Mind-Body, Body-Centered Coaching
How is it done?
The practice of mind-body coaching can be done in person, over the phone or Skype with powerful and sustainable results. All aspects of the coaching relationship is guided and informed by “sustainable” results. Setting a goal or goals isn’t always enough. Any great achievement requires a systematic plan and the discipline and dedication to carry it out. And it all starts with a tailored system or process (The Plan) to reach that goal.
We create a realistic process that works with your particular constellation of qualities, history and intentions. Bookshelves and internet blogs are overflowing with various processes or models designed to help you change. A multi-billion dollar, self-help and personal growth industry relies on folks buying the next “Plan” that will change their lives. While these books provide good pointers and insights, they often fail to precipitate fundamental change. And why? For one, the material or teachings aren’t generally integrated or assimilated to the point they are being lived through on a daily basis. Secondly, each person has different needs or issues that require a more specific coaching approach. My work is to assist you in identifying your essential blocks and then clearing them through a comprehensive, direct, yet simple coaching plan.
Before reading on, please keep in mind that if you are new to mind-body, process-oriented work, some of the following strategies, skills and techniques may seem incomprehensible or overwhelming. If this is the case, we will work slowly and methodically starting with the basics. The goal in my life and work is to always approach change from the easiest and most simple path possible. Given the high degree of stress in the world, our personal growth path should not be one more obstacle or challenge. Rather, we will approach all perceived problems from a place of compassion and loving-kindness.
We all live by scripts (Stories or Narratives) that have been written over the course of our lives through our culture and family interactions. These scripts tell us who we are and why we do what we do. This self-referential “emotionally charged” narrative determines all the various roles we assume, whether they are victim, rescuer or persecutor. Mind-Body Coaching gives you the tools to decipher this narrative, eliminate unhealthy, need-based behaviors, and better clarify not only what your truly want, but how to achieve your inner most desires. Patterns of behavior, attitudes, beliefs and conditioned tendencies are revealed and, when necessary, changed or eliminated.
No matter what the situation or how big or small the problem; we’d all like to work together in ways that support our happiness and joy. Our legacy is shaped by all of our decisions, all of our choices, and all of our behaviors.
Our capacity to act with courage and compassion in our homes will mirror how we behave towards our colleagues at work. Becoming proficient at living skillfully requires practice. Using a blend and integration of various strategic coaching methods, I will assist you in developing a more natural ability to harness your innate talents to live and relate from a more centered and balanced state.
The Mind-Body Coaching Method I use draws upon the teachings of the Hakomi Method of Psychotherapy, the coaching methods of Dr. Jerry Lynch (Peak Performance in Sports), Rick Hanson, Gary Weber as well as other studied modalities.
My own path in life has been to embody these principals as a deep and consistent part of who I am and how I work with others. The map is not the territory! My heat-felt commitment is guide you appopriately through your own inner terrain and towards expansive growth, unfoldment and lasting happiness.
The practice of Body-Centered Coaching is based on the premise that the body has a natural intelligence that can offer a new depth of learning and self-awareness. The body is an amazing source of information and an under-utilized resource for learning and change.
Our work will cultivate your intuition about the language and signals your body is sending. The average person just doesn’t pay attention to their body. Interpreting the information from your body and then integrating this information opens many more creative pathways for mastery in life. You will learn to use your body to better understand feelings, thoughts, perspectives, memories, intentions and intuition – many of the diverse aspects of the human experience.
The practice of body-centered coaching works with the inter-relationship of the internal and the external. The internal involves cultivating greater internal awareness: your body sensations, the signals and messages your body is sending. The external involves your external experience in the form of posture, gesture, or changes in body position (over 75% of all communication is nonverbal!)
What is Mindfulness?
Our coaching sessions may involve Mindfulness Training. Mindfulness means being aware and attune to body signals, feelings, emotions and thoughts without Judgment. Mindfully accessing the body’s natural wisdom is a learnable skill and is foundational to Body-Centered Coaching.
