Category Archives: coaching

How Mindfulness Coaching Can Help Relationship Empathy & Conflict Resolution

Mindfulness Can Help Build Empathy & Resolve Conflict

Portland relationship coaching for conflict resolutionWhen we talk about mindfulness, we usually focus on mindfulness within the individual: an awareness of one’s own thoughts and emotions or staying present in the moment to enjoy one’s own life. What’s missing from the conversation is the mindfulness required to create meaningful connections with others. To have a successful relationship, you can’t be mindful of only your own interior experience; you must be mindful of the other person’s, too.

So much of our conflict with loved ones comes from an unawareness of another human being’s inner reality. The phrase buried in so many apologies is “didn’t mean to”: “I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings,” “I didn’t mean to make you angry,” “I didn’t mean to upset you.” The truth would sound more like, “I wasn’t paying any attention to you when I said or did whatever created a problem for you.” Sometimes we may be unaware of a button we’re pushing or a wound we’re picking, but often those slights are not the result of ill intentions, but of having no intentions at all.

You probably know that identifying and attending to your emotions is a key to psychological well-being. But you might not know that identifying and attending to the feelings of others is a key to relationship well-being. You can’t grow a loving relationship without regard to the feelings of those for whom you care.

Conflict in a relationship arises when you focus your intentions entirely on your needs and ignore or dismiss your partner’s. You might not mean to hurt them, but when your mindfulness practice goes one way, your intentions don’t extend any love or concern to your partner.

Having a mindful relationship means deciding whether the connection is important to you and what you want from the other person, and then keeping that in mind when you communicate or are in conflict. If your intention is a loving, romantic partnership, all disagreements should be approached with love and partnership in mind.

Being mindful of your partner’s needs plays an important role in disagreements. Too often when we are in conflict, even with someone we love, we want only to win. We want the other person to change their behavior without us having to change a thing. We don’t mind a win-lose solution as long as we’re not the loser. Studies show that losses have a more significant psychological impact on us than wins do. Losing is an affront to our sense of self. But this attitude—win at all costs, or at least don’t lose—is toxic to relationships.

Does that mean for a partnership to work you have to be okay “losing” an argument sometimes? Not at all.

The win-lose scenario isn’t the only way to end a conflict. Try the win-win instead.

Winning a fight doesn’t always mean being right. If you get into an argument with your partner because you want to go to a party and they want to stay home and watch movies, one of you isn’t right and the other wrong. Pressuring your now-resentful partner into going to the party might feel like a win, but is it? A real win, the kind that lasts past one fight and makes your relationship stronger, is one in which your partner hears your point of view and addresses your needs or desires, and you do the same for them.

To address your partner’s needs, you have to practice mindfulness. You must be mindful of their boundaries and need for not just necessary physical requirements such as food and shelter but also for their emotional and psychological requirements, such as affection, acceptance, independence, and so on. There are some fundamental needs that virtually all people share, and they are crucial to keep in mind:

  • Respect:Respect is the basis of an emotionally healthy relationship. Respect your partner’s boundaries if you expect them to respect yours—and they should.
  • Time and attention:One of the most powerful ways to show your partner you love them is by giving them undivided time and attention.
  • Affection:Not only is physical affection an essential part of intimate relationships because it makes your brain release oxytocin, the “love hormone,” but studies show a link between affection deprivation and physical pain and poor sleep, which in turn increases negative emotions.
  • Approval:As a child, you seek approval from your caregivers and teachers; as an adult, you seek it from your loved ones. Simple compliments are easy to give and go far in building closeness and positive regard.
  • Security, predictability, and consistency:We all want a warm bed to come home to at the end of the day, a secure base we can retreat to. Your closest relationships should provide this base of support for you. In turn, you need to be there reliably for the people you love.
  • Autonomy and control:No matter how close you are to your partner, for the sake of your mental health and sense of self, you both need to maintain a separate identity. Your partner may sometimes have a priority that takes precedence over you, and that’s okay.

