Author Archives: sparkfinder

Breath as a Life Coaching Skill

One Breath at a Time

I think I have talked about A breath help with your life coaching.breath before. One idea around breath is that the in-breath is considered experience and the out-breath is expression. With experiencing we are taking in: taking in stimulation, taking in other people, noticing our body sensations, being with ourself. Expression is the sharing of the experience.
Notice your in and out breath, do you hold your breath on the in or the out, do you take different length breaths? If you are willing, lean into wondering what that is about. Do you have a short out breath and long in breath? Your breath may change with who you are with as well. If you are with someone who talks a lot you may find yourself holding your breath or on the other hand being with someone who doesn’t talk very much you may breath out much easier and have a harder time breathing in. Do you find it easier to experience or express? Play with breathing in different ways.
If you would like to know more about life coaching, contact me today Portland.
Photo compliments of, Breath Holding by Ron Sanderson

Ch Ch Ch Changes

“Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.”
Watch the Ted Talk here.


Can your posture or environment change you?

Try curling into yourself, bring your knees in, cross your arms, look down. Portland Oregon Cognitive TherapySit like this for a minute. How do you feel in this position? Now try stretching your arms up, standing tall, looking up. What body sensations do you notice?

Changing your posture can change how you feel, how you interact. She does a much better job at demonstrating this, watch her video to get the full scoop on it.

I what to take this somewhere else: your environment. That may be your home, your organization, your clothes in your closet or even the clothes you wear. Think about when you wear sweatpants and an oversized sweat shirt. I think cozy, comfortable, ease of movement. Now what about going on a date, what clothes do you pick out for that? And it probably depends on how you want to feel. Some women will wear sexy underwear or a camisole to feel sexy even if they are wearing not so sexy clothes.

Posture affects you. Clutter in your home affects you. What you wear affects you.

Check in with yourself when you are feeling a certain way, (Not as a fix it, I don’t believe in fixing your feelings, more as a possible shift move.) and try changing your posture or your clothes. Play with it and notice what happens.

Like I say to many of my clients, life is like a science experiment: have a hypothesis, try it out, determine the next step. Go into this not knowing, being curious, wondering what will happen. And then gather data.

If you think cognitive therapy could help you, contact me for Portland appointments.

Appreciation for use of the photo go to Serge Bertasius Photography At

YES or maybe not


Head & Heart Life Coaching Tip

In the theory of work that I use for myself and my clients, there is a saying, Help with Life Coaching choices in Portland, Oregon.“If it isn’t a full body yes, then it is a no.” This is a very black or white way of looking at it and it hasn’t always sat well with me.

I had an aha with a client this week that shed a different light on that. We were exploring what she wanted and what appeared to be a divergence between her head and her heart. We then looked more closely at the different body centers (head, heart, gut). Each one wanted something, yet toward the end of the exploration we realized that the three centers really wanted the same thing. The what she wanted was the same, the how she would step toward her want was different.

If you are unsure what you are wanting at this time, perhaps feeling in limbo, take a moment to check in with each center. Take a breath, tune into your head, what does your head want? Once you land on something, check in and notice any body sensations around this want. Now, take a breath and tune into your heart, what does your heart want? Once the want percolates to your conscious, take a moment to bring your awareness to your body sensations. Simply noticing. Now repeat this with your gut.

Is there connection between the wants? Are they at odds or closer than you had thought?

Contact me for more information on life coaching in the Portland, Oregon area.

Photo compliments of Stuart Miles at

Finding a Therapist/Coach

Finding a therapist or a coach who is the right fit is important. How do you go about it? What questions to ask? How do you know if it is the right fit?

Are you looking for a cognitive therapist in Portland, Oregon?

Cognitive therapy in Portland, Oregon. Find the right therapist.First, I want you to do some insight work. What kind of therapist/coach do you want? Does gender or age matter? What about their approach (mindfulness, psychodynamic, feeling oriented, attachment based, solution focused)? What about personality traits (someone more direct, quiet, who asks a lot of questions, takes notes during sessions, challenges you)? Are you using insurance or paying out of pocket? Once you know the answer to these questions you can narrow down your search.

Some questions that I find useful once you have chosen someone:

This is what I am looking for (grief work, somatic experience, addiction, abuse, issues around adoption/infertility/ anxiety/depression, etc), is this an area that you feel trained in and capable of helping me?

If yes, then how would you work on this issue with me?

Are you on panel (if using insurance)? or

How much do you charge (if paying out of pocket)?

Then ask yourself, “Do I feel comfortable with this person?” This is a person who you are hoping will help you, guide you, support you, witness you. You may not have developed trust yet, that will ideally come in time. Do you see yourself being able to trust this person down the road. It is a relationship like any other, that requires time to build the trust.

