Making A Change

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These last couple of weeks have really been something.  The Washington Nationals won the World Series but a well-loved dog passed away.  Old friends enjoyed a chance encounter, but the Washington Redskins lost…again.   A brother passed away unexpectedly, but a niece is newly married.  A cousin is finally home from the hospital, but a neighbor is struggling with a difficult medical problem. So many big races were won and lost too in this week’s elections.  And on top of it all, Brandy Station’s Shiloh Baptist Church burned.

On their face, these events may seem unrelated, with some clearly bad and others absolutely fabulous.  Whether it is a win or a loss, a change has occurred.  And somehow we must adjust.  Somehow we must find our new normal.

Some changes are of our own making, they are exactly the change we were hoping to make.  But now that it’s here; now what?  Some changes are hard fought, but yet still lost, leaving us with questions and maybe even guilt and regret.  Yet others are completely unexpected making them that much more bitter or sweet.  And then there are those changes that just are what they are but seem to instantly make or break our day.  But whether we win or we lose, something must be left behind.  To receive, requires an open hand.  And in so doing, we are often times required to let go of something else in the process.  We really do win some and lose some – sometimes all at the same time.

Experiencing a major loss can change you, but so can bringing home a big win.  With so many unanswered questions, we can become preoccupied with who, what, and how we will be on the other side of this transition.  For some, these thoughts can energize, providing anticipation and joy, while for others they can be draining, leaving us anxious and unsettled.

By the time you read this, my husband and I will have just celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary.  Many would say that marriage can change a person.  But I have a slightly different perspective.  Marriage for me has been the container for all of life’s ups and downs.  My husband and I are like two rocks under the flow of the river.  Sometimes the water runs rough, while at other times it pours gently over the rocks.  But with each pass of the current, the rocks bump against each other until their sharp edges are rubbed smooth.  Eventually, with the passage of enough time, the nature of those rocks is revealed.  They are precious gems, who would have simply remained rocks if not for one having the other through all the ebb and flow of life.

Change is happening to us and for us every day, whether we expect it, want it, or are ready for it.  We can do it alone, but I’m learning that it is best done in relationship with others.  The burning of our community’s church is a strong reminder of this.  It is a reminder that it is not about the building, it is about the people. Whether with your friend, your spouse or sibling, your neighbor, or your team, each win or loss comes with it an invitation to come together. Not only for others but for yourself.

Bill Wither’s old song, “Lean On Me” says it best:

You just call on me when you need a hand

We all need somebody to lean on

I just might have a problem that you’ll understand

Lean in and lean on each other.  That is our purpose.  Together is how we shine.

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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.