Coaching vs Counseling/Psychotherapy

As the seeker of services what you want to accomplish is of paramount importance.

Critical Q: What’s happening today?

Bridging where you are and where you want to be starts with getting some clarity about what you really want right now, which in turn leads to more clarity about what you need now. Once you have the essentials, like food, shelter, clothing, needs may be less urgent, always in flux.

Change is the constant. Needs change, so you might want to ask yourself, “What do I need right now?”

A licensed mental health professional or other clinician, or personal development advisor may be qualified &/or credentialed to provide both coaching and counseling services. When you work with someone who is qualified to provide both types of services, together you will create a contract, where you sign off on an initial agreement for services. When the contract you create is for coaching services, the service provider may document why coaching is a better fit for you currently than counseling. The coach will help you assess & pinpoint what you need now during the coaching conversation. The contract might include a written distinction between coaching & counseling services and might include a statement that if the need for counseling arises you will have to seek an alternate provider for that specific role. In other words a coach will not simultaneously be your counselor and a counselor will not be your coach.

Healing Relationships with Conscious Communication

When relationship conflicts arise we become troubled & preoccupied. It can be painful. The stress can creep into and permeate other aspects of our day to day existence. With a problem that doesn’t seem to have an immediate or obvious solution, we can begin to feel helpless and hopeless—like there’s no solution.

And yet, there probably is a solution. In fact, there may be a quite simple solution that’s fairly easy to implement. Two willing people have to participate. If that’s a challenge, and at least one of you is clear you want to make headway, be persuasive and persistent or involve a therapist as facilitator. I’m going to tell you how this process works so you can go ahead and turn things around with no further ado. This process optimally employs a therapist/facilitator guide, but do go ahead on your own if you are unable to employ a therapist to assist you.

Agree to the process and commit dedicated time in each of your schedules to seeing this process through. You must agree to the rules and agree to trust the process. You’ll need at least three 1-2 hr. blocks of uninterrupted time and privacy. Phones and other distractions should be switched off.

Begin each session by quietly and consciously acknowledging to yourself that the habits and patterns of your thinking and behavior have been established as a response to your unique circumstances. So, each of the communicators is recognized as inhabiting a unique little ‘bubble’ or ‘culture’, and doesn’t perceive or experience things exactly as you do. This is a good time to think of ‘the telephone game’.

A point of conflict, conversation, or issue is chosen as the ‘work’. The first person to have their turn (A), will use their session to articulate their point of view, the conversation or the issue as they see it, describing the situation as fully as possible, aiming to capture and express their own thoughts meaning, understanding and experience as fully as possible, starting from the beginning, moving to the middle and finishing at the end. The partner (B) listens intently, staying focused and undistracted, and attempting to temporarily inhabit the speaker’s bubble, with an intention to recapture the experience as if they had been A. Listener (B) is not allowed to interrupt speaker (A).

When A is finished, B’s job is to retell the story as if B is now A who has just told it. B is to recapture (act and tell) with as much of the same language and expression as possible, in an honest attempt to recreate in as much detail as possible. The point is to elicit a precise match with A till A feels B ‘got’ them, till A senses that as the speaker A was fully understood.

A can help B recapture A’s experience till it’s complete and A agrees with the retelling. Where there is discrepancy and mismatch, it is A’s job to clarify their meaning to B, till B tells it in a way that accurately captures what A was trying to describe. (“not exactly”, “that’s not quite what I said”, “I described how I was feeling like this…..” “I used these words…..” would be examples of clarifying).

There is no time frame which is ideal for this process. With 90 minutes set aside there is more flexibility when the time taken is much less, or lengthening it to 120 minutes if need be, or moving on to the next step. Longer than 2 hrs. at a stretch is not advised.

For the 2nd part of the process the roles are reversed, and B becomes the designated person to capture in words their point of view, and experience of the same situation. Now A listens, and is not allowed to interrupt B,

as B tells their story with a beginning, a middle and an end. B will help clarify for A when it has become A’s time to recapture B’s view and experience and parrot it back exactly for B.

The third block of time in this process can serve for both A & B to appreciate the effect of inhabiting separate ‘bubbles’, and to consider potential areas and avenues for compromise. It can also be a time for expressing gratitude and appreciations.

Potential benefits:  empathy, reconnection, building trust and intimacy, deeper ‘knowing’ of the other, lifting the sense of being burdened, empowerment, supporting intuitive knowing and inner wisdom,  grounding, and potential for greater lightness of being.

Relationships as Mirrors

In the beginning each of us was birthed into existence at the tribal level. So much so that our very survival was dependent on caretaking from others. Our story in adulthood is something quite different. In fact, sometimes our very survival can depend upon our ability to be independent and withstand separation from significant others.

