I provide coaching and mentoring to health and mental health professionals at all stages of their career, individually or in a group, in person or on the phone. Career coaching, coaching to help you more comfortably deal with the demands of work and life are some of the areas I’ve helped with.
I am excited and challenged by situations and problems that need to be better understood so you can move forward. I like getting to know you—especially if you are willing to work, love to learn and connect—if you want our work to be a collaborative process. I tend to work more in the direction of being a mentor than would a typical coach, drawing on my experience and knowledge and what has been meaningful for me and seeing if it is helpful to you and whatever issues you are dealing with.
Strength-based personal and professional growth take place in safety and comfort. We will start with a no-charge 30 minute telephone conversation about what brought you and what you are seeking. From that we’ll determine whether working together will be helpful to you. I usually set up three month contracts of 30 minute or 45 minute weekly or bi-weekly sessions.
My Gestalt training means I connect deeply, am active, make suggestions freely and openly and get quickly to the core so that you can move forward, keeping the long goal in mind while focusing on the smaller intermediate steps.
We each have wisdom inside; I use intuition as well as assessment tools for values, strengths, temperament and learning style to aid in accessing this wisdom. I’m pleased to be able to integrate my personal and professional experience and use it in the service of helping others.
Clients report feeling appreciated and safe; the process feels honest and enjoyable. I travel the territory with you—without judgment.
As is true for all of us, I have had a great deal of life experience through which I’ve gained a perspective that lemons can indeed become lemonade, and so know they can be an opportunity or a trigger for our lives, an opportunity for our sense of ourselves to expand.
I am compassionate, curious and non-judgmental. I am persistent, sticking with your goal, will not give up on you.
Although all of this may sound as if it may be all about me rather than starting with you and where you are, I believe I do the latter (start with you) and successfully draw on my 45 years of professional practice and personally, my lifetime of seeking to understand myself, to bear on where you are and help you move forward to where you would like to be. I will see the possibilities in you — without negating your dark side — each requires the other.
As I experience my work with individuals or groups, I have realized that we’re learning together: everyone is a teacher—the ostensible structure: me experienced, you inexperienced, learning from me; rather our work together turns out to be a place for learning as well as of teaching by everyone. I believe this is something to celebrate.
I am experienced at networking, connecting with like-minded people one-on-one, helping you to do the same and connecting like-minded people with each other, also connecting people with useful resources.
Group Consultation and Training
Over the years I have organized many successful groups, bringing people together around a purpose. I am a specialist in working with groups of various kinds. I have been told that I am gifted at running groups–in my ability to bring people and ideas together creatively and in such a way that all benefit. I enjoy working with groups of all kinds.
During my long career as a social worker, my main focus especially in the early years was working with groups—clinical and non-clinical. Early on, I worked with various kinds of groups: in a hospital setting, e.g., training medical social workers to work with groups; in the community, e.g., groups which included community residents, community leaders and academics working together to make changes in local schools; in academic settings, groups of social work students and new graduates as well as with nursing students and medical students.
I developed programs for communities and worked as an organization development consultant to help health organizations manage themselves more productively and compassionately. I conducted outpatient psychotherapy groups for twenty-five years. All of this work has been optimized by my training as a Gestalt therapist and my many years as a seeker of meaning in life.
Because of my long experience with groups, I know what works and what doesn’t, how to develop a constructive group structure and an effective process, synthesizing and connecting ideas useful to people. I know what works in relationships: one-on-one and relationships in a group, seeing the possibilities in each person.
As with individuals, I love the feeling of “flow” I get when I’m in full contact with an individual in the group or with the group as a whole.
There is general agreement that peer supervision groups are helpful no matter the setting in which participants work. Students graduating from mental health professional training programs are often encouraged to create or join peer supervision groups upon graduating. Peer groups offer a time to sit with others, to listen & talk, to understand where others are coming from, to feel seen and heard and to have a sense of collegiality with people you trust in a safe environment where there is no judgment.
While many peer groups work to the satisfaction of the participants and may go on for years, even decades, not all peer groups are successful and some don’t survive, or limp along with at least some dissatisfied members. There are many possible causes: different goals, different levels of comfort with sharing personal feelings, lack of agreement on group structure, different individual styles for dealing with differences in the group, different belief systems or theoretical orientations that are experienced as limiting by one or more group members, one or more member who seem to take more than their share of the time, other individual member issues that affect the group’s process. Even finding compatible people is often an obstacle.
In peer groups there must be decisions made, prior to inevitable issues of conflict, about how conflicts will be resolved. If an outside-consultant (which could be me) is necessary to resolve a disagreement, that consultant and the consultation process must have careful consideration.
You may already be in a peer group and interested in improving your experience, or you may wish to create a peer group and want some help in getting it off to a good start: setting it up, developing a structure to make sure the group is running well so everyone benefits.
One possibility (there are others as well) is that I meet with you and your group the first time—with the goal to help you successfully get what you want out of the group, set up an agreement as to how and in what circumstances group or individual members could request a consultation. I could then attend every second session to observe and give feedback requested by individuals or the group as a whole.