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Life Coaching... Can it help me?

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I am thinking about getting a life coach. This thread is to anyone who has experience in dealing with a life coach. Firstly, I realize that I need guidance of some sort, however, I am not sure if a life coach has the knowledge inside him/her to know how to "fix" me. I think I am very unique and pretty messed up, and I don't think a life coach has EVER dealt with a person in my situation. Does anybody have any experience with a life coach or heard any stories?

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Hey milo,

My sister in law worked as a life coach, for a while. Her training was in medical nursing, and later in nursing management, in addition to her (fairly brief) life coach certification classes.

I would suggest that a life coach would be better equipped to help a person to organize a change in their life, like moving or changing jobs, or possibly for things like grief counseling. In other words, the normal shocks that would affect any person.

Not that a life coach might not succeed in helping you, but simply that they haven't received a great deal of training or review.

As for getting yourself "fixed" by someone else's "knowledge", that's not really how therapy works. It's more like patching yourself using your own knowledge, gradually, with someone else's dedicated support.

As a result, it doesn't much matter whether a therapist has encountered someone in your precise situation, nor how "unique" you might happen to be. For one thing, it's quite easy to deceive ourselves about how "messed up" we are, if we don't really let ourselves get to know other people. Also, the range of human variation isn't so large that we don't still share humanity.

I hope you find something that works for you, that's all.

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There are many different specialty areas within the big tent of psychotherapy and life coaching is one of them. It is a new field, brought on I believe by a need to have a name to call ones' practice which doesn't conflict with regulated forms of therapy. Meaning - to my knowledge which may be inadequate on this topic at this point - there is no standardization or licensing involved with being a life coach. Anyone can hang up a shingle and call themselves that. Accordingly, the quality of your life coach may be even more variable than the quality of some more regulated form of psychotherapy.

Also - life coaches assert that they apply themselves to helping people adjust to conventional life situations; not to situations which can be considered "abnormal" or "mental illness".

I think that it is possible that you can hire a life coach and derive benefit from your interaction with that person, but that it may be a hit and miss proposition.

In fact, it sounds to me like you are putting the cart before the horse so to speak. You should first attempt to identify what the nature of your issue is and only then identify who is in the best position to help.

What is the nature of your issue(s) so far as you understand them?


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malign, thank you for replying.

Mark, I think you're right. I should first go to therapy and see where it gets me from there. The nature of my issues is, as far as I could put it, understanding my unpleasant teenage years. Issues with maintaining relationships. A feeling of disconectedness from the earth, people, and myself. Issues with isolation which interferes with how I feel about myself, and also minor/middle of the road mental heatlh issues (constant low depression, I have low epinepherine and dopamine and high gaba). Extreme difficulty finding motivation to sustain an activity for more than a few attempts, low focus and drive. I also feel I am by myself (because I am, and also that it will be extremely difficult to feel loved which I was deprived of in my teenage years).

Why do you ask?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Miloski

I'm no expert but what you describe definitely does not fall within the realm of life coaching. I have two friends who are life coaches and I love them dearly but I think they are playing with fire when it comes to depression, etc. They have no qualifications (other than having completed a course) whatsoever and they are not accredited or managed by any overseeing body. They may be useful where one wants to manage one's life more efficiently or improve work performance but certainly no deeper than that. If you told them that you had

"I have low epinepherine and dopamine and high gaba"
, they might look at you very blankly and ask "huh"? By the way, how do you know this? I wasn't aware that there were any blood tests that could specifically establish this? In short, life coaches can guide and advise but they certainly have no skills or knowledge to enable them to "fix up" or identify mental health issues - this just isn't their role.

What you describe would be more likey to fall somewhere on the continuum between an "existential vacuum" (or noögenic neurosis ala Frankl) and full blown major depression. Personality disorders would perhaps further complicate the picture but this is something I know very little about. I am also very wary of the tendency to over-analyse and in so doing over-pathologize some of the mundane hardships that we all come to experience in our day-to-day lives - some of us given to over-analysis (myself included) tend to struggle more with acceptance and letting go.

Nevertheless, I think what I am trying to say is that some form of psychotherapy would seem to be your best bet and this is something I CAN comment on. I have been in psychoanalysis for 4 years and whilst it has given me much in the way of insight and understanding, I do find it tends to perpetuate navel-gazing (and certainly dependency) to some extent, especially when one is already inclined to be that way (please know I am not implying this is you at all - these are just my experiences with it). I have also been in what is often referred to as object relations therapy (probably more eclectic than anything else) and had very positive and rewarding experiences which definitely steered away from over pathologizing and analysing. In addition, I found it so much more enriching than CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) which for me is all bandaid and trappings and pretty useless if one has no understanding of the wound that one is a/dressing.

Anyway, any good psychologist (where there is a decent "fit" and you should feel free to shop around until you find the right "fit" - trust your instincts here, you'll know it when you find it) should be able to point you in the right direction and discuss your options openly.

Forgive the essay (still suffering from the effects of 4 years in psychoanalysis - ha ha!) and hope that you will be able to find what you need.

Good luck!

PS. The one thing I did learn in psychoanalysis and I guess it is pretty much trite law by now - if you can't love yourself, you will struggle to GIVE or RECEIVE love. Therefore take note of what Malign says - in therapy the work is not so much about "being fixed up". If you do the "work", you will be given the tools to "fix yourself" up.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Miloski,

I fully agree with Chisholm (nice going Chisholm ;) ). Psychotherapy would be your best bet. Along with that, are you being treated for the hormone issues you mention? Do you have an endocrine gland problem or do you have an underactive thyroid gland? Those can be treated medically if that is the medical problem.

What problems did you experience as a teen?


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