The Benefits of Receiving Life Coaching During Treatment
By Barbara Rose Gaynor
In the of fall 2007, a new extension of services became available at Sierra Tucson. In addition to the host of other therapeutic tracks benefiting residents, Sierra Tucson now offers Life Coaching as part of the residential treatment for addictions, eating disorders, mood disorders , pain management, trauma/PTSD and depression.
The Development of Life Coaching
Life Coaching was developed in the 1980s as a way to address change in a positive way. Sometimes used in the corporate setting, it is also used on a personal level as a way of supporting individuals and even groups of people in getting clear about their desires and goals and providing support and accountability around the client’s stated desires. Coaching has aided many people in diverse ways and is a perfect fit for those who need to make accommodations to their lives in order to stay well and to prosper.
Life Coaching vs. Therapy
Some might ask about the difference between life coaching and therapy. The benefits of the psycho-social-spiritual model of therapy used at Sierra Tucson have proven beneficial to thousands of residents suffering from a range of problems and addictions.
The use of therapy’s to explore past patterns, family of origin issues, unhealthy behaviors, and grief and trauma allows the resident to heal in those difficult areas with the help of the therapist who is steeped in the latest and most useful approaches. Essentially, the therapist assists in bringing the resident more into the present to be free to have a life that is the full expression of him/herself.
Driven by a Positive Vision
Life coaching sees each person as whole and complete as they are in their essence. A life coach builds on that to help the person move toward the future and envision what their life would look like when driven by positive future expectations instead of past regrets.
Life Coaching Workshop
At Sierra Tucson, we offer a Life Coaching Workshop on four consecutive weeks that covers one of the developmental models of viewing a person’s life over its entire span. This workshop is open to all residents (regardless of track) and during the Family Program, family members attend the current week’s workshop and receive a review of the other sessions.
Each session builds on the previous one and has the participant look at the myths that society tells us about how a life “should” proceed while offering a more realistic approach that says that periodically we need to stop and assess what is happening. Rather than being unusual, these times of recurring assessment are essential.
For people aware that there are some things to which they need to say an emphatic “NO,” such as unhealthy substances and process addictions, the workshop also offers the opportunity to tune into what we want and even yearn to say “YES” to. Participants spend time doing exercises that elicit what brings them deep joy and happiness and gives life meaning. By having the chance to identify the strong motivators toward healthy living early in treatment, participants move in the direction of possibility and hope.
Individual Life Coaching
For residents in Sierra Tucson’s Progressions Program, Individual Life Coaching is also offered. These sessions often have a component of identifying a person’s core values, passions, and life purpose as a way of understanding their unique gifts, talents, and strengths, as well as what “lights them up.” Any changes to the person’s circumstances can then take into account what is in alignment with their essential nature and deepest values.
Focusing on What is Working
Individual Life Coaching sessions focus on what is working well and builds on that. The resident comes away with a deeper level of self-knowledge and a broader appreciation of their uniqueness. By determining a life purpose, residents are asked to engage in inquiry about what matters the most, now, in this season of life.
Going farther, questions might come up asking what changes a person would be willing to make to ensure that they get to experience the things they are saying “Yes” to. Residents take the information gleaned to develop an overall picture of who they are and what they want to accomplish, as well as the next steps to get them there.
Powerful Changes in Lifestyle and Life Situations
Practical matters are also attended to in individual sessions. The coach supports the resident to make powerful changes in lifestyle or life situation, even when difficult. Some residents need to relocate within their hometown or to a new locale. Some receive coaching around developing a balanced spending plan, communicating with family and friends about time in treatment, or other hard-to-discuss issues.
Group Life Coaching
Group Life Coaching is also available. During these sessions, residents help one another by discussing common issues. Group coaching lets everyone benefit from a large scope of beliefs, life experience, and knowledge. Using structures that help a person see their whole life “in a snapshot,” the group offers its wisdom and feedback to help others achieve more balance.
When residents are ready to discharge from Sierra Tucson, they are truly ready, armed with a new awareness of the unique part they play in the larger world and ready to step up to that new level. When appropriate, Life Coaching is part of Sierra Tucson’s recommendation for a resident’s Continuing Care Program.
Barbara Rose Gaynor, ACC, CLC, is a Certified Life Coach in the Progressions Program at Sierra Tucson. She is a founding member of Tucson Coaches Alliance and a coach in private practice for over 10 years.