously putting towards making sure everything is okay all of the time and instead turning it inward to know and be aware of how I feel about something at any given time, especially when it's telling me something is not okay.
Thanks again, SO MUCH, River. To know you, to know you are working to bring these kinds of revelations to people like me in our community is so inspiring and I hope for and look forward to any ways I can help to get the word out about your important work.
emails from Clients
I feel like I’ve learned so much from you in such a short amount of time. I have felt such an awakening since our last session. It’s like finally remembering something that had just been on the tip of my tongue for a long time. Having this language of giving, receiving, servicing, and accepting service made such a difference in how I approach my husband. I’m regaining a lot of confidence. Really looking forward to our next appointment.
This program is much more than sexual. It's about how you connect with others and yourself.
River's program is much more than a sexually-related subject. There's even more to it than how humans relate with one another. It's about how you connect with yourself. I truly believe the lessons should be mandatory when sexual anatomy and education is introduced in high school.
It's knowledge changes your life as every change should be, inside out. I'm forever grateful for it!
I just wanted to express my appreciation for your help this weekend. Your warmth and enthusiasm put me at ease and made it comfortable for me to open up. Again, thank you very much and I look forward to seeing you soon.
You were correct in assuring me that things would work out for me.
My girlfriend and I got to know one another much better and spent many sexually intimate hours together. It was wonderful to be with her. These intimate times with her will be treasured forever. This is a unique experience for me, something I have awaited my entire life to enjoy. It is like nothing I have ever experienced.
I appreciate your helping me to achieve this intimate relationship. Without your caring and nurturing this beautiful experience would not have been possible. Your nurturing of me supported this. I am most appreciative. Thank you for being so caring and giving. I really appreciate your confidence and support. I'm starting to feel a fresh sense of optimism about my future. I think my sexual issues were/are causing a larger portion of my pain than I had even anticipated. I think the work we do together is going to improve my life a lot, it already has. Everyone should have someone like you that they can talk to and work on this stuff with.
I want to thank you for all that you have done for me. Not only by doing your part, but the way you have done it. All those little details, compromises and efforts among other things I have noticed you've done in our time working together... It has been a process, step by step but firm progress, that has brought more self confidence to my person and made my life much more joyful.
Thank you for existing.
You have no idea how much I appreciate your work/vocation and profession in general. Thank you so much. ... I got in my truck and realized I needed to move the mirror because I was sitting taller. That's how much of a weight you helped me remove from my shoulders!
I appreciate your helping me to achieve my new intimate relationship. These intimate times with her will be treasured forever. Without your caring and nurturing this beautiful experience would not have been possible for me. I thank you for that.
I am so proud of myself! I arranged a safe ... encounter and actually pulled it off. It was fun, liberating, and a little surreal. I was myself and in the moment. I engaged the communication and breathing skills we have worked on. No regrets or negative feelings. Not sure whether it is something I will do again, but probably yes. Finally, a ..... Finally! Thanks for giving me the insight, skills, and confidence.
Thank you for an incredible and enlightening session. Your insights into my problems are allowing me to move closer to finding the answers I seek. Our experience together was one of those gifts that is rarely granted to an individual. You are indeed a treasure.
What occurred between us today is a life altering experience. I am so excited to move forward with you on this journey. You have answered questions that I have been holding on to for forty years.
I realized I have been directing my energy out instead of within. Amazing difference! … I’m looking forward to the next time we can get together!
Just when I think that our sessions cannot get any better something like today happens. I was in a state of bliss - another world. The ways you have helped me grow into my sexuality and improve mentally are astounding. Your presence is always warm, comforting and full of positive energy. You always know exactly what I need.
It was intense for me to allow myself to be vulnerable and surrender fully to you… I was/am so amazed how much orgasmic blissful energy it stimulated. Wow! Thank you. I don’t recall feeling anything that intense for a long time…maybe ever. :)
I think it will take a bit to process the experience … I was very relaxed afterward … I had a very restful long sleep too, which I do not get to enjoy often… Thank you so much!
I really really loved our last session. The orgasmic energy it produced positively rocked my world.
You have that great balance of structure and encouragement to facilitate learning and help.
Directing the energy deep within enhanced the sensations and created pulses of physical energy that we both could feel and enjoy.
I have always been fascinated with you, brains and beauty and more. Getting to know you only added to your mystique. You gave me great pleasure in knowing you and learning from you. I look forward to more.
I feel like I need to get a t-shirt that says "Made by River!"
feedback from therapists, and other collaborating health care professionals
Dear River, Your report was a delight to hear. Your energy feels very grounded and full of joy. Your suggestion that our client begin preparing for his next partner sounds perfect to me. I believe he is ready. He's very shy and your help with that project would be so welcome! I think you're an angel! Thank you. Of all of our client's therapies, his work with you has lifted his spirits the most. Thanks for your complete and compassionate reporting.