The Essence of the Mind-Body Coaching Method:
Simply being who you are is one of the greatest assets that you bring to your relationship with others. As you connect with your inner resources, strengths, values and wholeness, you become more congruent, supportive and powerfully creative in your life. It’s what brings your work alive and allows you to be yourself. Relating to others from a place of authenticity will feel more effortless, enjoyable and energy sustaining. This truly engenders being creative.
Being Present, Mindful & Centered
Being with yourself and with another person involves being present to the moment-by-moment experience. When you are present, your compassion, intuition, curiosity and creativity are more accessible to you. Being present quiets the mind and assists you to be more patient and calm. The practice of centering brings you into balance and stillness.
Being Mindful is an open, non-judgmental way of being conscious and aware of your inner self and the surrounding environment. It involves being non-attached to particular outcomes. It involves stepping back from habitual patterns and letting go of trying to make something happen. It’s about letting go and letting be.
Reflective Presence involves the mindful awareness of your present experience – both while it is happening and after the experience. Being reflective gives you the ability to move from reaction to creative response. Being reflective enables you to have a greater capacity for self-awareness and self-regulation. You can make healthier choices and be more attuned to your own needs and to the needs of others. This focus on self-reflective awareness for sustaining your own energy is often undervalued and yet it is the most creative and self-nourishing way to work effectively with others.
The body is a resource for learning and for creating sustainable change for yourself and others. The body is always responding to thoughts and feelings. The practice of body-centered coaching is based on the premise that the body has a natural intelligence and wisdom that can offer you a new depth of learning. It involves being curious and intuitive about the language and signals the body is sending. Your interpretation of the information and the ensuing integration opens many creative pathways for further growth. We are not interested in eliminating certain perspectives; the change needs to be experienced through the body.
The practice of body-centered coaching works with the inter-relationship of the internal and the external. The internal involves noticing the internal experience: your body sensations and the signals and messages your body is sending. The external takes the form of body posture, gesture or changes in body position. By involving the wholeness of the body, there is more data available and the learning becomes more fully integrated.
In service to your learning, I notice what is happening in my own body as well as intuitively sensing what is happening in your body. We work with the body’s wisdom to better understand feelings, thoughts, perspectives, memories, intentions and intuition – the many diverse aspects of the human experience.
The process of embodiment embraces the totality of body, mind and spirit to become a fully integrated person. It is about oneness and coming home to oneself.
The practice of body-centered coaching recognizes that body, mind and spirit are different aspects of your whole being, like different doorways into the same house. Sometimes your heart wants to go in one direction and your mind in another. When you pay attention to the totality of body, mind and spirit, you listen with all parts of your being – eyes, ears, heart, soul, body, and mind – encouraging all parts to be heard and respected. The individual parts partner with each other for the greatest good – for you, those around you and for the environment. You need to listen to your heart’s wisdom, as well as your mind. Although the body-centered coaching method focuses on the body as an avenue for insight and learning, the reality is that you are a whole person moving toward becoming fully Integrated!
The Skills & Techniques of the Body-Centered Coaching Method
Below is a brief overview of the many skills and techniques that may form the foundation of our work together. We may go into these skills and techniques in much greater depth through our sessions. It’s important to remember that they all overlap.
- Empowered Listening: Empowered listening is a way of being as a listener that has the power to impact your relationships in beneficial and supportive ways. When you are Present as a Listener, others will feel a greater sense of trust, safety; your level of good will, awareness and expertise as a listener can significantly affect their self-esteem and potential for growth.
- Contact the Storyteller, not the Story: As you become curious about the storyteller rather than the story, you begin to get a sense of the essence of how your attachment to the Story limits all aspects of your life.
- Begin Within: The more you are self-aware and in touch with your body experience, the more easily you can think, speak and act from a place of integrity. You become more connected with your true center when you shift away from ordinary awareness to self-awareness or what I call ‘being-awareness’. By learning the skill of mindfulness and the practice of centering, you will experience more balance and stillness. By being in the present moment you will have more access your intuition.
