FAQ’s About Psychotherapy and Coaching

What is the difference between life coaching and psychotherapy?

Both release blocks and open the world.

Psychotherapy is about dismantling and healing. It is the still focus on what’s holding you back, creating anxiety, frustration and repeating patterns. It’s being honest about the pain you are holding. About finding the light inside fear. Psychotherapy gives a safe space to speak about and lay boundaries around a traumatizing event, circumstance, fear or tendency. Therapy finds echoes of the past and adaptations which no longer work and we call them out as echoes – NOT reality. We find how the difficulties are signposts in your larger life’s story. What is this situation evolving and cultivating within you? There will be very little if any homework.

Coaching is about inspired action. Coaching is momentum. You’re moving on and finding the life you were born to live. Dreaming, clarifying intentions and dissolving challenges (mental and circumstantial) between you and your right life. Developing life skills, techniques and awareness you can use for the rest of your life. We get to the thoughts behind the blocks. We locate the goals, and more importantly, the big megawatt why behind the goals which will fuel you onwards. There will be juicy, soul-inspiring homework between sessions.

That said, as both of these approaches inform all work that I do, you will have the benefit of both regardless of which approach you feel most drawn to. I’m on the proactive side of therapist and as a coach I go a bit deeper and am more of a motivator than drill sergeant. Many clients combine therapy and coaching – and we switch gears depending on the presenting issue.

How long will it take?

This depends on how big the change you want to make is and how open you are to change. Most change happens little by little, and then all at once.

I recommend an absolute minimum of four sessions to really sink our teeth into an issue.

I’m very flexible on how sessions are spaced out. Some clients find coming every week most beneficial, while others prefer bi-weekly. Coaching clients often find that once we’ve established a game plan, a twice monthly appointment gives them time to put their action steps into play while keeping them accountable and on track.

If the focus is on psychotherapy I strongly recommend we have at least four sessions on a weekly basis before then spacing them out if that is what you would like to do.

On average it takes six weeks to break an old habit and six weeks to embed a new one. New neural pathways are being formed. Immediate changes don’t always last. We need time to work out kinks. Time to welcome the hiccups as we go along so we can devise sustainable solutions. Let me say that again: SUSTAINABLE.

We’re designing touchstones, habits and new patterns to sustain you for the rest of your life. All techniques, information, healthy habits, untangling of inner horrors and defunct stories, coping strategies and motivating forces which we will weave into your life are designed to transform the areas you’re most concerned with – forever.

You’re re-authoring your life. This is seriously fun and meaningful. We want to go in deep and work from the inside out. Your new life will be taking root and growing to bear fruit.

Will you be able to tell me what I need to do?

No – but I’ll be able to help you find the answer within yourself. You know what to do already. The answer is just hiding beneath loads of defunct stories that you’re carrying around.

My main job is to ask really good questions.

We will find the patterns which are leaching away your energy and redirect that energy to areas you would like to expand.

We will look at your life from both the strategic eagle-eye view and the practical mouse-eye view.

You do all the deciding.

Why not just confide in a friend?

Friends are fantastic. Hopefully your friends have your best interests at heart. They are invested in you. You share a past and similar experience. They’re right in there with you.

As your therapist and coach, I also have your best interests at heart. However, I’m outside your life looking in from a different perspective. From here it’s easier to see the big picture. I’m not immersed in years of assumptions based on your past. I’m not invested in your story.

Through years of experience I’ve cultivated very open ears and mind. Through years of training I’ve curated a broad collection of transformative tools and techniques for working through all manner of situations. Mind-openers and exercises to help see you through end-of-rope times, confusion, anxiety, uncertainty, life changes, illness. I’ve met the ugliest of experiences and stories and helped find the light within them.

I’ll call you out on things and keep you accountable if that’s what will change a slippery situation. I hold steady if what you need is a mooring point to deal with an emotional hurricane that’s stripped you of your own calm centre.

You can safely and confidentially be honest in your sessions, without fear of damaging a relationship. You can express views that may be confrontational. This is a safe space to play with new ways of being. Start down new paths without alarming people invested in who you always have been.

How will I know if this is for me?

Chances are this is for you if you’re excited by the opportunity to show up and be:

  • Authentic
  • Willing to open your mind and heart to new perspectives
  • Willing to take responsibility for where you are and where you’re going
  • Honest with yourself and others
  • Comfortable with both play and stillness – or yearning to be so
  • Ready to make changes, not justifications
  • Excited to try out new approaches between sessions
  • Someone who prefers laughter to harsh criticism
  • A person whose heart beats faster reading these words from Steve Jobs:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Why does the past matter now?

Certain events in childhood, and even the more recent past send out a ripple effect that still works upon us now.  Especially if that event was traumatic. The earliest of experiences have the added complications of often being preverbal – and thus harder to articulate.  They show up as more of a felt sense. Without words to translate them into our conscious mind we just feel a lurking presence and what may seem like a senseless foreboding.

We cannot go back, but we can change the force and the impact of the ripple.

What is the subconscious and why/how would one work with something so vast and unknowable?

It is almost impossible to make a lasting change in our lives using only the conscious rational mind.

The subconscious speaks in images.  We connect by interacting through active imagination and working with the images that come through dreams. We write into it, draw, paint, dream into it.

We take the stories, ancestors, horrors from generation and our own lives and heal past the broken heart and shame.

And transform.