Now we have awareness of an essential human dilemma. We must reconcile both facets of our existence. We exist in a duality. We are tribal and we are unique, independent and individual. And we are faced often, with a call to create a bridge between these ways of being. And again, and again, and again, the building of bridges is required of us, in all facets of life. Whether we are at work or at play, with our families and friends, or in our solitude, creating or tuning into spirit, we simply must choose how to apportion our precious time and reconcile the many-faceted needs that these two dimensions of our being demand to have fulfilled.

We each manage this contradiction between the needs of belonging and the needs of being separate with varying degrees of challenge and success. When the challenge is experienced as high, our existence can be troubled and pained. There is also great opportunity for awareness and self-reflection. One way to open up and expand our heart-felt need to join with others is to consider how relationships exist in our lives as mirrors. When we look at difficult relationships let’s inquire of ourselves what is the perception we are having of the other? How do we judge them? What are the qualities that we find difficult?

How might the negative quality we are perceiving be viewed in a positive light? How might we have disowned that part of ourselves? When we are open to looking at difficult relationships in this way we open ourselves to the possibility of incorporating more balance into our own being.

This holiday time of year can bring high relief to painful relationships past and present. Beginning to view how each difficult encounter can serve as an opportunity to become more informed of disowned parts of ourselves and reclaim our wholeness can lessen the negative impact and infuse us with a sense of the positive.

How To Manage Your State When You’re Being Lied To

The intuitive knowing self is a tremendous source of personal empowerment for people who are able to easily access and trust that aspect of their being. Unfortunately the process of turning away from our intuition often begins in early childhood as we undergo the conditioning of the social self.


And while we readily acknowledge a measurability of the proficiency of our other five senses we turn somewhat in the opposite direction when it comes to the ‘sixth’ sense. Thus concessions are granted for those who may find themselves ‘challenged’ to one degree or another in the realm of sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell. However, we barely acknowledge intuition’s existence outside of the ‘intuitive superstar’ category. And in that realm there’s often a negative connotation. If our intuition is not conditioned out of us, we may have a tendency to keep it hidden or even to deny it.


When we’re being lied to we often ‘sense’ it. But rather than feeling empowered out of trust in our inner knowing we are more likely to feel vulnerable and defenseless. Being lied to can leave us in a state that might be described as ’emotionally ambushed’. Confused, disempowered, chaotic, and inadequate, are characteristic emotions that might ensue.


Some ways to regain our emotional equilibrium and regain contact with our own power source might be found in the following:


  • Becoming still and going inside for guidance one could pose the question, “What is the opportunity here for me to find?
  • If there are current feelings of ‘loss’ showing up try to take an unbiased observer perspective to discover whether or not there really is a loss. Perhaps there is another way to view how you are feeling.


  • Ask yourself how this person who is lying might be reflecting back to you some ways in which you might be personally in a ‘stuck’ place of rigidity or inflexibility.


  • How might retaining this ‘relationship’ as it currently is, be keeping you separate from your deeper intuitive connection to a universal intelligence or energy?


  • What can you do to affirm your connection to this source without giving power to the person who is lying? By handing over your power to another, you are also acting as a vehicle for your own disconnection?


  • You can ask yourself, “Was there something about the messages that the person lying was giving you farther back in time from this incident that you might have intuitively questioned? And had you paid attention at that time would have constituted honoring your deeper self.


  • Asking for help in managing your state can be beneficial. Most people will recognize the disempowered and disorienting state of mind that can result from the experience of being lied to. They can usually relate.


Try to remember that when you find the way to truly honor your deeper self in this situation you will more easily transition into a forgiving and detached state with roots in your empowered self. From this deeper place the actions of another have a tendency to not really impact you at all.


R.D. Laing, from Self and Others, 1961 tells us that “Truth is literally that which is without secrecy, what discloses itself without a veil.”

Gratitude Makes A Difference

Keeping a gratitude journal can serve a truly useful purpose when the blues hit. By remembering to be grateful everyday and taking a few minutes to jot down 4 or 5 things every evening that you’ve appreciated during the day you will have a reserve store of ‘goodies’ to draw from in times when you’re feeling down. The mind thinks in pictures and in the moment of appreciation a snapshot of the grateful moment is captured until it’s written down. Over time memories fade but a surprising thing often happens when reviewing the posts from a gratitude journal. Upon reading the written summaries capturing the times when we’ve felt grateful it’s as if that moment happens for us all over again, and we’re back in the ‘scene’. A depressed mood can be instantly lifted at such moments. A snapshot in time from the original scene ‘re-presents’ itself. At such times it’s possible to feel once again infused with joy.