personal development Articles

What is the Difference Between Coaching and Counseling?

When I first started my career in counseling, I had never really heard of coaching as a career within mental health. I knew about it in terms of “executive business coaching” and even had read a book on this subject when I started working for American Century Investment Company. Well, I did not like dealing with money and I found that investing money wasn’t something I enjoyed.

I made a career switch and thought I was going to combine my talent for counseling with my HR degree and blaze a path in HR. I very quickly found out my idea was not going to work and thus another career change occurred.

In the end, I wished for some direction or mentorship to help me understand what I was doing or not doing. This is where coaching comes in for many people who have had this same or a similar struggle.

To be clear, I have never branded myself as a career or life coach, only as a mental health provider. But I like the fact that with training and understanding, this is something to add to my skill set in the future.

I like seeing the change in my clients as they find their new stride, passion, and healing. I think, as mental health providers, we can combine our talents into the best of both worlds and offer clients the ability to be coached and healed, and do it all from a C...

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3 Elements for Everyone to Have in Clear Personal Development Goals

“I got through it, I feel fine,
I went to school and did my time,
In a sense I'm out, in a sense I'm free
to be what I want to be.”

– MxPx, “Doing Time”

A child of the 90’s, I grew up on a heavy dose of punk rock and emo music. My favorite band, thanks to my older brother who guided 90 percent of my music interest until I was at least 16, was MxPx. A Christian pop-punk band from my native Washington, they were easy to latch onto.

I remember going to my first concert at 13 to see them, back when cigarettes were still allowed indoors. Luckily, I did not have to convince my mother that the overwhelming aroma of stale smoke and sweat that clung to my clothes after the concert was evidence of any of my own indiscretions. She was there in the back singing along at the top of her lungs herself.

MxPx claimed a major role in forming my teenage philosophies and giving me direction. The first song I ever learned on guitar was “Punk Rawk Show” from their sophomore album Teenage Politics. In short, they were a big part of my life (and I may just be listening to them as I write this today).

As I have grown, my philosophies and beliefs have matured and become more nuanced. However, there is some insight ...

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God’s Forgiveness: Is it for Me?

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.1 John 1:9-10

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.Ephesians 4:32

Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.Matthew 18:21-22

When I have worked with individuals and with families, forgiveness has often arisen as a stumbling block in the path of progress. It’s a simple concept, to forgive, but often so hard to truly do.

In marriages, the inability to forgive can begin to eat away at the foundation of the relationship to a greater extent than the act that needs forgiving, itself. For individuals, holding onto anger and bitterness towards others can dampen moods. Holding onto anger directed inward, even more so.

The inability to forgive acts like an anchor, keeping us from growing and living a m...

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The Importance of Play as a Balance to Work

Many successful and joyful people have worked with dedication and responsibility on their life’s work, only to find that along the way somewhere, they have lost their love of life.

The opposite of play is not work – the opposite of play is depression. Over the long haul, when these spice-of-life elements of play are missing, what is left is a dulled soul.

Play and work are mutually supportive. Neither one can survive without the other. We need newness of play, its sense of flow, and being in the moment. We need the sense of discovery and liveliness that it provides. We also need the purpose of work, the economic stability it offers, the sense that we are doing service for others, that we are needed and integrated into our world.

And most of us need also to feel competent. Even people who are independently wealthy and never need to work a day in their lives find that they need to volunteer or donate to good causes to feel that sense of connection and purpose.

The quality that work and play have in common is creativity. In both we are building our world and creating new relationships, neural connections, and objects. Respecting our biologically programmed need for play can transform work. Play is nature’s greatest tool for creating new neural networks and for reco...

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Effective Coaching Techniques to Overcome Burnout and Enjoy your Work Again

Most people I work with who are feeling “burnt-out” describe feeling like being a gerbil on a hamster wheel. Some describe it as that panicked feeling, a fluttering, or a “wash of overwhelm” that is difficult to manage, and has started affecting their everyday way of living.

For confidentiality, we’ll describe the following client as ‘Nancy.’ Nancy is a healthcare provider who came to me for burnout coaching and anxiety counseling during a crisis.

She was balancing over 70 hours a week in an emergency room, and had arrived at a point where she had driven her car to a cliff and contemplated continuing off of it.

She felt drained, rarely replenished, suffered from extensive ‘mom-guilt’ for not being able to see her kids and family anymore, and was no longer keeping up with the demands of work. On top of it all, her entire work was focused on helping people in trauma.

She was exhausted.

Her first instinct was to blame herself, and maybe you’ve been here: “I should find a way to make it all work. There’s really no time to take time off right now because nobody is available to cover. My kids are angry, and my husband and I don’t talk much anymore.”

The reality is, according to Gallup.com (2017), people in the United States work longer hour...

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Creating a Professional Development Plan that Works For You

Thirty years ago there was a phrase bouncing around the halls of business: aim at nothing and you’ll hit it every time. Without a plan, we live by impulse, taking whatever comes along, essentially leaving the courses of our lives to chance. If you are naturally controlling, you probably already have all kinds of plans in your life. For you, I would say hold the outcome lightly.

Work with whatever diligence you can muster, try everything you can think of, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking your life is over if you don’t get what you want. Nothing kills joy like never being grateful for what you have, but it is in our nature to want things to improve.

If you have been feeling dissatisfaction in your work, now might be a good time to create a professional development plan. If you are in a committed, long-term relationship, be sure to include your significant other in the planning process, or you may have a rude awakening when you reach the end.

Where to Start with a Professional Development Plan

Considering changes in your profession can be a wonderful, energized time of evaluating possibilities. Before doing anything else, if you believe in a higher power, it is good practice to invite that higher power into your process.

This helps you remember that...

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What is an Anxiety Attack and What Should I Do If I Have One?

You may have heard someone at work or a social function say, “I feel like I’m having an anxiety attack.” Usually if you can say that, you aren’t actually having an anxiety attack.

You may be on the verge of an anxiety attack, but an actual anxiety attack is usually quite debilitating. The symptoms may come on suddenly, like a panic attack, or more gradually, but are no less distressing when severe, and may include:

  • chest pains
  • racing or pounding heart
  • feeling faint, weak, or dizzy
  • difficulty taking a deep breath, or rapid breathing
  • feeling sweaty or having chills
  • a sense of impending doom or terror

Some victims of anxiety attacks say it feels like they are having a heart attack. When experiencing these kinds of symptoms, a trip to the emergency room is a wise precaution, just to make sure something more serious is not happening.

Physical Processes of Anxiety

The human body is equipped with a remarkable defense mechanism—the sympathetic nervous system—that kicks on in moments of crisis. When we are under threat, we may have a split second to decide whether to defend (fight) or flee (flight). At that moment, the entire body prepares to go into action.

Imagine walkin...

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