I’ve been asked many times if I offer online coaching or counselling sessions for individuals. In a few cases, I have provided some informal one-on-one explorations. Yet, I have understood that my calling is focused on small groups and to serve as a guide and facilitator in these encounters, rather than with individuals. Many times I have steered people to other respected coaches and counsellors.
Recently, I’ve noticed that more and more people are asking me about individual sessions. In response, I’ve become aware of a new openness within me to respond to these invitations and to begin to meet together.
After some consideration, I am grateful to share what I feel called to provide for others. Here is some clarity around how I approach these sessions.
Please be in touch if you would like to know more.
Anam Cara: Soulful Friendship
“One of the tasks of true friendship is to listen compassionately and creatively to the hidden silences. Often secrets are not revealed in words, they lie concealed in the silence between the words or in the depth of what is unsayable between two people.” ― John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom
What I offer individuals is in alignment with how I guide small groups: providing some sense of flow and rhythm, facilitation, metaphors, stories, evocative imagery, poetry and reflections on what life is revealing.
My role with another overlaps, and yet stands apart, from that of a therapist, coach or counsellor. These are all valuable ways of serving each other, yet I am influenced by my lineage of deep attentiveness and the art of open questions, provided by my mentor and friend Parker Palmer.
I’m also influenced by the ancient Irish belief in an ‘anam cara’ (literally ‘soul friend’).
An anam cara is a companion that relies on the experiences of equity, silence, wit, fierce kindness, recognition and belonging, rather than reliance on professional expertise. A soulful friendship “awakens my life in order to free the wild possibilities within me.” Friendship is grounded in mutuality and reciprocal learning. The arts of accompaniment, presence and regard are at the core of this relationship.
I am glad to schedule an initial no-cost session to consider together if we should proceed. In this session, I will provide my understanding of soulful engagement and also help discover what may be the presenting life issues.
If both of us agree to proceed, the initial commitment together is for four sessions. At the close of the fourth session, we discern together as to next steps to continue, to take a break, or to bless one another on our journeys.
Each online session lasts for 75 minutes.
A few days before each session, I prepare a brief reading that will be the initial catalyst for our consideration: the voice of the other friend who will help guide us. When I first meet with an individual each session, we leave cameras on for an initial check in. Then I prefer to have my camera off in order to listen deeply and to allow the individual to ‘hear themselves into deeper speech’. About the midway point, I will turn back on my camera for some dialogue. This practice provides a rhythm that is supportive of deeper life work in self-revelation and open questions.
I have three options for the pacing of sessions and they all have been effective:
Please be in touch if you would like to consider this together or if you have any questions.