The Gifts of Nature

Photo by Magda Ehlers

Just call me Doctor Dolittle.  In the last two weeks, I have had the pleasure of being fluttered by two butterflies.  I have crossed paths with two bunny rabbits.  I have been up close and personal with two deer and witnessed a third nursing her two fawns.  I’m afraid to say it, but to see it on paper, this sounds less like Dr. Dolittle, and more like Noah’s Ark.   In either case, it is quite remarkable.

Yes, I know, this nature has always been here.  It was here long before me, and God willing, it will be here long after.  But what is remarkable is that I’m noticing her.  A few weeks back, a neighbor and friend stopped me as I returned from one of my morning walks.  We spent some time chatting and talking about the quiet and stillness that comes from walking in nature.  We agreed that it is a time to think.  In talking to him, I realized it to be when I am most creative, allowing clarity when I am feeling stumped or stuck.  I’d known that to be true for others but sharing that observation with him confirmed that it was also true for me.

One woman I worked with described nature as her spirituality.  She admitted that she too had never really noticed nature before.  Her appreciation came only after she lost her home to the power of mother nature.  This experience brought a new respect for its destructive force to be sure.  But it also spoke to her curiosity, allowing her to be in tune with herself and her own life in a way she had never been before.

It turns out, she’s not the only one.  This article from Positive Psychology.com https://positivepsychology.com/positive-effects-of-nature/ summarizes so many of the benefits to our physical, psychological, social, and spiritual selves.

But like all blessings, we must be open to the gifts that nature has to offer.  Initially I was so annoyed by the fluttering of the butterflies.  I was busy walking, focused deeply on my own thoughts.  I did not have time to be bothered by them.  But they persisted.  Very gradually, I relaxed and noticed them.  I became aware of their vibrant yellow in contrast with the bold black markings on their wings.  I can’t say for sure, but it seems to me that these encounters are for a reason.  They have sharpened my awareness, allowing me to see and hear more clearly in other aspects of my life.

It was so funny to me that as I walked with my dog, she noticed none of this.  She didn’t even notice the doe in our path directly in front of us.  I suppose these moments were meant more for me than for her.  Just as in the destruction of a woman’s home, she is noticing and hearing and seeing what is meant only for her. It seems in these periods of transition, of change, whether forced upon us or chosen, we are most keen to get the message.  The change of seasons may be no different.  As hot as it has been, we are ready for the cool weather of fall.  And when the bitter cold is upon us, we will wish for the heat of summer again.

I do not know what this season will bring, none of us do.  But nature has a way of letting us know we are not alone.  As was quoted in https://positivepsychology.com/positive-effects-of-nature/,  she shows us how it’s done, if we are willing to notice:  “All the trees are losing their leaves, and not one of them is worried”.

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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.