The debate between what is coaching and what is therapy rages on in the psychology and coaching worlds, but one thing is for sure. Whether coaching is right for you or you need to get “supportive psychotherapy” from a licensed professional, as the author of The Curse of the Capable, Arthur P Ciaramicoli PhD calls it; having someone in your corner to help you correct distortions in thinking or as we say in the coaching world, change “your story(s)”, is really helpful.
Now, I know mental health has had a stigma to it until just recently and that it lingers still, after all, why can’t you get your story straight all by yourself?
C’mon, you’re a competent person, you are capable, you should be able to do this all by yourself and frankly, it’s amazing that you even have any thoughts that aren’t supporting you!
Yeah, Right! (That is sarcasm as its best)
Everyone has to uncover stories -”thinking” – that are not supporting what they want (from the past, generated or reinforced in the present and that affect the future) so they can feel and function better. Basically, in a way, almost everyone needs therapy.
Here’s a recent article that I read on The Huffington Post titled “Everyone Should Be In Therapy”.
Here are a few thoughts from the author Thomas Moore:
One of the first things I learned after beginning to practice psychotherapy was that everyone is at least a little neurotic, and everyone, at one time or another, could do with a little therapy. I’m understating my case.
I’m tempted, and yet I’m not going to broaden the notion of therapy to mean any kind of guidance and help from friends and family. When I say that everyone needs it, I’m referring to structured, formal psychotherapy. Everyone could benefit from it once in a while.
We are not as rational as we might believe or act. Passions can get the better of the best of us. I have yet to meet a completely healthy, adjusted neurosis-free person. I include myself. I have clearly needed therapy on several occasions, and I still reflect on insights, dreams, stories and events from my experiences as a client in therapy.
It appears that the public doesn’t always understand what therapy is all about. Still today some people avoid therapy because it could cost them their jobs and reputations. The public seems to think that if you can’t maintain the illusion of mental health, then you are not fit to belong to normal society. You become what the Gospel calls a “leper,” referring not to a physical disease but to a condition of exclusion. You are ostracized because you are not perceived as conventionally normal.
Apparently there are two kinds of discourse about therapy: the public version that associates it with a Frankensteinian messing with a person’s head, and the discourse of those who practice it or know it from experience, the version that sees its benefits and effectiveness.
I am one of those people who sees it’s benefits and effectiveness, but I must admit that I too, at one point, thought having any thoughts that were creating conflict within me meant something was wrong with me (and it sure as hell felt that way). I went through a period of time, before I worked on the book The Curse of The Capable with Dr Ciaramicoli, where I thought that getting any type of supportive psychological help meant that I was basically incompetent or incapable. Something like that and it really worked against me.
I was promoting a “performance lifestyle”, but was still suffering from internal thinking that was driving me non stop, and that is not a performance lifestyle where living in balance is priority number one. But over time, I learned that I was suffering from performance addiction and one of it’s chief symptoms, pathological certainty stems from perfectionism. Perfectionists don’t want to admit that there’s anything wrong with them. So if it feel like there is, something must really be wrong.
That’s when I opened up to getting help. I looked at having a coach and getting the psychological support I needed more as a process of getting a few people in my corner, to help me sort through what was true and what was not true about my life, and I was able take part in a far more constructive discourse about how I was thinking and living.
What I discovered was that we can develop and maintain personal and professional stories that support a great deal more of what we want, not what we don’t want, when we have the support from a coach or a psychology professional. After all, it is unsupportive, novel or untrue stories about yourself and situations, including others, that hold people back to begin with; stories based on false data about the past and even practical elements about what you’re up to in your life and business that just aren’t true or supporting you.
That’s the curse of the capable person; unsupportive stories that hold you back. At first, you can’t quite put your finger on them, but you know something is wrong and you need help to sort through it. The curse can be lifted, when you begin to change the stories you have about yourself, your life and about others, to stories that are either truer or simply work better.
The book: The Curse of the Capable, is all about the 4 stages to greater love, health and success.
What could lead to developing better results in so many aspects of our lives?
Changing Your Story. Each stage in this process of changing your story, is about uncovering the stories that you’ve accumulated over the course of your life that are simply not true and not supporting you; stories that you created or bought into, usually in response to situations where you had limited knowledge and insufficient evidence to know whether or not your story was true, or would ultimately support you in what you want. These are stories that are usually protective in nature, but ultimately hold you back. Andy by the way, the stories you usually tell at any given time are directly related to your energy level.
Now tell me someone who doesn’t have a least a few unsupportive stories hanging around?
Frankly, I can’t think of anyone for that matter and that’s why the title of the most recent book I contributed to is called “The Curse” of the Capable“. You see, if you are having trouble balancing your life, living a healthy lifestyle successfully or achieving your goals for reasons other than market environment or logistical challenges (everyone contends with that type of stuff), but because of the hidden challenges created by your stories about those situations and other; you are likely suffering from the curse of the capable - and that’s why the same ole story my be repeating itself in your life.
In the fast paced world we live in, it’s very easy to accumulate a slew of inaccurate stories. We don’t exactly live in a world rampant with empathy and clear communication… as unclear email, cut-short fast chats, and overwhelm rule.
So what do we often do?
We create novel stories that help us make sense of the world, fill in the gaps and often make us right, and very often they are not true or supportive. They are judgments and projections and all kinds of other stuff that may make us feel good in the moment, but ultimately hold us back.
And that’s why having a coach or a supportive psychologist in your corner is so important.
What’s best for you?
Arthur P Ciaramicoli PhD and I will be talking about this in the coming weeks. Join into the conversation on Facebook and discover how to change your story; the 4 stages to greater love, health and success. You’ll be surprised by how powerful you can be, when you change the stories that are holding you back.