Can you guess which of the following paid occupations I’ve NOT had?
1. Law clerk
2. Mental health counselor
That was…a trick question. I’ve had all of them. But I want to talk a bit about my work as a mental health counselor.
In the early 1990s, I was hired by a residential addiction treatment facility for women who were pregnant or had children under age three. My job was initially to create a relapse prevention program that offered additional resources and tools to residents who were survivors of trauma (most notably child and domestic abuse). I then began counseling these women, as an adjunct to other required therapy, on how they could cope with their manifestations of trauma instead of self-medicating.
In this facility, we focused on those who self-medicated with drugs or alcohol, but there are many more who self-medicate with shopping, gaming, gambling, sex, relationships, self-harm, food, exercise, and on and on. It was the beginning of trauma-informed addiction recovery there.
Fast-forward thirty years and I’ve healed decades of abuse I endured. I’ve raised two children to healthy, well-balanced adulthood. I’ve been through my own intense trauma treatment with EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) and Somatic Experiencing®. I live a trauma-informed life.
I am not a mental health counselor anymore. I’m not licensed and I don’t practice therapy. I also don’t consider myself a healer. I do, however, offer coaching.
What’s the difference?
Here’s my take:
A therapist helps a person heal their present by addressing what led them to this point (e.g.: trauma, core beliefs, emotional avoidance, etc.). Especially in clinical settings, it requires a “problem/ solution with measurable progress” paradigm. It is the surgery of the psyche, going after the root of the issue.
A coach helps a person change their present by addressing their thoughts, beliefs, and actions in the present moment and moving forward. It can operate as both problem/solution and also support/ celebration/accountability. This is the physical therapy of the psyche.
A healer helps a person change their present by addressing their energetic and physical health in the moment and moving forward. This is the medicine of the psyche.
While there are some overlaps, they largely have their own areas of focus.
When I’m coaching, we honor the past and acknowledge that it has an impact, sometimes profound. But we don’t go digging for it. We don’t go back to the past to try to heal it. That’s for therapy, which I usually recommend be trauma-informed.
Instead, we focus on the now. And that’s where intuition and soul guides—mine and yours—come in. Because guides can see patterns and what can happen if you continue to engage in the same patterns of thought, belief, and behavior. (Some humans, including me, can do that too. Guides are better at it.)
If you’ll pardon a food metaphor, you’ve been picking at a plate of rubber chicken, cold lima beans, and undercooked Brussels sprouts for a lot of your life, because that’s what other people told you that you were supposed to want. That’s the life that would please others. It doesn’t please you.
You want a plate of, well, your ideal meal. Food that makes your taste buds come alive and your brain sing with dopamine. Some people—and sometimes society in general—have told you that you can’t have that ideal meal because of who you are, or because of your race, your income, your religion, your sexuality, your gender, your job, your weight, your intelligence, your mental or physical health, or something else.
Working with your guides and/or your intuition is the fork or spoon (no sporks here) that is going to get that ideal meal to your mouth, bite by divine bite. (Usually not all at once; divine stomachaches are not a walk in the park.)
And I offer more than one-on-one coaching, because not everyone is into that. I’ve been writing articles for years on these topics, and I have a new book coming out later this year: 10 Things Your Soul Guides Want You to Know: Especially if You Have Anxiety, Depression, Chronic Pain, or PTSD* *With arguments and questions from a human with all four
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