The Life Coach
By Lou Albano
A life coach encourages people to do better. The people I work with, as a life coach, are not necessarily sick. They are people who may be at a crossroads in their lives and they may know what to do. Others naman have psychological or emotional blocks and I help them to move forward.
- Psychological or emotional blocks- like plaque in arteries?
No, more like impediments to a living a better life. For instance, people come to me for relationship issues. Some very much want to enter new relationships but they still have emotional baggage from their past relationships. That’s very common.
With males, I also do sexual coaching. For instance, some consult me about why they can do it with other women but not with their wives.
Sometimes, they feel guilty about fantasizing about other women. It’s like disloyalty: “I want to be loyal to my wife. But even if she’s right in front of me, my mind is somewhere else playing with another woman.”
Another is built-up resentment and anger. The kiss-and-make-up thing-- it sounds exciting only if it’s not frequent. But if it’s freuqnet, anger builds up, and pretty soon, the kiss-and-make-up doesn’t make up anymore. And since a guy’s erection is influenced by his state of mind, it certainly won’t work. So I n that case, the resentment and anger should be dealt with.
Yeah. There was an old lady whom I felt very nurturing towards. I wanted to sit beside her, show support. All of a sudden, she hit me on the lips. It was swollen and full of blood for a whole week.
Another was a psychotic person. I was just writing out a prescription for him and our conversation was very nice. All of a sudden, he hits me. One second I was filling out a prescription and in the next moment, I was defending myself! If I had been any slower I’d be dead!
I have an alarm, a stick, and Mace. Now you know my secrets! Hahaha!
Hindi na. I’ve realized that no matter how small their problem seems, in their perspective, it’s a big problem. Every person’s problem is a big problem for them, and that’s the reason they come here.
- Do you also have problems yourself?
I always have problems. And I have my own therapist. I have this idea kasi na I have no right to help others if I don’t get help for myself too. If I help people grow, then I have to deal with my issues and grow too. If I don’t deal with my issues, they interfere with my effectivity in dealing with my client’s issues.
Yes, initially. My biggest problem dati was I was treating a lot of patients who where insomniacs. They were calling me up when they couldn’t sleep, which made me lose sleep in turn. So I decided, since I’m the instrument of my own work, then I have to take care of myself. So I learned to shut off my cell phone when I sleep.
- How do you establish my professional distance?
If I were to involve my emotions all the time, that would be very draining. To keep professional distance, I resort to psychotherapeutic techniques. For instance, I can do “mirroring”. In this technique, I imitate your actions, the tilt of your head, in a way that is not obvious. In this way, my body is empathizing with your body language. Sometimes, I have to rely on techniques such as this so I can empathize without involving my emotions.
Practice forgiveness. It’s good to forgive but you have to respect your own process. If you feel you still can’t forgive, then don’t. The important thing is the willingness to forgive later on.
Be grateful. Count your blessings. Like for example, when you wake up, what’s the first thing you do? Don’t forget the lesson from the cat. The cat stretches and yawns-- ang sarap-sarap tingnan. It’s a slow waking up, imbibing the feelings of being given another good morning.
Live in the here and now. When you eat, do you taste your food or are you thinking about something else? I call it sensual spirituality. When you eat, do you taste that vegetable? The natural outcome would be gratitude. You want to thank God. When you’re walking, do you feel the pebbles under your feet?
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