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Create Space for Emotional Release_Final

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>> As a coach, what brings you more discomfort? A client who never seems to open up and display any emotions or a client who breaks down into tears every session? Facilitating and navigating emotional release is an integral part of coaching, but for many of us, it's also one of the most difficult and uncomfortable parts of the coaching process. In this lecture, I'm going to share with you six things that you can do to help create space for and facilitate the emotional release your clients are looking for. You've probably met people who are highly guarded with their emotions. They tend to have their walls up and avoid any personal questions. And then you've probably met those people who wear their heart on their sleeve and are quick to share all of their problems with the first person who listen to them. Neither of these examples are bad or wrong, they're just the style of each individual's level of comfort with feeling and expressing their emotions in front of other people or perhaps just feeling and expressing their emotions in general. Now regardless of how open someone is, there's one universal we all have, and that's the need to be heard. As a coach, you have the unique opportunity to give someone the space to be themselves, speak their mind, and feel their emotions. How cool is that? It's important to understand that before you can help other people with emotional release, you have to be aware of your own emotional landscape. Do you have pent up anger or frustration inside you? Have you been holding on to sadness, grief, guilt, or regret? Do you allow yourself to fully express your feelings or do you tend to hold back? Most of us were taught to withhold our emotions. Think about it this way. When a child cries, we say, "Don't cry. It'll be okay." And even though it's meant with the best of intentions, it still encourages emotional repression. This is the internalization of feelings. So many of us have gone through life holding onto and repressing our emotions instead of releasing them because rarely are we given a forum in which to fully express ourselves. If you've never fully processed your own emotions, it can be difficult to hold space for a client when they're experiencing strong feelings. So the first step to being able to support your clients through their difficult emotions is to take some time to work through your own. It can also be helpful to remember that negative emotions are strongly associated with shame and discomfort, so even when clients want to open up, they may have a hard time doing so. You'll have clients who may not even realize they're suffering or walking around holding this pain because they've become so used to carrying it around that it's just part of the scenery. It's life the only way they know it. This is problematic because if you don't fully express an emotional event, you never fully resolve it. It stays with you imprinted as a distressing story in your mind and as a negative energy in your body. If you don't release your hurts, they stay within you. Think about how powerful this is. Think about every time you've had a negative experience that wasn't fully resolved, and imagine this as toxic debris in your body and mind. Let's look at the effects of emotional repression and stress on both the body and mind in further detail. Emotional stress actually causes physical symptoms, so really, it's all connected. The emotional work and what we think of as the "health" part of health coaching are essentially one and the same. A client who is concerned with gastrointestinal issues can benefit just as much from some soulful healing as a client who is suffering from a bad breakup. Chances are they're both suffering with some kind of stress or stuck emotional energy that, if nothing else, is compounding how they feel. Symptoms of emotional repression can include depression, anxiety, fatigue, irritability, apathy, weight gain or weight loss, increase or decrease in appetite, poor self-esteem, stomach pain, irritable bowel, and poor immune system. The list goes on, but these are a few of the really common symptoms. So many clients will come to you with problems like these. As I'm sure you've noticed, these are common symptoms of so many issues. Sometimes this can feel confusing as a coach, but remember, it's not your job to diagnose. Whatever the issue, oftentimes at the core of whatever a client is feeling, he or she is likely experiencing effects of being emotionally overloaded and tired. Just about everyone can benefit and make gains from a supportive outlet, a big dose of self-care and nourishing whole foods. Your client may very well have an allergy to soy, but what if the allergy itself developed as a symptom of chronic emotional stress that manifested as illness in the body. To get to the root of your client's health complaints, you'll always want to encourage them to open up to you, to shed light on what else is going on for them no matter how straight forward and non-emotional the problem might seem. We've established that your client's emotional health can affect them physically. These physical symptoms themselves feel stressful and can take a mental toll creating a cyclical pattern of pain. To understand the other side of this, now let's take a look at the psychological impacts of emotional repression. As I mentioned, when you don't fully process something upsetting or frightening that's happened to you, it stays with you, stored away in your brain as a distressing story. Think of it as a recording or tape in your brain that gets played back to you on repeat because it has nowhere else to go. Something bad happens, you remember it, and then the next time something bad happens that resembles it, the message gets strengthened and the hurt gets deeper. Eventually, the message becomes so strong that it takes over and guides behavior. You may be thinking this sounds familiar, and if so, you've been paying attention because this is the same process for how limiting beliefs form. Your emotional "tapes" become the stories of your life, and if you don't release them, it's through this perspective that you see and interact with the world. This is why people have a tendency to act or react from places of past hurt. Many of us know someone who frequently says things like, "Relationships will only cause you pain." And yet this person seems to always seek out unhealthy relationships and unstable partners. Why does this happen? Often, the person has another deeper limiting belief that's emerged from their emotional repression, and that could sound something like, "I'm unlovable, and I'm not good enough to find lasting love." This is the real belief at the core of their onion, but they're probably not going to be as quick to reveal or face this one because it's vulnerable, raw, and uncomfortable. It entails a personal responsibility to overcome. It's important to help your clients avoid blaming themselves in the process of emotional release. All humans are born inherently whole and good. At the core of every person is a good person. But as the result of repeated emotional distress, traumatic experiences, and disappointments, many people lose sight of their wholeness and develop a core belief that they're bad or that they're not good enough. It's your job, as a coach, to help these clients get in touch with their inner goodness that they've become disconnected from so that they can feel safe being vulnerable and being seen. Your clients will need to face their pain head on in order to fully move beyond it. This is why coaching has the potential to be so powerful because like I said, this may be the only space your client has to feel safe and