Are you having trouble managing the conflict between your couples? Have you avoided offering couples therapy all together because you have a perception that it is very hard? Or, have you thought about no longer offering couples counselling because you had some “bad sessions”? Is there another part of you that wants to figure out how to do this well and believes that you could with the right guidance? Coaching for therapists focuses on helping you gain the skills to be an exceptional couples therapist.
Let’s face it, couples therapy is anxiety provoking for both the couple and the therapist. When you are sitting in a room with a couple that are fighting, and you are supposed to be the one who knows how to guide them, and you don’t know what to do, anxiety arises in you the therapist. And this is normal. Knowing what to do in those moments matters. And if you don’t know what to do, you may not be able to help them the way you want to.
One reason couples therapy is hard is because it pushes our growth as therapists: that is the beauty and the challenge of this work. So ask yourself, do I want to grow these skills and grow myself? if so, Coaching for Therapists is for you.
Coaching for Therapists is an educational and personal growth process. Common goals include increased ability to manage conflict in the room when practicing couples therapy, increased understanding of the Developmental Model of Couples Therapy, or increased leadership skills to ensure that you are offering your couples a strong container for the therapeutic work you offer.
Therapist coaching is a process for therapists that guides the therapist to grow their own self and skills to enable them to put those new options into practice with success. Coaching is primarily present and future focused. You and I work together to identify goals, deepen understanding of the what limits success, and develop an action plan with specific steps that are aligned with your values and desired outcome(s). I may offer educational information or strategies for increasing facilitation and leadership skills if that is of value and aligned with your goals for coaching. Some coaching modalities do not offer any consultation, however when I am working with therapists I may offer case consultation if that is of value to you.
I am a Registered Clinical Counsellor with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors. I have completed a Negotiation Certificate and a Family Mediation Certificate at the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JI). I have also completed all of the coursework for a Conflict Coaching Certificate at the JI. I worked as a Family Law Mediator for 13 years. During this time I also taught many conflict resolution courses and offered coaching to clients wanting to better manage conflict in their mediations or in their workplace. I am a member in good standing with Mediate BC. I have trained with Ellyn Bader and Pete Pearson in the Developmental Model of Couple Therapy since 2017 and have taught for Ellyn and Pete in their online training program.
The coach’s role is to inspire, encourage growth and guide the therapist coachee to identify their aspiration, develop clarity on where they want to go, what skills they want to have, explore the steps required to achieve that, and leave the coaching session with a plan on how to begin to execute this vision. If a coachee wants to learn about the Developmental Model of Couples Therapy (DM) and how to apply these principles to their own personal life or work then I can offer education and case consultation in the DM.
The coachee agrees to protect the confidentiality of their clients while working on their own development and growth. No information that could identify the coachee’s clients will be presented by the coachee. Please remember that the focus of coaching is on the therapist’s growth and development and that coaching/case consultation work is to be kept separate and distinct from clinical supervision which is outside the scope of our relationship.
The coachee’s role is to attend each session with an area of interest for that session’s work. The coachee agrees to be the authority on themselves. Although the coach may offer suggestions, the coachee will accept or reject these suggestions based on what works for them. The coachee agrees to commit to action steps to move their progress forward between sessions and will attend the next session prepared to speak to the success or lack of success in putting these action steps into practice. This is a personal growth process. The coachee agrees to be kind to themselves as they grow as growth can be painful. It’s important to be on your own side.
Coaching is not Supervision. The purpose of therapist coaching/case consultation is to promote and enhance the personal growth and skillset of the therapist. It is an education/coaching modality. It is not supervision. The coach does not take any responsibility for your cases, your clients, or your actions. The therapist coachee is seen as a naturally resourceful, capable, and whole. This is a strength based process.
If the coach identifies something that may fit into the realm of ethical or safety concerns, the coach will name this and encourage the coachee to seek supervision with a qualified supervisor familiar with your ethical code and standards of your certifying body in your area. The coachee agrees to seek supervision for any situations where it might be wise and will not use the coaching process in a way intended for supervision. The coachee agrees they will not to hold the coach liable for any legal, ethical or safety issues that may exist in their work.
Risks and Benefits of Coaching
It is important that you understand the benefits and risks of coaching. Some of the possible benefits are increased insights into your own self, enhanced ability to navigate difficult relationships, and increased skills in managing challenging situations. Some of the possible risks are that coaching can evoke strong emotional experiences and it can bring difficult memories to the surface. Another risk is that increased self-awareness and skill development can result in shifts in your relationships with others and this can be painful at times.
All information that you share with me is confidential. There are some exceptions to confidentiality. These exceptions are listed below:
- If I believe that you are at risk of causing serious harm to yourself
- If I believe that you are at risk of causing serious harm to another person
- When a child or vulnerable adult is in need of protection due to abuse or neglect
- When the law requires it, such as if records are subpoenaed to court
- If you request that I communicate with another teacher or coach, I will ask you to sign a consent to release information form
- In the event that I am required to protect myself from a formal process such as litigation.
In the above exceptions to confidentiality I will only release the information that is required under the circumstances.