By: Red Hot Mamas
Published: May 26, 2010
Sometimes it takes tough times to strengthen the personality. Menopause can certainly bring us down some rocky paths challenging even the strongest individuals. Our personal lives are filled with difficult obstacles that seem to amplify as we grow older. During menopause, you may find yourself pondering questions which you have never thought about before. You may have conjured up some positive ideas that contribute to the quality of your life but can’t quite figure the details out. On the contrary, perhaps it is hard to find any “positives” in your life. You may feel your mind may be stressed and twisted by the changes your body is going through. The good news is that feeling confused during the different transitions of menopause (perimenopause and beyond) is normal. The bad news is we all have to go through it. Where do you turn when the stress is too much? Who do you talk to? Who is your support group?
We all need a little help from our friends…
For many people, restitution is found in friends. These are individuals who know us best and who we trust most. We are not afraid to talk to them because they are sensitive and empathetic. Their opinions matter. They care – that’s why we love them. A good friend is always a valuable asset when you are confused and need advice. The option of talking to friends is worthwhile but has its limitations. Sometimes we need more than agreement, we may need someone to challenge and inspire us to a greater reality.
Do I need psychotherapy?
If psychological or emotional problems have you at your wits end, seeking a therapist might be the best option. Depending on your problem, there are a number of different therapists available who specialize in certain conditions. A list of a few:1
- Psychologists (have a doctorate PhD, Psy.D., or Ed.D. in psychology) deal with human behavioral theories, therapeutic techniques. They specialize in the administration of psychological tests and assessments and carry out psychological research.
- Psychiatrists (medical doctors) have traditional medical school training. They have the ability to assess the need for and prescribe medication for anxiety, depression and other problems that set them apart from other mental health professionals.
- Counselors may have specialized training in particular areas (i.e., Certified Alcohol Counselors) or they may have advanced degrees (i.e., Master’s degrees) in counseling, nursing, psychology or guidance. They usually deal with very specific problems (i.e., alcohol addiction, sex therapy or career indecision).
Therapy is a good option for those individuals who are having severe emotional, anxiety, marital strife, fears, death (or loss) concerns. While therapy can be a priceless asset for certain individuals, others may be looking to strengthen themselves and take the next step. What is the next step to bring you to a higher level of achievement?
Enhancing life with a coach
Often times, people are looking for a richer experience to enhance life and bring it to the next level. Once you recognize and strengthen psychological constraints, it’s time to move on with life. This may not be as easy as it sounds. In fact, it is common to think “I can’t do that,” “It’s not for me,” and “I’m not good enough.” A personal life coach can assist you in exonerating these types of ideas. While therapists concentrate on nurturing and supporting feelings, coaches are more action-oriented. Coaches incite motivation to attain achievement. With personal coaching, the benefits can be physical, psychological and/or mental. Therapy is different than coaching for several reasons. The following comparison1 may be helpful:
Conventional therapy tends toward:
- Issue resolution
- Why me?/Why this?
- Looks backward
- Feelings, discussion oriented
- Mostly monologue
- Was then
- Self concept
- Tends toward process
- Heal past
Personal coaching tends toward:
- Problem solving
- What’s next?/What now?
- Looks forward
- More action oriented
- Mostly dialogue
- Is now
- Self discovery
- Self assessment
- Tends toward results
- Create future
If you would like some of the qualities of both (therapy and coaching), you may want to look for a coach who is trained in psychology and counseling as well. You may want a coach who can work with your emotions more if need be.
A personal coach deliberates potential goals based on your capabilities and passions. Your passions give you fuel to fulfill your goals. Being in touch with your passions are important to reach goals. You need fuel for determining yourself to change. If you find it difficult to find your true passions, coaches can help you dig deep and explore your options. A good coach will assist you in moving from where you are now to where you want to be (it is action-oriented). There are many types of coaches who specialize in certain areas (personal/life, business, relationship, spiritual, etc.) depending on your specific needs.
Coaches are trained to “support” you as you get in touch with your inner self and move toward fulfillment. A coach can help you get in the right “state of mind” to plan goals and execute a strategy to accomplish those goals. Coaches are skilled in asking the right questions so “possibilities” show up where there once seemed to be no hope. Whether these “possibilities” are related to your career, relationship, finances, wellness, personal development or life goals, you will work as a team with your coach to strategize and achieve a happier life.
Finding the right coach is essential so you can get the most out of it. If you choose to be coached, you will need to work closely with them. You must trust your coach and be comfortable enough to share yourself with him or her. Your coach must show an understanding of your situations in order to strategize a plan to meet your needs. Choose someone with whom you can relate and connect to. The best way to find the right coach for you is to try them out! Check out three or four before you choose the right one. Most coaches will offer a 30-minute complementary session so you can get to know their style and see if they would be a good match for you. Listen to testimonials and references of others who have been to them before. A good coach will have experience in a multitude of fields (psychology and counseling skills, ability to work with emotions, spiritual, meditation) depending on your personal needs.
After choosing the right coach, the both of you will structure a program to meet your specific needs. Many coaches prefer you to commit to a minimum of three months (and you may choose to go longer). In most times, this is what it takes in order to make long lasting change. Coaching sessions can be by e-mail, telephone, or face-to-face. Design a convenient program so it will be effective and useful to meet your personal needs.
Bringing about the change
As I write this, I am reminded of a book I’ve read in the past, The Art of Happiness co-authored by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. A section in the book is devoted to “Overcoming Obstacles and Bringing About the Change.” With politics, religion and spirituality aside, I think it is important to consider the Dalai Lama’s advice. If you are questioning the importance of seeking professional assistance in achieving personal goals, this excerpt may give you motivation:
“…in discussing an approach to bringing about positive changes within oneself, learning is only the first step. There are other factors as well: conviction, determination, action and effort. So the next step i
s developing conviction. Learning and educating are important because they help one develop conviction of the need to change and help increase one’s commitment. This conviction to change then develops into determination. Next, one transforms determination into action – the strong determination to change enables one to make a sustained effort to implement the actual changes. The final factor of effort is critical…this is the way that inner change and transformation take place in all things, no matter what you are trying to accomplish.
Now, no matter what behavior you are seeking to change, no matter what particular goal or action you are directing your efforts towards, you need to start by developing a strong willingness or wish to do it. You need to generate great enthusiasm. And here, a sense of urgency is a key factor. This sense of urgency is a powerful factor in helping you overcome problems…it can give us tremendous energy.”
1Modified from, University of Northern Colorado Counseling and Therapy: http://www.unco.edu/counseling/therapists.htm