May 13, 2019
Sexuality Superheroes: Dr. Maha Nasrallah-Babenko
Another week, another Sexuality Superhero! This week, meet relationship and sexual wellness coach, Dr. Maha Nasrallah-Babenko. Dr. Maha has worked with many couples facing all sorts of relationship challenges, from communication issues to common sexual difficulties. Get to know her work a little better, and read her feature below.
How did you find yourself working in the field of sexuality?
It was literally a light-bulb moment. I was in London completing my PhD in Psychology, and a conversation with my sisters about relationships just sparked this idea. The more I looked into it, the more interested I became. I decided to apply for a 2-year Diploma in Psychosexual and Relationship Counseling, and I absolutely fell in love with the program once I was in it. Not only was I interested in relationships, love, and intimacy, but I also very much enjoyed seeing couples reconnect, and connecting with the clients myself. In addition, I’m always fascinated by the field, and love that there is something new to learn. No client or session is the same, even if you work with the same issues. Deep down, I think that coming from a relatively conservative part of the world also sparked a subconscious desire to push boundaries and empower people sexually. It’s as if it was my own way to create a social revolution to provide more education and end the shame around sex.
What is the best part of the job?
There are so many great parts of this job! If I were to choose one, it would be when a client or couple experiences some sort of empowerment. This could be either through completing an exercise that helped them overcome a sexual fear, or share a moment of deep connection together again, or even simply gaining more insight into their emotional, mental, and relational world. When any of these happen, they feel stronger and hopeful, which is a beautiful thing to be a part of.
What is the most challenging part of the job?
The things that I cannot control make parts of this work challenging, which I guess is what frustrates most of us in life. For example, when a client is in pain, sometimes all you can do is just make space and time for their pain. So the part in me that wants to help people and change things needs to remember that making the space for their pain is what helps them. Also, often clients or couples seek help years after they have been experiencing difficulties, and sometimes the damage is very deep or the situation is quite severe, so I wish people would address their fears and issues sooner. However, this is all part of the process, and just like most things in life, it probably wouldn’t be as rewarding if it were easy. As challenging as these moments can be, the good parts totally make up for them, and even knowing that I was able to help someone in pain or a couple in crisis in any way is what keeps me going.
What is your most important piece of advice that has the potential to revolutionize relationships?
I think that if we change our concept of love and relationships, it will have a tremendous impact on how we treat our relationships. Mainly, that if we accept that love is not just a feeling, but is a practice, and that if we practice some form of it on a regular basis, we will have much more fulfilling relationships. Just like we dedicate time and effort to other things that are important to us in life (such as our jobs, a hobby, going to the gym etc.), we can dedicate a few minutes a day of conscious practice to the person we love.
What do you do to decompress and take care of yourself given that you spend so much time helping and caring for others?
There are many things that help me unwind and relax. Spending time with my husband and puppy is always fulfilling. Connecting to nature is one of my favorite activities to engage in, whether it’s going for a walk, hike, or even just being present in the outdoors. Lastly, fitness, lifting weights, and music are great stress releases for me as well.
What do you want people to know about your work as a relationship and sexual wellness coach?
I would love for people to know that one of my biggest dreams is to empower people with the knowledge and skills that would help them prevent the common issues from happening, and strengthen their relationships further, rather than just “fixing” problems. I don’t only work with clients when they’re in crisis and are experiencing the classical difficulties most people go through in their relationships and intimate lives, I want people to start reaching out to me or other professionals to be proactive about their relationships rather than reactive. This is why my husband, Dr. Bo Babenko and I decided to join forces and offer programs, retreats, and other experiences for individuals and couples to nurture their emotional, relational, and physical health.
Where can we learn more about your work?
Dr. Maha is passionate about helping individuals and couples live, love, and sexually connect more authentically, freely, and courageously, through meaningful and challenging conversations. She has a PhD in Psychology and a Diploma in Psychosexual and Relationship Therapy from the UK and has worked with hundreds of clients from diverse backgrounds. She is currently also completing an Animal-Assisted Psychotherapy certification and hopes to start integrating animals into her practice. She will soon be moving to Orange County, California and offers in-person and online coaching sessions.