Alicia Patterson is a mental health counselor and pelvic health specialist in Denver CO. Alicia is a leader in the specialized pelvic trauma healing field bridging the gap between the body and the psyche in therapy. On top of years in the emergency mental health field, Alicia also holds additional training in EMDR therapy and other trauma-oriented tools, Dance Movement Therapy, Body Psychotherapy, visceral manipulation, uterine massage therapy, pelvic floor therapies and pelvic healing modalities, attachment and perinatal psychology, Gestalt & transpersonal psychology, and more holistic models balancing the medical and alternative healing fields. A leading psychotherapist and female pelvic healing specialist, Alicia provides a variety of services including counseling, holistic pelvic care, consultation, training & mentoring for professionals, female pelvic health programs, women's events & retreats, and more. To learn more about Alicia, visit https://www.
Alicia is leading a 2 hour PELVIC HEALTH AND PLEASURE webinar designed especially for ONNA family.
CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY AND WHY YOU BECAME A PELVIC FLOOR THERAPIST?
I added pelvic floor therapy and bodywork to my practice (already working as a somatic counselor in mental health for years) partially due to the complimentary ease in combination of modalities. The real heart of why I added this work is due to my own journey. I engaged intensively in my own pelvic process for over 2 years. I came in with a lot to work on (ancient tension and inflammation, wanting to work on my own birth story, unstable relationship patterns, shame, a past in disordered eating & exercise and body image pain, sexual and medical trauma, and more). My process touched me so profoundly and I wanted to offer a safe space for others to explore this work. I'm especially glad I chose to offer this work considering my counseling and trauma training now that I know how many people experience traumatic experiences when seeking support for this part of their body whether it's in the medical community or the "woo" side of things.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT YOU DO?
The nature of how the body works. As a longtime counselor, I know the mind can lie and that is challenging to work with. The body, in my experience, never lies. Experiencing the truth of the body is, in my longtime experience working with human beings, a direct and rapid route to the truth. This is a satisfying experience. Everyone loves truth, results, and empowerment in their chosen field of work and I have seen more of this in my pelvic health work than in all my other career experiences (which have been extensive as I've been working in patient care in some fashion for over 13 years, so this is saying a lot).
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON TYPES OF ISSUES PEOPLE USUALLY STRUGGLE WITH WHEN THEY SEEK YOUR HELP?
People come toward me for all kinds of needs. I see three groups of people in my practice. There are the symptom needs (anything and everything about the pelvis, bladder challenges, pelvic pain, pain with sex, menstrual challenges, scar tissue, the list goes on and on), people who want to address trauma (pelvic trauma is a whole presentation and can mean anything from an injury to birth trauma to assault to childhood abuse and also incorporates many nuances), then there are those who maybe don't have a symptom or known trauma but they are curious and want to explore. Sometimes this last group has a general feeling of disconnection or "icky" in their pelvis, and they're not sure where to go or make of it all but are cautious about the shadows of this sacred sexuality, don't want to be preyed on, and want to work with someone with extensive training but also may want to stay away from the medical world.
WHY SHOULD WOMEN LEARN ABOUT THEIR PELVIC ANATOMY, SEXUAL ANATOMY AND FUNCTION?
I advocate for women learning about their bodies, anatomy, function, and sexuality because it's you. Your body is your vehicle for life. Knowledge is power and knowledge has been withheld for so many reasons for so long as a function of oppression and repression. Learning about my body, way too late in my life, has completely altered my experience of my body and how I orient around my health / relationships / decisions and behaviors and more. I can't think of a reason to not understand and learn about your body unless danger is an issue. If you live in a place in the world that heavily shames this and it is illegal (these places in the world do exist), when it comes to that, if this is a factor of danger, then I always advocate for basic needs being safe before entering this terrain).
WHAT IS THE CONNECTION BETWEEN PELVIC HEALTH AND PLEASURE?
Endless. If pelvic health is in good shape, pleasure can go through the roof. The endocrine and nervous systems are responsible for pleasure chemicals and sensations. If the endocrine / nervous and other systems (such as muscle and skeletal) are suffering, achieving pleasure may be a hard road. Pelvic health (as well as mental health, I believe) creates an incredible foundation for pleasure and I believe is unfortunately often bypassed or missed by the current wave of "sacred sexuality".
YOUR NUMBER ONE TIP FOR PELVIC HEALTH
Embrace this area of your body and know that you will continue to evolve and change as you age. This can be a beautiful and profound experience with yourself. The painful part is that this may feel like a fight against capitalism, the medical industry, and possibly those around you who shame and blame the very real and natural process of aging. And I'm not saying ignore medical care, that's not my message at all. But, consider the middle way when it comes to your pelvis and your life. This is your vehicle for life and the journey will continue.
