Long Live the Boogie Man

My brother John used to live in the linen closet.

Not really. He was just pretend.

But he was the best brother anyone could ever have. Not only was he to blame when things went wrong, but he was my problem solver, and my protector too.

There was a mean girl in the neighborhood (let’s call her Edwina) who threatened to beat me up. I admit, I was intimidated by her, but I couldn’t tell her that. So I calmly told her about John.  I explained that he was unpredictable. No one ever knew when he would come out or what he would do, but he meant business. Of course Edwina wasn’t falling for it. So I told her, “Just ask my mom”.

Somehow, right on cue, and without skipping a beat, my mom knew the deal. She told her about “my brother”. She led her to the linen closet door and explained that he was very protective. Even though he could not be seen most of the time, he was there watching out for me; available anytime I needed him.

The effect on Edwina was visible almost immediately. I suppose she thought we were just nuts and wanted to get away from us as fast as her legs could carry her. But I choose to believe instead that she realized that whether she could see him or not, she was always accountable to “my brother”.

Just like that, I never again heard a cross word from Edwina.

What a difference “John” made for me too. There was something about having someone that was all mine.  Somehow with him in the closet, I knew that everything would be okay, even when things looked pretty grim.

Of course, I knew he wasn’t real. But that day, sharing “John” with my mom, somehow brought him to life, just a little bit.  Without exchanging a word, my mom and I were speaking the same language.  We knew what was necessary under the circumstances. A little backup. That’s all we needed.

The sad thing is that the older we get, the bigger the boogie man gets. When I was little, he only existed under my bed. But now he is all the things yet to be done, all the bills to be paid, all the responsibilities, and all of the consequences if I can’t keep all the balls in the air.

Then, I remember Edwina and “my brother” John. As crazy as it may seem, somehow John provided a power that I didn’t know was there.  I have to assume that this moment was my first experience with faith.  It was then that I realized that my something “greater than myself” was not just out there somewhere, but was actually living within me, and available at all times; good or bad.

It sounds strange, but I remember sitting in front of that linen closet, almost talking to “my brother” through the door. It was as though we grew closer after the encounter with Edwina. I trusted him…er, I mean, it more.

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Psychological coaching is grounded in the art and science of psychology and is in many ways very similar to traditional psychotherapy.  They both utilize knowledge of human behavior, motivation, behavioral change, and interactive techniques in order to help a client move from where they are to an improved state of being. The differences between psychological coaching and traditional psychotherapy are related to their goals, focus, and perspective. Traditional psychotherapy seeks to diagnose and treat emotional and behavioral conditions, with the therapist serving as "expert" in support of the client. Unfortunately, many have considered the pursuit of traditional psychotherapy to be stigmatizing, in part because of this perspective of the client being "broken" and in need of repair.  Psychological  coaching offers a different point of view.  The coaching psychologist is more likely focused on developing a collaborative relationship, with the client in the "driver seat", with the perspective that the client is creative, whole, and resourceful.  The clients' capacity for wellness and healing is assumed, encouraging them to move more quickly and directly through obstacles to their happiness, success, and life satisfaction.  

As a Coaching Psychologist, my goal is to support you in creating awareness so that you can access your own skills and inner resources in order to manage the challenges you face now and into the future.  While our work together may touch on past traumas and psychiatric concerns, they will be addressed from the perspective of your strengths, rather than with a focus on ill-ness or disability.  In our larger community, it is not unusual for individuals to experience mild to moderate mental health issues, making psychological coaching an accessible and viable option.  If, in the course of our work together, either you or I have reason to believe that your mental or emotional health concerns are better addressed by another service provider, a referral will be made.  

As a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, I have 20 years of ongoing training and experience providing, consulting and supervising others in the provision of psychological services.  However,  as of now, the life coaching field is unregulated, allowing anyone to be a life coach - even those without training in the behavioral sciences.  As well, the coaching field is considered to lack a solid base in research, creating disagreement on educational and training standards. The International Coach Federation (ICF) is working to change this.  In order to ensure that your coach is not counseling others beyond their expertise, it is suggested that when considering a life coach, individuals  should seek coaches who are trained or ICF certified.  Along with my license as a Clinical Psychologist, I am currently enrolled in MentorCoach® L.L.C., one of the oldest ICF accredited coach training programs, and one that will enable me to be an ICF certified coach.