Want to know more about me and cognitive therapy? Contact me to start the therapy process – Portland, Oregon.

Photos compliments of Idea Go at



Saying “No”

A client asked me how to say no to someone who wanted to hang out and not be rude. She said she googled “saying no” and only found posts in saying no to men. I thought that was quite interesting and asked if I could write about it, she said, “yes.”

First I want to post a disclaimer, the idea of “being rude” is all in perspective. And what is considered rude in one culture is different from another, as is from one gender to another.

Ending the Guilt Trip with Life Coaching

Having problems saying no? Portland life coaching.I want to also share that often times people can not just say no; they need to add a reason or justify why.

Developmentally kids start to say no and impose what they want and don’t want and This stage has been labeled “the terrible twos.” I find it interesting that we are trained as children that saying no is not acceptable, in fact, it is “terrible:”  Do as I say. Do not ask questions. Do not say no. Follow my directions and orders.

I think it is simpler then we make it to say no. You have the ability to say no without a reason and then move on without the “guilt trip.”

I realize that there is more to it than that and there is often more exploration to this. And I will end it here for now.

Next steps for exploration, if you choose… First play with saying no. Often times people are more comfortable doing this by themselves. Try different tones of voice, different shortness or length of the “O”, different accents. Think about toddlers and all the different ways they say it, try on how you imagine a man or woman may say it, a business person, a doctor, a cab driver, if there is a crisis, if someone else is listening or are very far away.
Find someone you trust who will play with you. Let them know your are playing with saying no. Notice what happens for you when you ask, when you actually start saying, No.” Do you laugh?

Ask these questions and more, by making your appointment today. Call me to find out about life coaching therapy in the Portland area.

Photo is compliments of Stuart Miles at

Choice of Therapist/Coach

What Choice Do You Have for Portland Therapists?

Portland area cognitive therapist.I was talking with a client the other day and we had an interesting conversation. The idea of choice with therapy.

Yes, you choose the therapist you work with. You may interview a couple to find a good fit. You may work with one, something may happen and you go to another therapist.* You are the initiator of the process. You reach out to someone who you think may be able to provide guidance and support through something you are dealing with.

There is another side of the coin. The therapist also chooses. It may not be a good fit for the therapist for a variety of reasons. What you are dealing with may be out of their schope of practice and expertise. You may also be looking for something the therapist doesn’t offer and they refer you out. Things change through the time you are working together and someone else may be a better fit for what you are currently going through. The client may be pushing certain boundaries the therapist has set, for example cancelling more than coming in.

Therapy and coaching are a two way street. It is a choice on both sides.

Start the therapy process and choose to call for more information on cognitive therapy – Portland, Oregon.

*I do encourage you to talk with your therapist if something comes up that causes to to change therapists. I think there is a lot of value in you advocating for yourself. We are therapists and can pick up on a lot, and we also miss things and make mistakes. It may be hard to bring up the topic as conflict/disagreement is not something that most of us are taught. This allows a conversation (ideally the therapist would not be defensive or judgemental) adn the possibility of the bridge being rebuilt. And you may still choose to change therapists.

Photo compliments of Stuart Miles at

Boundaries-knowing your no (sneaking in anger)

How do you know what you want or don’t want? How do you let others know? How do you respond when others share their what they want or not?

Is Coaching for you?

This can cause a lot of disrupt in relationships. Often times people will see someone saying no as a rejection. Perhaps even sharing what they want could be seen by themselves or others as being selfish.

Portland area coaching for anger management.I see anger as a boundary emotion. It lets us know when something needs to stop or change. Yet, when we hold onto this anger/frustration/irritation/annoyance/etc, it festers and comes out typically as an argument or a lingering mood that can last several hours, days or months. I will also share this: yelling and anger are not the same thing. I think yelling happens when it festers.

What would life be like if that anger was noticed in the moment and something was either acknowledged by that person or even shared out loud. Now, wait a moment, if you are like a lot of people, you may say that is impossible or you simply couldn’t do that or what chaos would erupt if you allowed yourself to do that. Take a breath. I am talking about going inward and noticing and acknowledging. That in and of itself can make a huge difference. Wow, I feel angry (vexed, ill tempered, you use whatever word works) and noticing I had hoped you would do the dishes. Anger doesn’t equal blame, it can come out as blame, but they are not one in the same.

Homework if you choose to accept: take a moment when you notice yourself getting angry (agitated/ displeased/ huffy) to simply notice and acknowledge that. Then ask yourself what boundary have you or someone else stepped over. And what do you want around that? It may be an agreement with someone (your friend shows up late). A cultural agreement (a car speeds by you going 20 miles over the limit).

Contact for more information on Portland area coaching and talk to me about your desires for coaching.