To create and maintain a loving relationship, decrease the frequency of conflict, and solve the conflicts that arise in a way that’s worthy of your partnership, you must be mindful of your partner’s needs and desires. For love to last, empathy must be a two-way street. No one can lose if everybody wins, and everybody wins when both of your needs and desires are treated with respect and validity.

If you are experiencing relationship issues and are wanting to know more about mindfulness, contact me for coaching in Portland.

© Copyright 2018 GoodTherapy.org.

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Portland Life Coaching Tip to Boost Your Happiness

 Your Social Life May Be Key to Boosting Your Happiness

The quest for a better quality of life is a common one. Some people believe if they reach a certain goal, they will finally be satisfied with life. But not being able to achieve these goals may make people feel even worse.

A study in Psychological Science suggests some strategies for happiness may work better than others. The pursuit of a better life need not include endless efforts at self-improvement. Instead, the study says people who make social goals are more likely to have greater happiness a year later.

A Life Coaching Key to Happiness : More Time With Others?

Portland Life Coaching Tip to Boost Happiness With Social Life In 2014, the study gathered data on 1,178 German adults. Participants were gathered from the nationally representative German Socio-Economic Panel Study.

The study asked participants to rank their life satisfaction on a scale of 0 to 10. A score of 0 meant completely dissatisfied, and 10 stood for completely satisfied. The study also asked participants how happy they thought they would be in 5 years.

Then the study asked to list their strategies for a happier future. About half (596) had no set strategy. Some claimed they could not do anything to improve their lives. Others said something outside of their control—such as a different political climate—would improve their lives.

The other half (582) provided a specific strategy for greater happiness. Most of those who set goals (398) mentioned an individual goal such as quitting smoking. The remainder (184) said doing something social—spending more time with family or friends or helping others—might make them happier.

A year later, participants again rated their life satisfaction. People who listed a social strategy reported greater life satisfaction the second time they were surveyed. People with individual goals showed about the same level of satisfaction as before. There were no significant differences between people who had an individual strategy and those who had no plan at all.

Further analysis revealed the group with social goals had increased happiness partially because they socialized more with others during the year. This finding suggests people who want to improve their lives might benefit from focusing on their relationships with others. Setting only self-improvement goals might be no better than setting no goals at all.

The study’s authors emphasize that further research is necessary to assess the long-term effects of goal setting. Future research may measure why some happiness strategies might work better than others.

Life coaching can help people achieve their goals, offering a chance at a better life. It can also help nurture relationships and improve social connections. If you are interested in how life coaching can help better your life, make an appointment at my Portland area office.

June 8, 2018 • Contributed by Zawn Villines, GoodTherapy.org 

References:

  1. Rohrer, J. M., Richter, D., Brummer, M., Wagner, G. G., & Schmukle, S. C. (2018, May 18). Successfully striving for happiness: Socially engaged pursuits predict increases in life satisfaction. 
  2. Social pursuits linked with increased life satisfaction. (2018, May 29). 
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Danger of “if then” thinking

Can Life Coaching Help with ‘If Then’ Thinking?

Have you ever had the thought of “If I (fill in the blank), then (fill in in the blank)” or “once I…, then I’ll…”

Choices in life coaching Portland-If I move to another city, then I’ll be happy.

-Once I get this together, then I’ll be able to do this.

-Once I turn 50, then I’ll buy myself that car.

-Once I have enough experience then I can start that new project.

-If I ever win the lottery, then I’ll buy my dream home.

-Once I start therapy/coaching/medication, I’ll feel better.

