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The Integrated Coaching Academy

Where Coaching and Counselling Connect

Prince harry, grief and how to really help


Prince Harry has gone very public about his mental health struggles resulting from the death of his mother, Princess Diana. In Apple TV’s ‘The Me You Can’t See’ he says he ‘boxed up his emotions’ for 20 years.

It’s true; people often attempt to deal with life’s losses and traumas by disconnecting and switching off their feelings.


The ‘box-it-up’ method can work for a while, as it did for Harry, but what tends to happen over time is that the lid of the box begins to lift all on its own and the anger and despair begin to tumble out in an uncontrolled way. For Harry, the lid of the box seems to have really started to open after his marriage to Meghan and the build up to the birth of his first child created a psychological pattern match to the trauma of his mother’s death.


Harry was filmed in an EMDR session with his therapist. It seems to have really helped. I wish he could also experience the Rewind Technique which was originated by Dr David Muss in the 1970s. It can be even more effective. I did some training with David. As a newly qualified psychotherapist many years ago, I was so amazed by the successes I was having for my PTSD clients that I wrote a book about it. It works in a similar way to EMDR by grounding the client and setting a cognitive task that anchors the brain into the neo cortex. It’s less well known simply because it hasn’t attracted the research and funding of the EMDR programme originated by Francine Shapiro.


Here, an EMDR therapist gives a succinct explanation about the underlying mechanism. She says:

‘The therapy works by the therapist creating a safe and trusting space. We identify the experiences … and bring them into the room in a gentle way to reprocess those memories so the past can be in the past and our past life experiences do not continue to create stress, anxiety and triggers in our current life’


The subconscious mind


What stays in the subconscious mind has the ability to control us. Allowing suppressed emotions to safely surface can actually process long term grief in just one session... if that is what the client wants.

Sometimes, however, the bereaved just want to speak, to be allowed to explore and express their emotions in their own time and in their own way. Fortunately, a Fusion Therapeutic Coach will have the empathic attunement to understand what the client needs from their practitioner.


Yes, if they want resolution, the Rewind Technique can achieve that quickly and efficiently but if they need to talk, a Fusion Coach knows how to offer the time and space for that to happen. It’s about making the model fit the client rather than the client fit the preferred therapy style of the practitioner.


My article this week looks at suppressed grief and how the reaction to unprocessed emotions can take us by surprise many years later.


I hope it helps…


Grief and how to really help


As James sat in front of me, memory after memory of his father’s death surfaced, released, and ran softly down his face.


‘He died when I was 10’, said James. ‘It was an unexpected heart attack. He went to work one morning and didn't come home. Mum thought I was too young to go to the funeral so I went to school on that day just, like any other day.’


James's mum wasn’t being cruel. She had hoped to protect her young son from the pain of seeing her so desperately upset at the grave side. She wanted him to escape somehow the turbulent and intense range of emotions that are a part of the journey through the grieving process. So she made life as normal as possible for him. She compensated by taking him on lavish holidays, buying him the latest gadgets and putting on her ‘I'm fine’ face in the daytime.


Crying alone


She had removed all the pictures of James's father in the house and he was now rarely referred to.

The mother-who-meant-well stayed strong and kept going. She was doing a good job she told herself. After a year, James seemed fine, was doing well at school and never mentioned his father at all.

But the grief hadn’t gone away and it was only after she put James to bed at night that she allowed herself to cry. What she didn't realise was that, in bed at night, James could hear his mother crying and would often cry himself to sleep too.


Both mother and son were going through an intense range of emotions they did not want to communicate to each other, for fear of causing more upset. They had both become isolated in a shared grief for the most well-intentioned of reasons and they were making a mistake that many of us make.

I must keep going


There are plenty of laudable reasons for not dealing with grief. People have to go to work to keep their job. They have to get the kids off to school. They have to mow the lawn, do the shopping, cook and pay the bills. They think if they give way to grief, it will be like a dam has burst. They won’t be able to cope with the deluge and will drown in a flood of their own tears.


But deferring grief is like living with an undetonated bomb. We fool ourselves that if we tiptoe around it, perhaps it won’t go off.


An open wound


However the loss and grief remain as a concealed, but still-open, wound. Although we may have put a plaster over it, it will not begin to heal until we acknowledge its presence and let some light and air onto the injury.


As Prince Harry has observed, death has become a sanitised business.