CAN YOU BRIEFLY TALK ABOUT THE DANGERS AND SHADOWS OF THE YONI INDUSTRY?
The current wave of sacred sexuality / the "yoni industry" is a wild beast, especially due to the technological advancements and revolution of the online sphere since the beginning and continuation of the 2020 pandemic. My warnings include being highly aware and cautious of:
- manipulative sales tactics
- young people who are possibly "famous" online but have little to none or not enough training to work with humans, have no credentials, and no true authority to teach about modalities that can have a profound impact on someone's mental / emotional / physiological health (this is a problem in the coaching field and has become pervasive as some of the brands that "train coaches" have become huge and are pumping out tons of pleasure coaches consistently, I'm not saying never trust a pleasure coach, I'm saying ask about their background / their training / their credentials / their history / their experience / their paperwork, etc)
- quick fixes
- homophobic / trans-phobic and other "isms" that are very present in things like "polarity work"
- faulty products made with cheap and / or toxic materials sold online (especially any that go inside your body, beware! these can cause damage)
- cult - like and / or problematic group tactics, this is rampant in real cults that are dangerous as well as "intentional communities" and brands
- I HIGHLY recommend engaging in touch-oriented work (if you are going to explore internal pelvic floor and organ therapies), only with people with training and administrative processes, and who USE GLOVES! My opinion is if a practitioner does not use gloves, this is a sexual safety and sanitation issue and I heavily caution against it
- blame / shame / gas-lighting / manipulative leaders (like someone who tells you if the practice doesn't work for you, I guess you didn't do it enough or right, if you end up feeling bad about yourself in a practitioner relationship, this is unethical and possibly abusive)
- there are many more, these are the main players.
WHAT IS SENSUALITY FOR YOU AND HOW DO YOU EMBODY IT?
Sensuality for me, is the experience of my cells. This is internal, and external. My internal world is deep and vast and a playground to hang out in. The external world can absolutely enhance, alter, or diminish my experience of my internal world. I appreciate processes from the outside in (experiencing my environment, pleasure in all the senses including food and drink / sounds of nature and music / calm & stimulating sights / different experiences of touch and sensation on my skin / smells to name just a few ways this influences my experience). I also appreciate experiences from the inside out and for me, the process of utilizing my voice / moving my body / visualization / nerve tracking / breathwork / consent practices / shadow work and all kinds of processes with myself is a huge part of sensuality. Dance and movement is one of my main routes into this world for me, my official degree / training is "Dance Movement Therapy", and has been an ally to my pelvic and sensuality journey for over 13 years.
IF YOU COULD GIVE JUST ONE PIECE OF ADVICE TO WOMEN ON SEX AND DESIRE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Listen to yourself. Take ownership of your desires. Open the door to discover the depth of what those are, even if you feel you know yourself already. Dive in. Create safety. Know if you are engaging in sex with someone else, you are gifting them your body.
THREE FAVOURITE BOOKS/RESOURCES ABOUT PELVIC HEALTH?
Women's Anatomy of Arousal by Sheri Winston is my favorite or illustrations of the female body.
Netter medical anatomy textbooks are fascinating.
Emotional anatomy by Stanley Keleman is one of my favorite books for emotional anatomy illustrations, he has some interesting views and beliefs that I hold lightly and is an "old school" somatic influencer (some of them had some problematic views early in psychology, such as Carl Jung being said to being a Nazi sympathizer), but the drawings in this book of the bodily diaphragms is like nothing I've found anywhere else.
CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR WEBINAR AND WHO IT IS FOR?
This webinar is for anyone who's curious about the pelvis, the seat of the body. Anyone and everyone, from my seat, is welcome. I will be primarily teaching and talking about female anatomy but not all of it is only about certain body parts and much of this material is relevant to everyone with a pelvis.
This webinar is the best learning opportunity for anyone who wants to understand more about the pelvic floor, how it relates to our sexual health and pleasure and how to care for it properly.
THIS 2 HOUR WEBINAR WE EXPLORED:
- The basics of holistic pelvic anatomy
- A review of trendy pelvic tools and how to works safely with ourselves
- Shadows of the "pleasure world" and the crossover between sacred capitalism and the "yoni movement"
- The range of pleasure/internal tissue and what this has to do with sexual health, pelvic health and pleasure
- The most common issues with pelvic floor health and how to approach them
- Pelvic health tips for pre-menopausal and postmenopausal women