Therapy and Coaching
After working as a nurse in various settings, then as a public mental health therapist, and next as a designer of stress management education groups for corporate health care employees, I wanted to move into a different conversational framework that embraced all of my professional experiences, that was grounded in health and possibility, that would facilitate client choices around positive life changes, and one where I could learn an expanded repertoire of tools to help clients move in directions they most wanted.
I was curious about whether this kind of practice existed. I was already an experienced group facilitator, educator, and therapist, and knew I wanted to use my current knowledge with both individuals and groups. I believed in the process of effective psychotherapy, having been both provider and consumer. Even so, I wanted to move into a different way of serving clients who were ready to take action and enhance their lives. I wanted to work with those who declared a vital desire for personal or professional change, and were ready to “get down to business.” Through the years, I was aware of many who didn’t fit criteria for mental illness yet wanted to live more fully, wanted to use their talents and skills more, wanted more courage and self-confidence, wanted to communicate to family and co-workers more effectively, wanted to increase their ability to manage stressors and take better care of themselves, to widen their circle of support, play more, and challenge beliefs holding them back.
I wanted a slightly different role as a change agent. Many of us go into therapy in search of an expert, and even though I believe wholeheartedly that this is often in the best interest of the client, I wanted to take a stance in which I could follow the client more than lead. A colleague recommended the Bark Coaching Institute. Since the theme of coaching seemed to keep cropping up, I paid attention and called Linda, and after talking to her, I knew I wanted to learn more. Two years later, after completing coach training, working with clients, being personally coached, starting my business, and becoming certified with the International Coach Federation, I knew I’d found the strong foundation I was looking for.
Although my background as therapist affords me a certain comfort level while listening to others’ emotions, as a coach I can also help clients shift feelings during the session—since emotions are at the heart of change. Coaching is based in the present—that is, conversations are based around what the client wants to shift now around an emotion or thought, rather than continuing to work through past hurts, resentments, traumas, or “fixing” problems.