Coaching for psychological deep transformation without long term dependency
By Yehuda Tagar
For individuals who choose to become the people they were waiting for – it is an imperative to take charge of their own developmental process. For them many a threshold will have to be crossed on the way to be in charge of their process of healing, transformation, personal development and creative expression in the world. One of these major thresholds could, in the guise of a step forward, become a trap: resorting to external help, be it a teacher, guru, minister of religion, another belief system, a leader. These have been around with us for a long time, but in addition, for the past 100 years, we also have counsellors, psychotherapists, and more recently clinical psychologists and coaches of personal development – to take further the old roles of the personal guide. Is this a quantum leap forward or a change of dress and title for the same? The juries are still out on this.
Depth psychology – and the myriad of approaches that branches out from it – is a powerful sign of our time. It grew side by side with the spread of the imperative of individuation becoming a normative standard for most of us. There is a growing number of therapists on offer in the west: about 250,000 in the UK alone, about 700,000 in the US, and many more in continental Europe, let alone the rest of the world. Psychotherapy has been around for over 100 years and growing strong. The need for assistance in matters psychological is demonstrated by the sheer demand for them. Obviously many of us recognise the need for such a help.
At the same time there are signs of a trend away from psychotherapy as a solution for psychological development. Disenchantment from the pathology focus of traditional forms of psychotherapy, resistance to the stigma and cost attached to being a long term patient, combined with the desire for short term outcome and the acknowledgement that one does not have to be sick in order to strive for personal change – all these have led to the recent development of personal coaching for upgrading performance: life coaching, health coaching, executive coaching, business coaching.
To put it simplistically: while psychotherapy is, rightly or wrongly, conceived by many to be a medical orientated, long term intervention, aiming at a progressive shift from various levels of pathology back to some notion of normalcy – coaching is conceived as the assisted striving of the aspirant individual to make a conscious shift from conventional functioning into personal and professional excellence.
Consequently, many who would hesitate to acknowledge a need for a counsellor, a clinical psychologist or a psychotherapist – will readily contact a personal, life or executive coach. The prevailing perception is this: something must be seriously wrong with you to need a psychotherapist, but it is your aspiration for further development and excellence that might attract you to a coach. Coaching promotes improvement of personal and professional performance and the holistic wellness model, appealing to the aspirants of high achievement. Psychotherapy on the other hand offers the assistance of individuals to go deep into underlying patterns governing their lives unconsciously, mitigating the fear and resistance that otherwise prevent improvement.