How can therapy & coaching help?
Therapy is useful when you are facing painful emotions or have a difficult decision to make. It also can be helpful if you want to develop a better understanding of yourself or you want to improve and change your relationships or perhaps improve your understanding of others. People often seek therapy after a life impacting event such as bereavement, a health scare, redundancy or divorce. There could be something that happened in the past that you are not able to come to terms with and it’s now having a negative impact on your day-to-day life. Or you might need help with coping with stress and anxiety including panic attacks, phobias or other unsettling thoughts, feelings or behaviours.
Coaching is very helpful when you need to do personal problem solving, set goals and want to take responsibility for making things happen in your life. It can be particularly useful in situations where you feel held back, blocked or feel you are not realising your full potential for example at work.
These two approaches (therapy and coaching) are not mutually exclusive. Typically when I work with clients we will use both so that you are fully empowered to live a life you love.
How we will work together
After our initial free consultation, we will agree a number of planned, regular online sessions lasting for around 30 minutes. We will go through specific exercises designed to help you with the issues you want to resolve and future you want to create. We will also have general discussions about how you are feeling and enquire into why you might be experiencing those feelings both positive and negative.
What we talk about will vary depending on the problem, issues or future you want to tackle. It could include:
- your relationships (including with yourself)
- your emotions
- your childhood
- your thought
- your behaviour
- situations and events that you find difficult
I will support you to generate breakthrough(s) in those areas of your life and it is likely that there will be ‘homework’ between our sessions, where you try out some of the things we discuss. These ‘experiments’ form a very useful part of our work as they provide an opportunity to practice new ways of doing things. I also positively welcome failure as it often provides more opportunities for learning than anything else! All that matters is that you give it a go.
What is a breakthrough?
A breakthrough happens when you suddenly see something about yourself, the situation or others that you have never recognised before. What makes it a breakthrough is that having ‘seen’ it, you can’t go back to thinking about the issue in the same way ever again. It has the magical ability to open up a whole new view of the issue or situation and sometimes the world. Once this happens new actions become possible. You find yourself automatically doing or saying things that seemed impossible before the breakthrough. A whole new peace and freedom emerges and a new level of success becomes possible.
An example is my client Amanda*. Amanda came to me about problems she was having at work. As our discussion progressed it turned out that Amanda had had a very difficult relationship with her mother for as long as she could remember. She felt that her mother continuously criticised her and had never supported her. Over the years this had had an impact on her self-esteem and at the age of 31 she found that she dreaded visiting her mother or even calling her. She felt guilty and angry when she thought about her. The problem was giving her sleepless nights and she found getting up to go to work increasingly difficult. She was also making silly mistakes at work and her boss had started noticing that she was getting things wrong. This just made her more furious with her mother. ‘It’s all her fault!” she fumed, “If only she’d be normal and stop criticising me all the time.”
We spent a few sessions looking at what had actually happened to Amanda when she was growing up. At first Amanda was completely adamant that her mother was a cruel person who really didn’t love her and never had, but in one session Amanda suddenly recalled something she’d completely forgotten. An incident that had happened when she was six, and that she had interpreted as her mother ‘hating’ her, when actually she could see now that it didn’t mean that at all. She could now understand that her mother had tried her best, but that she’d refused her support. I watched as the ‘scales’ fell from Amanda’s eyes. She suddenly saw how difficult it had been for her mother when she was growing up.
The breakthough came when Amanda saw that her mother had done her best in very difficult circumstances. She was able to feel compassion for what her mother had gone through and realised that she was being extremely judgemental about her. It became clear that she needed to have a ‘proper’ conversation with her mother, and whilst she felt a bit scared about talking to her, she also felt that she really needed to do it.
When Amanda came to her next session she looked like a new person. She told me about the talk she’s had with her mother which ended up with both of them in tears. Amanda was stunned as her mother told her what it had been like for her and how it had broken her heart that she hadn’t ‘been able to get through’ to Amanda. Amanda saw that what she though of as criticism from her mother, was actually her mother showing care and concern for her. “It’s a real miracle!” she told me excitedly “I feel like I’ve got my mum back.” I was delighted, as I know her mother was probably equally as delighted and pleased.
Amanda got a promotion at work a few months afterwards. Her boss said the change in her outlook and attitude was remarkable and whatever it was Amanda was taking he wanted some too!
We all have examples our lives where we make people and things so wrong, that it impacts on our ability to see what’s really going on. This is when a breakthrough can make all the difference.
* Name changed to protect confidentiality
Will this work for me?
There is no reason why you won’t get significant and permanent results from the work we do together. The only proviso is that you are willing to do ‘the work’ and try things out in your life. I don’t promise that you will feel on top of the world all the time, sometimes the work we will do will be upsetting and it may take you a few days to assimilate it. The only people who this does not work for are those who refuse to participate fully with an open heart. Very occasionally people come expecting me to wave a ‘magic wand’ and make it all better. If this is the case then I will (gently) explain what I think is going on and invite the person to reconsider their expectations. We can then work together to make it feel less scary to to take responsibility for their own life.