This image is curtesy of stockimages at

Holidays with Family

Your Deepest Roots Can Be Nurtured With Counseling

Often times when people are in therapy or coaching and working on different patterns, it can particularly troubling or difficult when they visit family and step right back into the same patterns. Family counseling offered for Portland area clients.

I tell my clients that family is often where the deepest roots are. Imagine trying to pull up a sapling. You could probably do it without any problem. Now think of a larger sapling, perhaps up to your knee. You would still most likely be able to do it easily. Now think of one larger, up to your head. You may need to put a little more into pulling it up. What about one that is about 3 inches in diameter. At this point, it will take longer. You will need to push, pull, maybe dig. I think you could probably do it although it will take time and effort, certainly more effort than the last several trees. Now imagine one that is 100 feet high. You may not be able to get your arms around it. This will take a significant amount of effort. You may ask others for help, use some tools. Even with the assistance, it will take longer than the first tree.

Now imagine these as your patterns. Family dynamics have been going on for years. These are like the 100 foot tree. Is it impossible to remove that tree. No, I wouldn’t do my job if I didn’t think it was possible.

A couple of things to remember when you are visiting family:

  1. Give yourself some compassion, even just a little. Do not expect automatic changes either from yourself or for your family. Go easy on yourself. Maybe you notice the pattern in a different way, even noticing the pattern at all is a significant change.
  2. Take time for yourself. In my world, self care is important. Especially when traveling and being out of your typical routine or zone. Get some fresh air, call a friend, ask for support from your significant other or a friend, take a walk, read a book.
  3. Plan ahead. Imagine where you may get caught up in the dynamics; for example it may be around a certain family ritual or a certain topic of conversation. This is a not a fail safe, although you may notice the pattern starting and planned to take a breath before responding or excuse yourself to go for a walk or even just to the bathroom or for your spouse to look at you or put their hand on your back.

I would love to hear how it went and what you did to support yourself in the journey. Contact me today to find out how I can help with therapy and counseling.

Photo compliments of samurai at


Portland Area Life Coaching for Your Daily Life

Comparison is something that often comes up everywhere. In school we are given grades, in job evaluations, in reality tv, in fashion.  How am I doing in comparison to others? It may not be a conscious thought, it may just be a judgement of what someone else is or isn’t doing. Whether you have lost someone dear to you, are in a relationship, starting a new job, continuing in one for a while, or going to the gym. We are all on our own journey. There may be similarities with others on a similar road. And it is still your own individual, unique journey that life coaching can help with.

For example if I go to the gym to build muscle, I can follow a routine that others have suggested—a friend, a youtube video, a personal trainer. This routine may have different outcomes for someone else because we eat and consume differently, have different body types,  or are different ages.

Life coaching in the Portland area.What does comparing get me? What does it get you? Perhaps feeling better or worse about myself or my situation. This leaves me in a one up or one down from others. It doesn’t leave room for seeing everyone as whole or even myself as whole. It distances me from others, it puts a wedge in the relationship, even if I haven’t talked to the person.

Stepping stone: If you are interested, notice where you compare yourself to others. Is it in a particular setting? Is there a certain judgement that comes up? Notice how you respond to the comparison and to the other person or situation. Is this something that you want to continue?

If you need help with these questions and more, contact me today to see how I can help you on your journey. 

Photo curtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee at

Making Clear Agreements

This is a skill that I think is super helpful in life. Often times friends, intimate partners, or family members will have an idea of something. This is usually not said. Then when someone else has a different idea that is often not shared either, tension and arguments can ensue. Take for example coming home. One person may want space to take off their shoes, put their stuff away and take a moment to breath before greeting the other person. The other person comes in wanting the other to drop everything and give them a big hug, acknowledge that they arrived and are happy to see them. This is often not talked about which then can cause disrupts and irritation. You may expect something and have an agreement on your end and the other person wasn’t aware of the agreement. (Another of my favorites is when one person in a couple does something on a regular basis, then they stop and the other person gets upset, “But you always did that.”)

In Need of Couples Therapy in Portland?

What if you could make a clear agreement about what you wanted. What if it was actually ok to ask for what you want? The other person has the ability to say no. If it is not said it is not an agreement from both people.

Stepping Stone: (Instead of homework, since some people have a hard time with that word, esp teenagers) Share with someone else what you want and making a clear agreement that you both agree to. Do not agree if you don’t really want to, that is a set up for failure and broken agreements which breaks trust. Portland, Oregon Couples Therapy.

Example: Hey, I really like when you greet me at the door when I come home. What do you think about that?

Or: Hey I noticed that you push me away when I come up to say hi when you first come home, do you want some space before I say hi?

Work more on agreements with me for couples, family, or group therapy at my Portland office. Contact me to set up an appointment.

Photo compliments of Stuart Miles at