Individual Counseling

Exploratory Mission

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Viewing a first coaching session as an exploratory mission into new and unknown lands is a good visual metaphor to help you temper expectations. Many people want a neat, simple answer to the presenting issue they are bringing to the table.

But without knowing the lay of the land there is no way to situate your issue. There are relatively few human behaviors and emotions, but there are almost limitless motivations behind them, and if we can’t visualize the problem at its root, then the chances of sessions being effective go down dramatically. We will think we are talking about the same thing but really we will be talking about separate things because our perceptions about these things will be different.

In an exploratory mission we forge ahead slowly and carefully, we ask a lot of questions, and since you are really the guide who knows the planet we are exploring the best, you get to decide whether to discard or hold onto ideas that are getting thrown out there, to decide whether a specific point of view feels right. This is why it’s not only okay to disagree but actually actively encouraged to do so when an idea feels wrong.

The process of growth occurs in the context of dealing mindfully with new points of view that make sense and following them where they lead. Very few people are concerned with the reason they decided to seek help after a few sessions. As they bring deeper layers of their life situations into conscious awareness they start thinking about their issues differently. It’s completely natural to want a firm answer right away, to want someone to tell you what to do and promise that if you follow this advice you will get better. But this underlying propensity to follow the orders and directions of someone with more authority than us, even though the result is not what we want or need for ourselves, is often what leads us to experience mental health issues in the first place.