Coaching is a field that attracts former (and current) social workers, counselors, psychologists and marriage and family therapists; coaching is attractive because it’s effective and it addresses the needs of many people who do not need a mental health diagnosis or treatment, they simply have a goal in mind they want to accomplish and need some help getting there: they need a different perspective, a helpful corrective, a different option, a possible solution and maybe some validation for their struggle. All of us at some point get stymied by our life problems: they come in many unexpected forms such as in-laws, children, co-workers, bosses, the legal system, illness, bankruptcy, our own inertia, our private condemnations and our own self-sabotage. They bedevil us. Often we feel shame about how we just can’t been them.
Coaching also can be of benefit to anyone who has been burned by a therapist. It happens. There is incompetency in every profession. I’ve personally met some awful psychologists and social workers in my day so I can see how this can happen.
And, if you feel you need a psychotherapist, I can easily refer to you to a psychologist or licensed professional counselor.
So what makes me a good coach? Experience. Aside from the fact that I’ve been reading astrological charts for over 20 years and have an inside scoop on what drives (or fails to drive) your behavior, I’ve been employed for 15+ years working with a Masters in Social Work and in that time I’ve listened to a stunning range of client stories of failure and success, achievement and loss, across the life-span and inclusive of race, class, culture and creed. Let me give you some examples of my experience; you’ll see how it is possibly relevant to your or someone you love:
- In 2003 I graduated from ASU with an MSW (Masters in Social Work) and worked for Child Protective Services for almost 5 years. As a result I’m very familiar with childhood development, the impact of child abuse, the juvenile justice system; drug abuse, mental health, family dynamics, systemic racism, forensic interviewing as well as driving around Pima County in the middle of the night and taking custody of children and coordinating with law enforcement and hospital emergency rooms.
- Starting in 2007 I worked for 7 years at a hospital that delivers the most babies in Arizona, as the medical social worker for the Nursery ICU (NICU), where I helped parents of babies born sick, or different looking, or disabled, or stillborn. I helped women understand post partum depression. I went to the hospital morgue to get the bodies of babies for parents that wanted one last look. I am very sympathetic to anyone who has trauma about seeing a dead baby; but know that if it’s your baby, it’s something very different. Very few people understand the NICU experience.
- I spent 2013–2018 working as a psychotherapist for 3 different employers: a community mental health provider of services to children/families; a residential drug/addiction treatment program; and, the VA, where I worked on first an in-home medical team that treated elderly Veterans, many with dementia, and then as a social work therapist in the clinic treating military combat PTSD. I know what it’s like coping with a vulnerable elder with Alzheimers; that’s a rough assignment. And I know something about PTSD and how it’s treated and how Veterans fail to get treated.
Coaching additionally is of benefit if you already have a goal in mind and want to achieve it and need help getting organized, getting started and ultimately executing your plan and feeling success. Coaching is of benefit to those already engaged in a supportive, therapeutic process with a psychotherapist; coaching can help you practice confidence and accountability. And Coaching is not a regulated profession. The reasons are varied, but common ones include the following: many people run into life problems at some point, and the problems are not related to a diagnosis or treatment of mental illness, but there is nowhere to turn to get some helpful perspective, validation and possible solution (though sometimes acceptance is the only way out). so the use of conventional psychotherapy may not be effective given the time, cost and