Do any of these sound familiar? What are some other ones that you may find yourself thinking? Continue reading

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A few shifts from arguing

Life Coaching Tips to Avoid Arguments

If you notice getting into an argument/ yelling match and it feels all too familiar, here are a few steps to help shift the dynamic:

  1. Change your posture. Chances are if you’re in an argument your face is scrunched, brow furrowed, and holding your breath. Take a moment to change your posture- stretch your arms out and back, expose your chest some, stretch side to side, roll your neck
  2. Breath deeply. Blow all your air out and hold it. Take a full breath in
  3. Life sometimes needs coaching tips for arguments.Notice if you are defensive. Are you looking to explain why you are right and they are wrong? If yes, admit you are there and know that most likely from this place you know how it plays out. Stop if you are defensive. 
  4. Ask yourself if you can see this person as your ally. 
  5. If not, take a break. To paraphrase Einstein, a problem can’t be solved in the same mindset it was created in. Do not expect to solve it if you don’ t shift your mindset that started the argument.

This is of course just a few options with short explanations. There is certainly more exploration to this and it is a start.

Cheers to more life and connection in your relationship. With life coaching we can work on any relationships and tips for your life. Contact me for more details.

Compliments to Marcolm at freedigitalphotos.net
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How I work with people: part 4

Things to Love About Coaching Homework

Another word on homework. I often have people come in having not done their homework. It is not my job to shame you, I find that people do that enough without adding any more. We can explore what occurred that you didn’t do it. Although, I often find that a couple of things can happen when people haven’t “done” their homework:

  1. they did and just didn’t realize it
  2. they explored something else that had meaning to them
  3. what was homework, didn’t show up for them so they didn’t have the opportunity to explore it
  4. there was hesitation to facing into the homework and then the work is to explore that.

LGTBQ-friendly coaching homework Portland.The thing I love about homework is that the therapy or coaching session is not just this isolated event, a bubble of time for you to focus on you. Granted it is time for you, sometimes the only place people have to be listened to, connect with another and heard fully. Homework is a thread that connects the sessions together. It is a time for you to continue your intention to work on your goals outside of the walls of my Portland office. It is practice in “real time” in your “real life.”

To get started with your homework contact me to start your Portland coaching sessions with an LGTBQ-friendly therapist.

Photo compliments of Mister GC at freedigitalphotos.net

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How I work with people part 3

What is Counseling Homework?

In counseling and coaching, people may come in wanting to be “fixed.” That is not my job. It is also not how I see people. I see people as whole, yes you are on a journey and there may be things that you want changed (that is why people come see me because they want something changed and don’t know how to go about making the changes). And you are not broken or messed up or completely shattered, you are whole just as you are in the midst of the challenges that you are facing.

Often times the steps may be small. People often don’t take a gigantic leap. More often than not, it is a baby step by baby step and sometimes  it may feel like you’re either going backwards Counseling homework for Portland, Oregon LGBT friendly therapist.or falling down. Sometimes the sessions are not a nicely wrapped present with a beautiful bow on top. Sometimes they end in a way that feels very undone. This can also be a time when a lot of change can happen, as you sit with what’s going on.

I do like to give homework, I have adolescents who call it something else since they have enough homework from school- growth opportunity, advancement protocol, something to think about. The homework, or whatever you choose to call it, is something that was explored in the session. Of course that is not always the case, sometimes people want to inquire into something completely different. Either way, I ask if you have ideas and I can toss out some ideas as well. You get to decide what you want to do. The concept of homework is to keep you thinking, exploring, delving into, to keep your intention and attention on movement, to be aware of how you are in the world so that what “just happens” will become conscious and therefore you have a choice in the matter.

Are you ready to work on your counseling? Contact me for area Portland, Oregon LGBT friendly counseling.

Photo compliments of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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How I work with people in coaching and therapy: part 2

Questions are Part of Relationship Coaching

This is part two in an attempt to describe how I work with people.