We try to ignore it. We clean it up with phrases like ‘passed over’, or ‘slipped away’ rather than saying someone has died. Or we wrap it up and leave it on a shelf in a darkened room that we try not to visit.

We are taught, in the face of adversity to stand strong. We must stay in control. We have to keep a very British ‘stiff upper lip’.


But grief is not an illness. It’s a fact of life. We will all lose someone we love and we will all feel the pain. Being able to ride the intense waves of emotion that come with bereavement is an example of mind management and asking for help or talking to someone about how we really feel is a sign of emotional intelligence, not weakness.


As a therapeutic coach, I have a range of skills in my professional toolbox. But for James, as with most of my clients who are grieving, I used the simplest, yet most powerful of them all.

I listened.


Frances Masters MBACP accred GHGI


Frances Masters is a BACP accredited psychotherapist, coach, training consultant and author of the book PTSD Resolution: Reclaiming life from trauma.


In 2009, Frances founded the charity Reclaim Life; training its volunteers to work in the new, integrated coach-counselling model, Fusion.


As founding Principal of the Integrated Coaching Academy Frances gained accreditation for her training from NCFE as Customised Awards; 'The Fusion Therapeutic Coaching, Counselling and Training Diploma in Therapeutic Coaching and the distance learning programme Certificate in Therapeutic Coaching Skills'


Training programmes also include


The Integrated Coaching Academy certified Fusion Mindfulness Based Mind Management Skills Certificate

and new online training Breathe Stress Away


Fusion® Therapeutic Coaching is an approved NCFE training centre, an organisational member of he British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy and the Association for Coaching

Blog

5 Rules of Successful Habit Formation

Posted on October 5, 2019 at 10:15 AM



You have decided that you want to change your life. You've got a goal in mind. What can you do to ensure that you achieve success? You know that you will need to adopt certain success habits. The following rules will help you ensure successful habit formation.


Plan

Success habits don't just happen by accident. They are created by design. Creating a plan will increase the chances of your successfully creating a new habit. Think of the plan like a roadmap. Include your starting point, the final goal and all the steps along the way. Don't forget to note down potential stumbling blocks and how you will overcome them.

Many people include a vision board in their planning. This is a great way to see what your goal looks like and when placed somewhere that you will see it regularly can reinforce the goal you want to achieve.


Focus

You must be committed to your goal of creating a new habit. If you are not committed, then the chances of succeeding in attaining it reduce dramatically. It is important to believe that you will create your new habit and to be able to see yourself doing it.

Write down a positive statement that affirms you have created your new habit.

For example, if you want to create the success habit of waking early then you could write, 'I wake at 5.00 am every day refreshed and ready to start my day. I use my extra time to run for 20 minutes and to eat a healthy breakfast. I spend 30 minutes reading a motivational book because I know that it helps me improve my knowledge and will inspire me. Before I start my work I make sure that I plan my day and make sure that I know which tasks are important for helping me to achieve my goal.'


Know Yourself

Self-knowledge is crucial to creating new habits, as well as eliminating old ones.

You need to understand your strengths and weaknesses. It is important to know where you are right now, where you want to be and what needs to change.

By knowing yourself you can create a growth mind-set. This ensures that you understand that action is important as by taking action you create change which leads to success.

Practice

Habits take 21 days to become routine. This means that you need to ensure that you build time into every day to practice your new habit.

To ensure that you complete the full 21 days you need to plan and you need to identify any potential stumbling points that may cause you to want to skip a day. Knowing what might interfere in your daily habit practice ensures that you can put in place plans to overcome it.

Positive mind-set is key as is commitment. If you are committed to creating the new success habit and understand why it is important to your overall plans and goals then you will be more able to overcome stumbling points and ensure that you practice your new habit every day until it becomes a routine part of your daily life.


Reward

When you set out to create a new success habit you have your plan for how you are going to achieve it and what your life will look like once that happens. Don't forget to build in a reward. Make it something that you really want and value. It doesn't have to be big but it does have to be important to you. By planning a reward when you have created your new habit you will be more emotionally invested in creating the habit.

Write down your reward or get a picture of it and put it somewhere where you will see it every day. This will reinforce the desire to succeed and strengthen your motivation to achieve your goal.

By using the five rules above you will be creating a positive mental attitude towards creating a new success habit. Don't try to create too many new habits at once. It is simpler and more realistic to create one new habit at a time.



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