10 Frequently Asked Questions and 10 Should Ask Questions about therapy, coaching and training
1. What kind of therapy do you do?
After over 20 years of practice, I now combine several types of therapy and coaching into my own blend, and I adapt this approach for the particular person’s circumstances, personality, and what their priorities are – i.e. to solve a current issue or change a habit or longer term psychological re-programming?
2. Will it really work in my situation?
The psychological skills required for success and happiness are relevant to any person, at any age, from any culture. Your situation is unique, but the problems you are facing are not. My method covers several main themes, one of which is the mind, as it drives everything you do and every decision you make.
3. How long does this take?
The time it takes to make improvement can be instant, because I might just provide you with a different way of thinking about something, and this changes your behaviour. For significant and lasting change to occur takes on average 3 months according to behavioural science research.
4. Can I really change?
Some people say ‘I’ve always been this way……an anxious person, a pleaser of people…’ etc. Most people are stuck in a story they hold about themselves, rather than not have the capacity to change.
There are aspects of your personality that won’t change; the traits you have from birth such as whether you are extraverted or introverted by nature. But the majority of your psychology is up for change if you are willing to put the effort in. Thanks to advances in brain science we now know the brain has tremendous plasticity – the ability to change and adapt to different circumstances. That means the brain changes the way its wired with the right training.
5. Do you practice what you preach?
I do my best to live what I talk about, to improve myself, balance being with becoming, learn lessons and give back. I test the tactics, techniques and tools I use with clients out on myself and in my own business. If something works for me, it may work for you.
6. Isn’t it my fault I have issues?
Not at all. You had no say over how you were brought up, and not much say over the influences on you in your early life. You do have some choice over how long you hold onto old unhealthy habits.
7. Isn’t it too late for me to change?
No. If you had one year to live, and some change meant that your quality of life could be enhanced, including better quality of communication in your relationships, then it’s worth it.
8. How do I deal with people who say they don’t believe in therapy or coaching?
They have a right to their opinions, you have a right to disagree. Ultimately you know what is best for you. And try not to judge a whole industry based on experience with one or two practitioners.
9. How do I find the time for this?
If it is important enough to you, you need to find the time for your personal and professional development. Change doesn’t happen without time to reflect, practice and plan.
10. Can’t I just do it myself?
There are some forms of change you can action on your own, and some change that requires an expert guide. It takes more than rational problem solving to create lasting change. The working relationship we create together provides a powerful corrective emotional experience that you just can’t get doing your own study. I have met many people who wrote in personal diaries for years, not realizing that what they wrote was doing them more harm than good. The therapist provides an important sounding board, reality check, different perspective, and a wealth of scientific knowledge about what works.
My top questions you should ask a therapist or coach
1. Will you judge me?
I won’t judge you as a human being, but I might judge some of your behaviours, decisions and what’s in your mind according to what is working for you and what is not. I need to point out to you anything that is getting in the way of reaching your goals. It’s not meant to criticize but for learning and guidance.
2. What are the most important psychological skills people need to learn?
I have narrowed these down to five important areas of Psychology that everyone can improve. These skills are 1. insight and awareness, 2. emotional skills, 3. mental skills, 4. behavioural skills and 5. interpersonal skills.
3. What does self worth look like?
High self worth people get things done well, with a minimum of stress and anxiety. They believe in themselves, and they use this belief everyday, via positive and realistic self-talk, to achieve goals and cope with difficulty.
4. Tell me about some success stories?
Without breaching confidentiality, a therapist should be able to give you a general idea of what success stories they have been involved in.
5. What are the risks and fears of entering into a therapy or coaching process?
Therapy should be a far more enriching and positive experience than negative, but there are some down sides to confronting your issues. It can be painful and uncomfortable at times. Other people could disagree and dislike the changes that you make in your life and with your behaviour. You will be faced with your decisions, and alternative options, which tests your personal courage and convictions.
6. What do you mean by success begins internally?
When you better organise the way you think, what you stand for, what you believe and the way you process emotions, your communication and behaviour improve and success is much more likely to happen. The internal satisfaction happens, and the external pressure is lifted significantly, thus allowing you the psychological freedom to reach your potential.
7. Can I combine therapy with business/executive coaching or careers counselling?
Yes you can, you just pay for your time with me. Sometimes the issue you present with does not end up being the issue we spend the most time on. You cannot fully separate the personal from business issues, as your habits go everywhere with you. In my experience, any major personal issues need to be handled before we can address business issues properly. Sometimes the personal appears as we process business issues, and sometimes business or career issues appear in a conversation about personal issues.