I loved listening to your report today! Sounds like a successful session and that we are all tracking together. I am very happy to collaborate with you and thank you!
Our client's work with me has shifted and matured since your arrival. I am impressed at how skilled a professional you are. He has stopped fantasizing about women now that he really is getting to know one intimately. The shift your work with him is causing is profound.
This report was absolutely amazing! Thank you for such thoughtful detail to his assessment. I loved that you shared your exercises and your thoughts. I think the breathing and the approach you are taking to work on his ability to get in touch with his own desire is wonderful. Thank you so much!
Thank you for this latest report. It must have been so wonderful for both of you. I could hear it in your words and your voice. You are incredibly expressive and your earthiness and divine energy come through very clearly.
River, Thanks so much for sending this report over! It's great to hear about the progress he has made; I've seen it too. ... Thanks again for the great work you're doing with him!
Wheel of Consent Workshop Testimonials
My primary reason for taking this workshop was my divorce and how meaningless my marriage had became. The lack of love, passion, sex, touch, etc. turned me into such an introvert which is unlike my old self. I missed the person I used to be and wanted to see if something was really wrong with me.
Before this workshop began, I thought I was passionate and seductive. However, I never really knew whether it was for me or my ex-wife. We didn't communicate so everything was left to what was going through our minds. Not smart.
At first, I thought I was broken with all these other people in the workshop describing their experiences as seductive and sensual and whatever. I was like "what the hell are you guys smoking because I need some." Then when I went home and reflected on what I heard, I tried again. This time I slowed down and listened to my body and was so excited that I sent River a message that night.
About mid-way into the workshop, I realized that it was good to want, and great to give pleasure exactly the way someone asked. I didn't have to feel inadequate. It was exhilarating and although I was only rubbing a woman's hand and arm up to her elbow it was better than sex I've had. So just imagine what I can do when I do have sex. Delish! ;)
Towards the end of this workshop, I feel pretty awesome and I want to continue growing my relationships with some of the members. It’s great that I've seen some at other meetups.
The small group was ideal because we were all heard and were more open with each other. I wouldn't have liked the course as much if there were more than a dozen people.
This workshop will start off mildly so you don't freak out, especially for those that have issues with being touched, and will progress. You can also opt out if you just want to watch or don't feel into the exercise although I never opted out. :) By the end of the course I was sad that we would be parting ways and not sharing our Friday mornings together.
I had a huge “aha” moment the first time I was receiving the gift exactly the way I asked without giving anything back. It was AMAZING!
The real life practices made us stick to boundaries and created a very safe and open environment so nobody felt like we were expected to go beyond what was given as a guideline.
The workshop helped me personally because I felt pretty shy at first and now I feel more empowered especially when it comes to others that feel the same way. I'm not in a relationship so I haven't been able to share with a partner yet. However, the class has given me a better understanding of how to ask for things that I want, and more appropriate phrasing.
The toughest moment for me was when I was approached by a male to be his partner since I was in a playful mood and would have rather given/taken with a female partner. It wasn't until River changed my perspective of the situation that I was able to get out of my own head and see it for what it was. The ability to explore the actual flesh, tendons, scars, etc. was pretty amazing and wonderful in an exploratory way instead of a sexual or seductive experience.
Here is why I would recommend this workshop: We live in this jaded "don't hurt my feelings" and instant gratification world which desensitizes most interactions. I'm new to this dating world and most interactions with women have been disappointing so far. I've learned that this group is looking for more of an understanding of themselves and what is and isn't alright, and what we are allowed to ask for and that boundaries are ok. We aren't here just to make every other person feel good about themselves.
I would advise future participants to be open to the concept and hear what others are sharing. Be more than the majority of the population out there since life can be amazing once you aren't expectant and you are willing to share with an open heart. Oh, and make sure to at least get one big hug from River. ;)
As a teacher, River rocks, is sexy, crude in the best way possible, and seems to be very accepting of all walks of life.
My primary reason for taking this workshop was to learn the wheel of consent, so that I can make sure I can practice it when working with clients.
This course is taught through experience. Every class started with solo or partner touching exercises. After the experience, River taught about where the exercise(s) we did fell on the wheel.
I would say the big benefits of this workshop are learning that an important part of consent is being clear on who the activity is for, practicing naming physical sensations in the body, and learning the difference between what I want and what I am willing to do.
I had watched videos on the wheel of consent before and didn't fully understand it. Getting to experience practicing the wheel not only helped me to understand the wheel, but enabled me to recognize what being in each quadrant on the wheel feels like in my body. This has helped me be able to easily pinpoint which quadrant I am in in situations in real life.
Even though the course was primarily about touch, I've been able to apply what I have learned to every aspect of my life. I've started to practice getting clear on my intentions and communicating them, even if it’s just as simple as my intention for wanting to be friends with someone or inviting a friend to coffee. When I know the intention for the interaction, then i can know if I am actually a yes or not.
