All For Love Coaching - About Me
My Qualifications & Professional Experience
My name is Anneke Jo Elmhirst (she/her), and I am a life coach and educator based out of Pittsburgh, PA.
I am a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, and working on becoming a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach. I have an undergraduate degree in linguistics and education and a Master's in behavior analysis.
I've worked with autistic children/adolescents since 2015 but when my job took a distinctly administrative and bureaucratic turn I decided to make the jump into coaching where I felt I could make a bigger positive impact on people's lives.
My work with neurodivergent individuals has greatly informed my practice and philosophy. Not only do I have a greater appreciation for the diversity of the human experience, I also have extensive training in strategies like motivational interviewing and self-reporting techniques.
I approach coaching through a trauma-informed lens and am constantly educating myself further on various mental health topics.
I welcome any and all suggestions on how to make my practice more accessible and inclusive.
About Me - Personal Experiences & Lifestyle
I grew up on Cape Cod in Massachusetts and have been living in Pittsburgh PA since 2018.
I am Polyamorous and currently have several partners who all bring something different to my life and provide all I am seeking from my relationships.
I am also active within the worlds of BDSM and kink predominantly as a submissive masochist.
I have several cats who are very spoilt and my interests include embroidery, pole dancing, reading, knitting, musical theatre and video games.
About Me - Specialities
I specialize in relationships, especially nontraditional ones such as LGBTQ+, polyamory, and kink. I've been a member of all of these communities for years and working in human services for just as long.
What is a Relationship?
If you know another human being you have a relationship with them. Technically, just by reading this, you're developing a relationship with me. It is called a parasocial relationship.
Relationships can succeed or fail in any number of ways, unfortunately there is no real tried and true road map for how to make a relationship successful or even what defines a successful relationship.
That's where I come in.
I define a successful relationship as one that fulfills a specific niche of needs and desires. No one relationship can or should fulfill you completely - as humans we require a vast network of connections to be happy and live comfortably, from our family to our friends to our partners to the cashier at the grocery store.
Sometimes these relationships do not flow naturally. Environmental, interpersonal or internal factors can cause our relationships to break down or prevent us from finding them in the first place.
With coaching we work together to identify these pain points as well as your core needs and create a plan to overcome them together.
How is Relationship Coaching Different?
Some people will tell you that all coaching is relationship coaching. Career coaching is about your relationship with your coworkers, for example.
I would go one step further. All coaching is focused on your relationship to yourself. Your relationship with others is predicated on your ability to look inside yourself and communicate what you find.
I use a variety of methods, both in-session and as homework to determine how your relationship with yourself is impacting your relationship with others. Then we work to identify points of strength and points for improvement on both sides - your internal and external relationships.
What Does LGBTQ+ Stand For?
LGBTQ+ is the long shorthand that stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, ETC. I use this term in my promotional materials because some people are still uncomfortable with the word "queer" as it has been reclaimed by the community but to me they encompass the same thing.
Important note: just because your letter isn't present in the acronym (for example, Asexual/Aromantic, Nonbinary) does not mean you are excluded: you're a valid member of the community if that's how you identify.
How Do You Specialize in Such a Thing?
I'll be honest, it's an ongoing learning process that will never be fully complete. My approach centers around the uniqueness of every identity and human being as well as our inherent commonalities.
I'm going to ask a cisgender person in a heterosexual relationship the exact same questions I will ask a genderfluid person in an LGBTQ+ relationship because I believe that nothing about our lives or experiences should be taken for granted or assumed.
Part of developing an intersectional practice is constant education on the vast variety of identities that comprise our communities. I work to continually accrue knowledge and experience of identities that are not my own and when a client brings me new information, I incorporate it into my framework.
What is Polyamory?
Polyamory is defined as "the practice of engaging in multiple romantic (and typically sexual) relationships with the consent of all the people involved."
In theory this sounds neat and tidy, but in practice it is anything but. There are as many forms of polyamorous relationships as there are people practicing polyamory. Unlike monogamy, there is no real road map or set of societal expectations (in US culture, anyway) to guide how these relationships should start, take shape, and maintain.
So How Do You Do Polyamory Well?
Good question! I consider my own introduction to the polyamorous world a bit of a trial by fire and I am looking to ease the way for other interested individuals.
I offer both individual and group coaching to focus on personal strengths, interpersonal strengths and needs. We will work on communication techniques, introspective practice, exploration of new relationship styles and more. From DADT to kitchen table and beyond, I can help you find the relationships and structure that meets your unique needs and guides you around the common pitfalls.
For newbies I also offer introductory sessions that can include discussions of the terms I just used, as well as providing resources for finding more information outside of session.
What is Kink?
A kink is "a person's unusual sexual preference."
My practice doesn't abide by this definition.
"Unusual" is entirely arbitrary - a foot fetish is considered a kink but is so common it has become the archetype of slightly strange sexual desire.
"Sexual" is also a tricky part of this definition. Many of the kinksters I've talked to do not incorporate sex into their kink and do not experience sexual gratification as part of their kink. For many people kink is an emotional, physical, or sensory experience that gives them emotional, physical, or sensory satisfaction.
Some people watch horror movies because they enjoy being scared or eat spicy food because they enjoy the flavor and burn. The only difference between this sensory seeking behavior and kinks are their societal acceptability.
Why is Kink?
If I knew the answer to that I would be a rich lady. Just as there are over 7 billion humans, there are over 7 billion ways that the brain can take any element of the human experience and turn it into a vessel for sensory or sexual pleasure. Scientists are still debating whether nature or nurture is to thank for all this creative wiring.
In this question, however, I am convinced that the "why" is actually less important than the "what." The answer to why we like something can be broken down into its component parts but eventually we arrive at the level of "It makes good parts of my brain light up" and we have to be content with that.
I have personally spent the better part of my life pathologizing myself for my kinks, and it can be an exhausting and unrewarding way to live.
What is The Kink Community?
Pretty much every city in the US will have a kink community somewhere within it which will be a group of networked individuals who all enjoy some sort of kinky, non-mainstream activity.
There are casual get-togethers called munches (short for burger munch) where no kink takes place where people hang out and talk about anything and everything.
There might be classes led by educators and members of the community that talk about specific activities. There may even be clubs or private homes that host play parties.
The only way to know what's available in your area is to get involved.
How Does Kink Fit into Coaching?
Some people enjoy a little slap and tickle in the bedroom, some people want a 24/7 Total Power Exchange relationship. Negotiating and navigating these relationship changes, especially with a partner who is new to the idea, can be really scary!
I work with individuals who are looking to get their more niche needs fulfilled or couples/triads/polycules who want to incorporate these dynamics into the bedroom or their daily lives.
Please note that no kink takes place during the coaching session - I am not a sex worker although this is a sex-work positive space.