What is Personal Growth Work?

Personal growth work is an approach to significantly reducing worry and fear, vastly increasing energy and happiness, while achieving and sustaining well-being in mind, emotions, relationships, body, and spirit.  It begins from a belief that the habits and attitudes we have are learned, and can therefore be unlearned and replaced with ways of being that serve wholeness, balance, relationships, creative fulfillment, spiritual joy, inner peace, professional success, and personal happiness. 

± Is Personal Growth just another term for therapy, counseling, or life coaching?

Not really.  Conventional therapy is usually oriented towards pathology, and relieving you of some form of illness.  Counseling is often focused on getting you to stop some kind of destructive or self-sabotaging behaviors, such as chemical dependency counseling. Both therapists and counselors normally operate within limitations and expectations imposed by your insurance company.  Life coaching focuses on achieving very specific goals, usually related to professional advancement, and may not look deeply into the emotional, spiritual, and energetic components of what’s blocking you in meeting your goals.  Although professionals in all four fields use similar skills, and should have similar training, personal growth educators help you get your whole life working the way you want it to, on multiple levels.   

± Don’t all therapists or counselors aim for clients’ personal growth?

Many do, that’s true.  And growth often happens when one examines one’s illness, and behavior patterns, so the better therapists and counselors encourage personal growth for their clients.  The primary difference is that you don’t need to have a mental illness, or a dysfunctional behavior pattern, or a career goal to gain enormous benefit from personal growth education.  All you need is a problem that you aren’t succeeding in solving alone.  Some people even prefer doing personal growth work when they have no problems, but do have an interest in constructing the best inner life they can possibly have.

± Does insurance pay for personal growth?

Insurance companies operate on the premise that they fund the fixing of what is broken — as if you are a car and I’m a mechanic.  Personal growth is in the realm of continuing education in the school life.  Even though insurance does not reimburse for personal growth work, this kind of work is an investment in yourself for long term effectiveness and well-being.  See this page for why you wouldn’t want to use insurance to pay for this kind of work anyway.

± How much does it cost?

I charge less than the market rate for psychotherapy and sessions with me are 90 minutes to 2 hours long instead of the arbitrary 45-50 minutes.  In addition, I encourage email or phone calls between sessions when clarification is needed. It’s a valuable bargain for your time and resources.  Sliding scale possible in some circumstances.  Discount available for Bastyr studnets.  See this page for more information.

± What is a personal growth session like?

While the experience of personal growth work is unique to each individual, and not solely contained within the 90 minutes or 2 hours of a session, during our time together we will do a variety of things that may include some of the following, and more:

sDiscussing / adjusting goals

sAssessing process & progress

sReviewing new learnings

sDeveloping action plan for risk taking      

sCo-creating growth exercises

sDoing guided visualizations 

sIncreasing energy awareness with breathwork

sIncorporating your spiritual belief system

sIdentifying patterns that keep you stuck

sReframing thoughts for self-empowerment

sStimulating your vital energy       

± Why are your sessions longer than the 50 minute therapy hour?

I like the more natural flow of energies and timing that occurs in the common class structure of 90 minutes to 2 hours.  Over the years, I have found that clients benefit from not feeling rushed, from having more time to try in-session exercises, and to co-create between session homework that will make what they’re learning immediately applicable to their lives.  The luxury of having so much time allows us to have full discussions and still have enough time in the session to go through learning exercises.

± What do you mean by homework?Don’t worry—-I promise no tests, except of course for the tests that your life throws you.  Personal growth homework generally consists of trying at home, in social settings, or in the workplace some new skill learned in a session and adapting it until it works perfectly for you.  Or, homework might be taking a suggestion made in session, changing it to fit your personality, experimenting with it, and paying attention to what changes you notice.  

± What are your credentials for this work?I have a PhD in transpersonal and naturopathic psychology, an MA in counseling psychology and adult education, and advanced clinical hypnotherapy training.  I have been in private practice for 16 years.  As an educator, I have been on the adjunct faculty at Bastyr University since 1997, and taught at Griffin College before that.  My experience as a workshop facilitator, and personal and professional growth trainer dates back nearly 30 years to my days as a Public Affairs officer with the US Air Force where I held women’s empowerment seminars and communication effectiveness training for squadron officers.  I have an even longer history as a writer, producing many newspaper articles  and human interest publications, and I use that experience today in producing quick read self-health materials for my clients and the general public. Go to this page for several free articles.