My Approach to Helping
I work as a Stress Management Coach, and in that work I come from three basic core beliefs.
The first, is that interpersonal work is most effective when it is a collaborative effort between coach and client. For true healing to take place, the focus of the work, as well as the pacing and depth of it, need to be part of an open and ongoing collaborative dialogue.
The second core belief I work from, is that each individual has within them the knowledge and resources necessary to move toward a more fulfilled life. My job as a coach is to guide a client to identify and strengthen those resources, thereby enhancing the ability to better address current life challenges.
The third, is that emotional wellness comes from a balance of mind, body and spirit. It is not just behavior, but the integration of thought , feeling and spirit that needs to be in place in order for an individual to move forward in life.
How My Own Struggles Made Me a Better Therapist
I dread my struggles as much as anyone. Even today, when I know they are an opportunity to grow and learn, I still dread them and want to avoid dealing with them. This is normal and natural for anyone. Struggles are painful, and there is natural inclination for us all to want to lean away from pain, as opposed to leaning into it. From 20+ years of a mindfulness practice, I have gotten to a place in my life where I avoid less and lean in more, where I see how utterly indispensable my struggles have been to my growth as a person, to my growth as a therapist. This perspective gives me both a deep-seated understanding of just how difficult the situation is that the client presents, as well as a sense of the possibilities for the client should she or he choose to move through experience. Pain and possibility--facing one opens the door to the other.
My View on the Nature of 'Disorders'
Such amazing changes have taken place since I first began working in the healthcare field over 40 years ago. What was once a field dominated by the traditional medical and disease/"disorder" model of interpersonal work, has given way to a much wider range of more wellness-oriented and strengths-based treatment orientations. Back in early days, a psychotherapist generally focused on "pathology", what was "wrong" with a client, and in so doing, dictated the nature and course of treatment in order to "fix" the client. As time has gone on, however, more and more treatment providers like me have seen the wisdom and value in transitioning away from this "disorder" and power-differential-based perspective of interpersonal work to a clinically collaborative "strengths"-based one. This client-centered approach has as its foundation, the belief in the capacity of all people to grow and change. From this perspective, not only does the roadmap to that growth lie within the client him/herself, but the intuitive wisdom to know how best, and at what pace, to move toward that change does as well. With clients free to choose an approach that best meets their needs, and working in collaboration with a provider on goals of their own choosing, clients can move much more quickly and effectively through whatever mental health challenges (vs. the pathology-oriented lens of "Disorders") are getting in the way of a having life worth living.