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Mindfulness Coaching and Mental Health Therapy

Let's face it, Mental Health Therapy is HARD! Even just finding a therapist who is a good fit is a challenge, and then you sit across from this total stranger and dig into the deepest and biggest challenges and issues of your life. It requires vulnerability, honesty, self-reflection, and hard (HARD) work. It's intimidating and exhausting, and a very lengthy process. The role of a therapist is first to diagnose a clinical mental health condition, develop a treatment plan, and then work together with you as the client to discover and address the root causes of mental challenges and systematically treat the traumas and tragedies of your past so that you can move forward into a more function future life. More often than not, therapy work is like peeling an onion, layer by layer, and the more you peel, the more issues come to the surface. Each session reveals more of the deeper issues that must be addressed.

There was a time in my life where I sought Mental Health Therapy to deal with the grief and loss and shame surrounding the death of my grandfather at the same time as a failed long-term relationship and the life change of graduating college and starting a new life in a community where I didn't know anyone. I was diagnosed with Adjustment Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Clinical Depression. For several weeks, week after week, my therapist would help me dig out all the feelings and emotions and dig into them to figure out the root cause of my challenges. I left every session and sat in my car crying for over an hour before I could drive home. Then, the entire next day I would spend in recovery. At the same time, I rode the roller coaster of trying several anti-depressants that caused severe and unmanageable side effects. I eventually gave up therapy because it was just too hard. I traded it for a diversion and distraction technique of keeping too busy by working too much, working out too hard, and studying nutrition and diet intensely. The diet and exercise curbed my mental health symptoms for years until I discovered yoga and meditation.

Years later, I found myself in therapy once again, this time addressing the grief and guilt and loss and shame of divorce. But this time, I had the skills and tools of various mindfulness techniques I had learned over years of yoga and meditation study. This time I had the tools to address symptoms of anxiety and panic. I was able to apply the MOZI Method exercises I had developed so that I could drive away within minutes of an intense therapy session instead of sitting in my car crying for an hour. This second stint in therapy was easier, shorter, and far more successful because I worked mindfulness in conjunction with therapy.

As a Mindfulness Coach, I recognize that I am not trained or qualified as a therapist. I do not have the expertise to address the deeper issues of trauma and tragedy or clinical disorders of mental health. At the same time, therapists often know that clients need mindfulness techniques, exercises, and tools to manage the symptoms of their conditions, but lack the educational training and lesson planning to teach these skills to their clients. Furthermore, therapists often just don't have the time in a session to both dig into the deep roots of the issues and teach the skills and techniques to address the symptoms.

Here's an analogy.

You go to your doctor because something hurts. Your doctor conducts and exam, asks questions, and runs tests to eventually figure out what is the root problem that needs to be treated. Then, the doctor prescribes you a treatment. That treatment may be medication, physical therapy, surgery, or some other procedure. More often than not, that doctor relies on other professionals to administer that treatment. And quite often that treatment requires a number of different things. For example, you might need some kind of pain management so that you can perform the challenging physical therapy. The doctor oversees the big picture of the many professionals and treatments offered by other professionals.

In the case of mindfulness and mental health therapy, your therapist is the doctor. They conduct the interviews, run the tests, ask the questions, and provide a treatment plan. A Mindfulness Coach would be one of those treatments that work to supplement and support the overall treatment plan. If your therapist diagnoses you with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, they will work with you to heal the past trauma related to that disorder. At the same time, your Mindfulness Coach will teach you specific exercises and techniques to address the symptoms of your anxiety, making it easier for you to face those deeper traumas and tragedies of your life.

Mental Health Therapy and Mindfulness Coaching go very well hand-in-hand. Mindfulness Coaching is educationally based, while therapy is therapeutic and clinically focused. While your Therapist can dig into the deeper issues of trauma and mental health issues (anxiety, depression, adjustment, attachment), your Mindfulness Coach can teach you simple and specific techniques, skills and exercises (breathing, affirmations, posture & mechanics movements, etc.) to address symptoms and every day life stresses as they arise in the moment. Specifically, Mindfulness Coaching with TeriLeigh is a mind-body-spirit approach where you will learn about the holistic integration of your physical/mental/emotional bodies as well as specific neuroscience techniques to reset your nervous system and change habits and patterns.


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