As counselors, we are taught to not let our beliefs and biases get in the way of providing effective therapy, and it’s true that we should not let our agenda supplant the needs of our clients. However, in practice, none of us can authentically separate ourselves from our beliefs and values. In fact, great suffering is caused by not knowing or living in accordance with our values. I think a more genuine way to approach coaching and counseling is to be up-front about how we interpret the world and through which lens we will see our clients and their struggles.
Integration is required for a satisfying and peaceful life.
One of the reasons we suffer is that we have not made peace with all the different aspects of ourselves. Usually conflicting parts of ourselves are at war with each other, which means we can never fully rest because we live in a constant battle zone. We often manage this conflict by compartmentalizing our lives. When we can integrate our inner world experiences (along with outer world and metaphysical world) we can experience ourself as a whole and complete person.
The mundane is sacred.
Sacredness is not limited to something that happens in churches. Sacredness happens when we relinquish the illusion that the minutia of our lives is not holy. Bathing our child is a sacrament when we understand it to be so. Recycling is an act of honor to the Earth and future generations. Taking out the trash is an act of care. Opening the door for a stranger an act of reverence. Our life path is sacred ground when we chose to consecrate it.
Every experience we have, every person we meet is an aspect of God-Spirit. When we see the deeper meaning and purpose in our day-to-day lives, we become more fully human and more fully divine. We soften our reactivity to the ups and downs of both our internal and external experiences. We understand our place in the world and are comforted in our connection to the Something Bigger.
We each have a Wise Self core that can guide our path towards health and healing.
Each of our “negative” behaviors is an attempt to get valid needs met – using drugs to stop emotional pain, attempting to control others to gain a sense of personal power, etc. When we heal the wounds that create the coping behavior, we uncover our deep Wisdom.
Counseling is collaborative.
While I have expertise in my field, ultimately, you are the expert on your life; therefore, I do not act as the Guru or the director of the therapeutic process. Doing so would cultivate a type of dependency, which is counter-therapeutic. Instead, I will be your partner in growth.
If we knew better, we would do better.
In Western American society, we have an idea that ‘knowing’ is restricted to intellectual knowledge. However, we all ‘know’ we shouldn’t eat that second piece of cake, do our taxes on time, not yell at our children, etc., and yet, we fall short despite our ‘knowing better.’ Knowing intellectually isn’t enough. Understanding our issues doesn’t necessarily help us to actually move beyond them. We need to know with our hearts, our bodies, and our whole being. When we ‘know’ from a place of wholeness, we make wiser and more healthful choices.
All wounding happens in relationship and can only be healed through a loving, compassionate and reparative relationship.
Effective counseling isn’t just about the counselor’s wisdom, knowledge and skills. In order for counseling to help people make real and lasting change, the counselor’s care and compassion must actually be real – the relationship must be real. My belief is that if I can’t fully and authentically care for the person I’m working with, I have absolutely no business working with them.
All people deserve equal and fair treatment.
All people deserve the same safe, accepting, and compassionate counseling experiences, regardless of race, political affiliation, belief system, sexual orientation, gender identification or expression, age, religion, size, physical ability, or perceived difference.