appropriate enough to release their pain. When we fill the space by talking instead of letting our clients release what's going on inside, we short-change that experience. Now let's talk about how to create and hold this special space. Many coaches know that this is something that they're supposed to do and want to do but struggle to navigate their own discomfort while facilitating intense emotional release. Do you ever feel this way? To help you navigate this rocky terrain, I'll share with you my six guidelines for creating space for emotional release. Let's jump right into number one since it speaks directly to the question I just posed. First, ride out your own feelings of discomfort. Imagine you have a client, we'll call him Robert, and he's sitting across from you. You reach a vulnerable point in the session and suddenly tears start to well up in his eyes. All of a sudden, he is crying hysterically and balling his eyes out, his nose is running and he's wailing and shouting and even gasping for air because he's so overcome by his emotions, he can barely breathe. How do you feel in this situation? What are you doing? What are you saying and thinking? Are you sitting awkwardly trying not to make eye contact and waiting for this moment to pass? Are you saying loving reassuring things? Or are you showing silent compassion? Maybe passing Robert a tissue? Or are you wishing that this uncomfortable moment would just hurry up and end? Or maybe are you accepting being in this moment? Do you dare to tell Robert to lean into this feeling, to go deeper until he can't go any further and to notice what it's like there in the eye of the storm? If this situation makes you feel uncomfortable, that's okay. Let's face it. It is an uncomfortable situation to sit in. If you feel discomfort in moments like these, it doesn't make you a bad coach. What's most important is that you do what it is you're asking of them and sit in your own discomfort for as long as it's necessary for your client to be in this space, even if that means sitting with 60 minutes of sobbing and shouting. If you're allowing your own feelings to interfere with your client's process, you're not fully holding the space. Number two, sit in silence and resist the urge to talk. You'll get a nagging feeling to want to break the silence, maybe to ask if they're okay or guide them forward with a question. Don't. Holding a space for your client means not rushing them to the next topic, the next question, or to articulate what they're experiencing internally. It means learning through practice when to provide them with all the time they need to reflect and release. If you allow for their own process to unfold, it will run its own proper course. Think of a toddler throwing a tantrum. Left with their feelings, the child will cry and kick and scream for what may feel like an eternity. Even though it's hard to do, if he or she is left uninterrupted to just do their thing and let it all out, after sometime, the child will reach a point where they just stop. And now suddenly, they're over it and done with it. This is how emotions are released. Number three, redirect when they wander. Because people are wired to avoid discomfort, during times of emotional release, you may notice clients cycling through emotional expression followed by an attempt to regain composure or change the subject. They may discover that sitting with a feeling isn't as bad as they'd imagined, but their natural impulse to avoid pain will likely pop up again and again. Some people desperately want to stop feeling the way they do, but they'll do whatever they can to avoid the feelings of shame and vulnerability at all costs. They're afraid to be vulnerable because if they reveal the darkest aspects of themselves, they fear that the people who accept them will reject them. They're afraid of being misunderstood or unloved, and even though they're paying you to be their confidant, they're still concerned on some level what you think about them and how you view them. It's important that you don't give into your own discomfort and allow your clients to swim out of the deep end before they've processed the feeling they want to release. Even if you feel like you want to run and hide, redirect them back to stay with the feeling. Remind them that they're in no danger of physical harm even if it feels like the world is going to end. You can reassure your client that he or she is in a safe judgment-free space with full permission to freely express him or herself in a non-violent manner. Number four, give them permission to unload. So as I mentioned, chances are your clients will try to hold back their tears and pull it together rather than have, what may feel like, an emotional breakdown. Most people are afraid to unravel completely before someone else's eyes. You can respect this and still gently push them forward by reassuring them that you're totally okay sitting there while they cry, yell, whimper, laugh, whatever it is they feel like they need to do that's non-violent to really feel what's going on and that this is all part of the process. They need to hear this. It may seem silly, but they might need you to literally give them permission to fall apart. Give them the permission and remind them that this is part of the process of putting themselves back together. Your client may feel embarrassed or that they're wasting time feeling instead of doing. Number five, communicate your support with nonverbals. What you should be doing while they go through their process is to sit calm and neutral, tuned into your client, giving them all the time they need without interjecting anything. You're on and ready to go with open body language, and you offer no opinions or suggestions. You're listening even if they're not talking. You're checking in with eye contact, but not fixing your gaze intently on them so they feel like they're being stared at. Finally, number six. Refrain from self-disclosure. This isn't a time to disclose your own experiences. Keep the focus on your client. When your client is working to release a repressed emotion, telling them about how you can totally relate, because you once found yourself in a similar situation when you were still at your corporate job for example, is not helpful. There's a time to build rapport and connect. But during emotional release, it should be all about your client and all about sitting with their feelings. When you bring yourself into it, it brings them out of their moment regardless of how relatable it is. So to recap, the six guidelines for creating space to facilitate your client's emotional release are to write out your own feelings of discomfort, sit in silence, redirect when they wander, give them permission to unload, communicate support with nonverbals, and refrain from self-disclosure. Creating space for emotions in any coaching relationship is important and necessary because everyone struggles with their stored feelings, and so resolving these feelings is a universal way to help anyone find some sense of relief. If you find it hard to sit through intense emotional breakdowns with your clients, remember, this gets easier with practice and also by making an effort to learn how to sit through your own discomfort as it comes up in your own life. I hope you found this lecture to be helpful, and I'm so glad to have been sharing this really important information with you. Thanks for watching, and I'll see you later.

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Duration: 16 minutes and 14 seconds
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Language: English
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Views: 5
Posted by: integrativenutrition on Jul 10, 2018

Create Space for Emotional Release_Final

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