Category Archives: coaching

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.

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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.

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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. 

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I am not sure if it is related to the end of summer: running hard all season or the panic before the school year starts. A topic that has been coming up a lot for both my therapy/coaching clients as well as myself is how to recharge in the midst of busyness.

More Life Coaching Tips from Portland Area Therapist

It is also interesting to note the idea of actually taking a vacation and coming back and getting Recharge with life coaching at Awakening Your Spark, Portland OR.right into the bustle of life again. Vacation seeming like a distant memory, sometimes even forgetting what it felt like to relax.

I am also thinking of a change of perspective. I can run from event to event, from errand to errand and feel stressed. I can do the same thing and breath and notice myself in time and space. Do I actually get somewhere faster if I am rushing? I have noticed for myself that I do not. What happens is that if I rush, I am ahead of myself, thinking of the next thing, of how late I am. If I take a breath, come back to the actual journey of getting somewhere, I am in the moment. I am nicer to myself and to others when I breath and come back to the moment instead of jumping ahead.

Homework, if you choose to participate: how can you create mini vacations in your day, a mini relaxation time.

Here are some ideas:

A breath. Or two. A walk. A step away from what you are doing to gain perspective. Chatting with a friend. Dancing. Singing. Self massage. Closing your eyes.

This doesn’t need to take a looooooong time; it can be a minute. Just do something.

For more information on relaxation and life coaching, contact me today.





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Life Coaching Can Help You Explore How Others Perceive You

This has come up a lot in the last week or two. We live in community, in relationship vs being our own island. We can have a view of ourself and rely on our own sense of self AND people also affect us, they have views of us which may or may not match up to how we view ourselves.

Explore Life Perspectives with your Portland area CounselorHow can we have a sense of self and also be open to other’s views of us? If I think I show up in a certain way and I hear otherwise from someone else, I can then explore that for myself. I can ask if it rings true, wonder where they are coming from, what do they see that demonstrates that idea. And then land on if it rings true for me and adjust myself as necessary. Or it may not ring true and then I can continue showing up as I show up. When you have multiple people giving that feedback, it may be time to explore deeper with life coaching.

I think it is good to remember that we are not stagnant beings. We are full of movement and change. We have the ability to shift perspectives and take someone else’s point of view. We are amazing creatures.

If you want to continue to explore this, check in with someone you trust and ask if they perceive you the same way that you see yourself. Then determine if it matches up with how you see yourself.

If you would like help with deeper exploration of perspectives in your life, contact your Portland area life coach at 503-961-3141.

Frequency in Therapy/Coaching

I am an advocate of people empowering and listening to what they want. Here are some ideas to think about as you are thinking, “How often do I want to go in,” or “Can I cut back on my session frequency?”

What Are Your Life Coaching Goals?

What are your goals? How close are you to your goals? Have you accomplished them? What do you want to get out of your sessions? I see more frequent as powering your movement forward. So how fast do you want to move forward toward your goals?

And how intense are those goals? I am guessing if you are thinking of less frequent you are not in crisis, which is when many people want to decrease session frequency. My thoughts are that after a crisis is when you can really dig down and start working on what is really going on. You are not in crisis mode so have a different awareness; you are able to take a breath and notice.

How accountable are you to yourself? Are you able to practice the new tools or skills in that amount of time or do you wait until the night before or day of to do homework? Are you able to get the most out of the time in between?

Portland area life coaching sessions.What I have noticed is that once every week or two at the least is optimal to stay on track. Less is more of a “check in” vs digging down and making changes. And of course everyone is different, so this is not a blanket statement, just what I have observed and from talking with other people.

I would encourage you to talk to your therapist/coach about this. I don’t usually have people mention at the end of the session why they want less frequent sessions. This timing doesn’t actually allow for conversation in that session, it is a one way conversation, this is what I decided. I want you to actually have a conversation about it, bring it up earlier in the session, hear their thoughts vs just deciding because it is still a relationship and communication goes both ways.

To learn more about how a life coaching session can be a relationship for you, contact me today.

Photo compliments of Gratisography by Ryan McGuire.


Contradiction, according to Google: “a combination of statements, ideas, or features of a situation that are opposed to one another.” Opposites, same source: “having a position on the other or further side of something; facing something, especially something of the same type.”

ID-10066173Sometimes we can have ideas, feelings, thoughts that feel totally at odds with each other. fFor example I can either accept the situation as it is and do nothing or reject it completely and make major changes, I can either have security or passion, I can either win or lose this argument, I can either be rigid or be in the flow. And we think, “How can these possible co-exist?” We feel stuck.

Try something out with me. In one hand put one of your statements. Feel it there. Does it have any movement, texture, color, sound? Be with it right now in this moment. Now in your other hand put the other statement. Notice the same. Now can your two hands holding these statements move and be in existence in each hand at the same time? Hold both simultaneously and notice what happens. Once you notice ease in this, perhaps have ID-100279435your two hands interact together. Move them closer together then farther apart. Have one hand try on the movement, feeling of the other hand and vice versa. Do you notice anything different in your experience of the two appearing contradictory statements?




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More on Intentions

I was talking to my banker. He shared that he took a class on intentions and learned some interesting statistics. One that 75% of people make the SAME resolution for ten years without achieving it (I haven’t found this written so am not able to cite it). I found a few more here, that only 8% were successful in achieving their goal, younger people in their 20s tend to follow through more than people over 50, and that 6 months after a resolution only 46% are still going strong. Another thing I have heard many times is that “people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions.” I have also heard that writing it down and telling someone is even more powerful.

I want you to be in that percentage of people who attain their goals. And I want you to set yourself up for success. A couple of things:

ID-100316601. Limit your goals to 3. The more you have the more unfocused you can be. Focus and succeed, you can always add more later.

2. Write them down and tell someone who you will be accountable to. Share with someone who is supportive (vs critical or doesn’t believe that you will accomplish this or anything else in  life).

3. Take a small step toward it every day. I talked about this in Intentions. A tiny step that is easy to do.

4. Don’t beat yourself up if you step away from your goal. Read more here. Recommit and move on. You can always step back on the path.

Set yourself up for success. Homework, do the above steps.

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