I took this workshop because I was seeking a practical tool that could help me better understand myself and the dynamics in my relationships. There had been so much confusion around giving and receiving and who is doing what for who that it was painful. Also as a sex therapist I wanted more practical and experiential tools that I could use to help my clients more effectively and in a way that is more practical and productive than just talking about problems. I have found The Wheel to be one of the most practical and helpful tools for both personal and professional use!
Before this workshop I was totally unaware of the quadrants of giving and receiving. I now realize where my last relationship went so wrong and how much of that was due to us being totally unconscious about consent (or lack thereof). This lead to a lot of pain and suffering that could have been avoided had we had this tool!
I also have had a big aha moment about my relationship dynamic with my ex husband. For years, I have felt manipulated, abused and perpetrated by him while never actually realizing that I was actually at fault too for acting from the shadow side of allowing by not having any limits or demanding that those boundaries and limits be honored. As a result, I have allowed him to just take and take while being too afraid or lazy to stand up for myself and create a different dynamic. After learning the wheel I have been able to recognize when I am allowing someone to overstep my boundary or dishonor my limit and I have been able to stand up for myself in a very empowered way. This is so exciting to feel!
What I love about this course is that it is mostly experiential. Learning the concept of the wheel is fascinating but the rubber only meets the road when you actually get to experience what it feels like for you to be in each of the quadrants. This is one of the most direct and practical tools for self knowledge and personal growth and healing that I have ever encountered. It is simple yet absolutely profound. I am so excited to keep exploring the depths of wisdom and insight available to me through the application of this wisdom in my life.
In truth, everything in my life now looks different as I begin to see things through this wheel. It is slowly changing the way I communicate, how I ask for or request things of others, and I haven’t even applied it yet to sex—oh the wonders! LOL
Being in a group dynamic to learn this work is really a gift. So many people are shy to be in groups or afraid to be seen. The group space that River created was very safe and respectful. We always were given the choice to share or not to share, to participate or not and in being given this choice we were learning how to tap into, honor, and listen to our own desire. River modeled the concepts of the wheel effortlessly through her teaching style.
From this workshop I have learned to say no, ask for what I want more clearly, and to respect myself much more compassionately and passionately. If you get a chance to take this workshop with River do it! It is totally worth the investment of time and money.
River is a fun, engaging and playful teacher. She creates a very safe and sacred space for her students to learn and grow while exploring sides of themselves that may otherwise be challenging to discover on their own. River is also very respectful and encouraging of each person’s individual growth process which makes the class also feel very personal even though we are in a group setting.
My main reason for taking the workshop was curiosity and the knowledge that I need support setting boundaries.
Before this workshop, I used to approach touch and choice in a passive and habitual way.
About midway into the workshop, I experienced a paradigm shift, especially in the context of “taking” and touching for my own pleasure.
Toward the end of the workshop, I feel empowered to say “yes” and “no” with confidence.
Hearing other people’s journeys in our group provided a sense of community and understanding of myself.
Practicing with others provided an experiential opportunity to explore. The workshop is taught with hands on, group discussion, some lecture and lots of reflection. The real life practices helped to solidify abstract ideas into concrete awareness.
I had many experiences of “aha” moments. Touching another person as a taker was huge for me. The big benefits of this workshop are looking at everyday interactions from a whole new perspective. The workshop was liberating, and a healthy container to explore. I would advise future participants to be open hearted.
The toughest moment for me was asking for what I want. I don’t think I did. It is an area of growth for me.
I would recommend this workshop because it is invaluable information that applies to multiple areas of life.
As a teacher, River is intuitive, knowledgable and makes sure that participants are practicing and understanding the true heart of the content.
This course was a game changer for me. It opened a door to personal and interpersonal dynamics that I have always been vague and powerless around. Through the workshop I found language to speak my truth, ask for what I want. And in turn, hold space for my partners truth, listening and honoring what they desire and where their boundaries lie. Those who uphold the integrity and values of the Wheel of Consent will create a win-win world for all people!
Conscious Uncoupling Testimonials
“I am a skeptic. I am also fairly self-aware. I have worked with really good therapists in the past (and the present) who have helped me in many ways. I didn’t believe in “light bulb” moments; I thought that only happened in books and movies. I went into this program simply thinking I would at least learn something new about myself. I had only had a few relationships, and they all ended in the same drawn-out, exhausting, heartbroken way. I wanted to break the pattern, so I gave this a chance. Through this program and the tender yet firm guidance of River, I have changed my life. Let me say that again - I have changed my life. It’s no joke, and I’m not exaggerating. Go through this program with an open mind, and change your own life. I can’t explain exactly why this program is different, but it is, and it is worth it.” ~ Raina Harris
* Due to the sensitive nature of our work, client and therapist identities are rarely published.