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About RISE to Intimacy

Trauma-informed, ENM/poly-friendly sex coaching & relationship counseling

Valerie has helped me a lot through the years. She really understands what I've gone through and approaches our problem-solving sessions from a place of empathy.

— Georgia

Who We Are

Valerie McDonnell, sex therapist & coach in Richmond, VA

Valerie McDonnell, LCSW

Founder, Sex Therapist, Relationship & Intimacy Coach

Armed with her Master’s in Clinical Social Work, Valerie embarked on her professional journey as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), specializing in the intricate realms of trauma and PTSD. In 2019, she planted the seeds of her practice in the heart of Richmond, VA where her focus evolved toward the nuanced landscape of sex therapy. 


Since starting, Valerie has expanded her intimacy and sex coaching practice beyond Virginia. She now works with individuals and couples across the country, catering to a spectrum of challenges and issues such as:


  • Low sexual desire

  • Navigating the complexities of non-monogamy and polyamory

  • Combating sexual performance anxiety

  • Overcoming obstacles in achieving orgasm

  • Mitigating the impact of life events on sexual connection

For those navigating the tumultuous waters of sexual trauma and PTSD, Valerie extends her empathetic touch through evidence-based therapy services, encapsulating a comprehensive approach to holistic well-being. 


When it comes to sexuality, Valerie is not just a practitioner - she's a guiding force for achieving personal and relational empowerment. She strives to build an inclusive community at RISE, where we go beyond just consulting. 

Our goal is to create a welcoming environment where no issue is too complex or “taboo”.  We don’t just tell you what to do - we’re a cut above the rest. We endeavor to provide unparalleled support so you feel understood, accepted, and empowered. Our goal is to help you improve your relationships and sex life, transform your intimacy, and strengthen bonds.

At RISE, we go on a journey with you to unravel the intricacies behind your sexual challenges. You have a right to feel confident and satisfied in your sexuality and relationships.


We aim to create a judgment-free space where you can openly discuss intimacy and sexuality, so that you may better understand your needs and desires. This self-awareness can allow you to pursue connections and fulfillment in alignment with what makes you feel whole.

We revel in the art of guiding you toward a life empowered by a profound understanding and mastery of your sexual self! 

Pamela Rich, MS

Trauma Counselor & Coach, Expert Witness

Drawing upon her master's degree in forensic psychology (specializing in sex offenders and other taboo issues) and years of experience in the field, Pamela helps clients understand the deep mechanisms behind trauma and the negative impacts it can have on various parts of life.

She's also a leading expert & public speaker about human trafficking in Virginia, where she sits on the governor's Sex Trafficking Advisory Board. See her site here.

Pamela offers counseling for people struggling with:

  • Sex addiction & troubling behaviors

  • Sexual trauma & PTSD

  • Interests/desires interfering with life & relationships

  • Any topic that makes other therapists uncomfortable

Pam Hock: sex addiction specialist & Trauma counselor in Richmond, VA

What We're About

Richmond Institute of Sexual Empowerment


Whoever you are and whatever gets you off (or turns you off) we're here to help you make sense of it, explore the depths & details, and learn how to talk about it with the people who matter, so you can create the life you want.

RISE Coaching Zoom anon



Sometimes you just need to hear from other people who are facing the same challenges you are. 


We all crave support, affirmation, and experienced perspectives to help us grow.


Through individual and relationship coaching, group workshops, private Facebook communities, and more, RISE brings people together to share common experiences and learn from each other.



At RISE we know from experience what it's like to be unconsenting & powerless in a sexual situation.​

And we're all too familiar with the ravages of anxiety, PTSD, the performance pressure, the triggers and emotional entanglements that can jolt people out of sync sexually and otherwise.

The coping mechanisms and self-affirmation strategies that we teach our clients...we developed out of necessity.

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Sex and relationships are supposed to be fun! Yes you have to put in some work to get it right—but we believe that everyone can rise to the sexual being they want to be.


We also believe in seeking guidance and wisdom on this ongoing journey of sexual & mental health.

Click below for helpful resources on communication, alternative relationship structures, self-care and toys, trauma, recommended reading, and more.

Valerie Mcdonnell, sex therapist & coach

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