Clinical Blossoming: How a coaching style enhances psychotherapy and counseling

In 2010, I began to notice that my normal way of working as a therapist was changing. I was curious about the change, but in no way worried. It was interesting, in the way that it interests me to walk out into my garden and see the emergence of a new plant sprouting up, a volunteer perennial that I did not add to the border but welcome as a garden bonus.

Perhaps my clinical work is undergoing a similar blossoming, I thought. As a therapist who is eclectically trained, I have gone through several shifts in methods during the course of 30 years of practice, but most of these have been intentional. This shift arrived unplanned, outside of my awareness. The good news was that client outcomes were improving. People I saw were getting better, faster. I was curious and wondered why.

The shift in my “therapy garden”, that supercharged my therapy results, turned out to be a set of coaching skills and coaching concepts that I had adapted and modified, unconsciously, and added to my way of thinking and being. During the past 8 years I have refined this process and now understand how to explain and impart coaching skills for use within therapy.

This evolved into a full working model of therapy, one that I use, teach to others and now have written about in the new book: Therapy with a Coaching Edge (W.W. Norton Professional Books, 2018)

Is this familiar to you? Do you have a natural coaching style as a therapist? Have you thought about how this style advances therapy and counseling, or who it allows you to be with clients? Do you know both the advantages and the pitfalls of this style, when combined with therapy?I have been making conscious choices about how, when and why to bring a coaching style into a therapy setting and session and have many tips and strategies I want to share.

In future blog posts, let me offer you some thoughts about how to blend a coaching style with your therapy work to optimize therapeutic results.