- Experimenting with Possibilities: This body-centered technique helps you access information that is not readily available through the intellect. Embracing the skill of mindfulness, you can tap into your body’s wisdom for added insight and learning.
- Decision-making: It is important for you to experience a felt-sense of a perspective by embodying it. You can ‘try on’ a number of perspectives to access your body wisdom and intuition. The body has a different way of giving needed information from its own perspective.
- Remembering the Resource: This body-centered technique helps you to realign with what has gone right in your life – your resources and your accomplishments. You will connect with your internal ‘natural resources’ – body, mind and spirit – and remember their resilience and strength. Remembering the resource is what I call establishing a Reference Point that you will return to again and again. You will use the Reference Point to handle all the challenging events that you encounter life.
- Embodying Key Words: Along with empowered listening, it is important that you listen to your language (both internal and external). We use language in the form of metaphors, word pictures and other words or phrases, which are expressive. Often our language use is representative of how our body is feeling and contains valuable information about how we experience the world. Often our language reflects internal states of fear, anxiety and doubt. This technique can be used both as a way of being with a feeling and speaking from that feeling. How often have you said yes when you meant no.
- The Power of Beliefs: Beliefs can be empowering, encouraging limitless possibilities in our lives. OR, beliefs can be disempowering, encouraging us to settle for limited possibilities in our lives. Beliefs form patterns of thoughts or attitudes that we have about ourselves and influence how we interpret our world. They are the filters through which we respond to life – creating our reality, thereby creating our behavior. You will utilize this technique for transforming disempowering beliefs and old patterns of behavior into empowering beliefs and behavior.
- Overcoming Con-fusions – (ambiguity): ‘Con-fusion’ refers to the way we have fused two things together in our mind, which are at odds with each other. An example would be the idea that if we cry it means that we are weak. So, when we shed some tears, we automatically assume that it’s a display of weakness. We then experience a degree of paralysis, which creates inner stress and tension. This technique assists you in separating the two ideas or concepts that have fused together. This is based on the idea that bringing something subconscious more fully into awareness is a prerequisite for change.
- Inspired Visualization: Inspired visualizations invites you to fully relaxed in a way that allows you to tune inward with an attitude of curiosity and non-attachment. During visualizations you may see an image, get an impression, imagine something, have sensation in your body, have tactile sensations, hear things, taste or smell something or access your intuition. This technique is a way to momentarily suspend what the mind has made up so you can be informed by this inner awareness. Often something that has not previously been thought about ‘comes into view’.
- Moving Toward Emotions: Sometimes you will come to the coaching session totally overwhelmed. The feelings are so strong that it’s obvious that this is the place where the coaching needs to begin. Or, strong emotions may emerge during a session. At this juncture, I will assist you in moving toward them rather than moving away from them. You will move into your body to explore the energy of the sensations. You are not interested in intellectual insight. We will firstly move into a calm and spacious state so you can feel safe with these sensations.
- Embracing the Signal: ‘Embracing the signal’ is primarily an attitude. It’s an attitude that says to our body, “I am listening. Thanks for signaling me to pay attention and to be mindful.” It’s important to cultivate curiosity about physical sensations: especially those of pain and discomfort. More often than not, these uncomfortable sensations are pushed away; there’s always another distraction to entertain so we don’t have to feel. Everything that is happening in the body can be something to become interested in; something we can learn from. We learn to use our problems as fuel for change.
- Movement: Physically moving your body allows for shifts in your body’s energy. Bodies are designed to move. When you remain in one position too long, your body can start to give you signals that it’s time for you to adjust your position – to stretch or to get up and move. The same applies when your mind is ‘stuck’ on a position for too long. You will learn to study and embody your current position so that many habitual body and thinking patterns can come into awareness. Movement is also used to help your distinguish what you need to say “yes” to and what they need to say “no” to. There are many body movement metaphors with which you can work.