Once we’ve set up a full session, I will send you some paperwork. It may feel completely tedious. And it is quite a bit of paperwork. Some of it is history, some of it is gathering more details about what’s going on. A big part of it is also about your goals, and how you know when you will be done with either coaching or therapy. I see both relationship coaching and therapy as a way to learn skills,Questions are the next step in relationship coaching Portland! to make changes and shifts in your life so that you can go out and do these things on your own. Goals give us a guide. They give us something to work toward, so that we are not just floundering around meeting after meeting without making steps towards what you want.

The first session is often me asking you a lot of questions. I am gathering information about what is going on, what has been going on, and what you are wanting as you move forward. The first session is not typical of how I work with people. It is you talking more and me asking more questions.

In subsequent sessions, I am more active. I see us as collaborators. I am a professional. I have a license. I go to continuing education courses. You are the expert on you. This is an on going conversation, back and forth. I am not just going to sit and listen. I am an active participant in our sessions, asking questions, gently challenging, throwing out ideas that may or may not land with you. And I am open to feedback. That is also important for you to know. If you are not getting what you want, say something to me. It doesn’t help to vent to your friend or even just stop coming. Let’s have a conversation about it. I don’t want it to be a waste of your time or your money. If I am not able to provide the support you are looking for I can give you referrals.

If you have more questions about relationship coaching services I offer in Portland – call!

Photo compliments of punsayaporn at Freedigitalphotos.net

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How I work with people in coaching and therapy: part 1

Portland LGTBQ Coaching Consultation

Often times people will come and not know what to expect. I thought this might be a good platform to talk about that.

What to expect in a coaching consultation for Portland LGTBQ clients.I offer a free 20 minute coaching consultation. During this, I meet with people briefly. We don’t necessarily get into the nitty-gritty of what’s going on. I see it more as a meet and greet. It gives both of us an idea of the other person, to find out if we may be a good fit. This gives you a chance to share what you are looking for in a therapist and what issues you are working on to determine if I may able to work with you.

One of the main things to consider doing a consultation or a first meeting, is to ask yourself if you can see yourself trusting this person. A therapeutic or coaching relationship is like any other relationship, it takes time to build trust. You may end up talking about very intimate things. And trust is part of the foundation.  I certainly don’t expect you to trust me in the first 5 or even 20 minutes, or even the first several sessions. What I do ask is, do you see yourself being able to trust me with the intimate details of your life. Do you trust me to guide you on this journey towards your goals?

Make a consultation appointment today! I offer coaching for Portland area LGTBQ and ally clients.

Compliments of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Timeframe for Coaching and Therapy

When is it Time to Stop Your Cognitive Therapy?

How do you know when to stop therapy and coaching? Sometimes my clients will ask about The process of cognitive therapy & coaching - Portland Oregon.their graduation date. This is an interesting idea. Some people think of graduation as a destination. I have arrived. Now I have accomplished that. Done. Other people see graduation as a stepping stone. I have accomplished this and now I have a new goal. It is not like this kid who is showing you that it is time. Unfortunately there is not certain answer to this question.

I see life as a process. It is a continual growing place. I am not ever “at” a destination. The age old saying by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Life is a journey not a destination,” says it perfectly. There is no set mark at which you finally arrive. I think of a tree- it is growing or it is withering. There is no stagnation, no in between.

People come in with goals. Sometimes these goals are met and they are complete. Sometimes the goals expand to something else or become more complex the deeper we explore. Sometimes people take time off to be able to practice their new skills they have learned and may or may not come back for a tune up. Sometimes it is an ongoing relationship where it is about the process and continual support as life is a journey.

I would encourage you to check in with yourself. It is actually a question I ask on my intake form- “How will you know when you are done?” If you are starting the process of cognitive therapy or coaching or currently seeing someone, ask yourself what your goals have been/are currently, ask yourself what you are wanting out of the process with your coach or therapist.

If you are looking to explore your goals in cognitive therapy in the Portland Oregon area, call for an appointment.

Photo compliments from stockimages of freedigitalphotos.net.

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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 All-free-download.com, Breath Holding by Ron Sanderson
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