Mindfulness Coaching & Counseling Case Study #2
Client is a 36-year-old female and a professional coach. The client is extremely creative and driven, juggling her business, marriage and raising three young children. She is feeling overwhelmed by her various responsibilities and yearns for more time for self-care and restoration. The client is also experiencing grief related to losing her brother eighteen months prior.
The TSD Mindfulness Client Assessments were administered before the first session. Results
showed high levels of the following in the “Mental Processing” category: distraction, stress, shame, feeling provoked and confusion; in the “Flight, Fight, Freeze” category uneasiness, anxiety, overwhelm, and exposed; and in the “Grief and Trauma” category feelings of grief. Levels ranged from 36 to 62 on a 100-point scale.
Concepts and Exercises Coached
Mindfulness Coach, Sarah Vallely, met with the client during four one-hour sessions. Vallely taught the client the concept of conditional thinking and conditional behavior (i.e.. taking action because she thinks she ought to instead of taking action because it feels honoring in her heart.) Vallely also explained the importance of being aware of overthinking, specifically rumination, worry and list making. Practicing self-compassion for her thinking and behaviors was also taught. Vallely also assisted the client to discover her feelings of self-
responsibility and compulsion were leading to feelings of burnout.
Vallely coached the client to use short mindfulness exercises, including the practice of noting (identifying a thought of rumination, naming it “rumination” and observing the thought cycle as something separate from oneself). Vallely also taught single-pointed-focus of sounds, physical sensations and the breath, as well as, mindfulness of her satisfaction level of aspects of her life versus her satisfaction level of the present moment. Additionally, the coach taught the client self-compassion affirmations, such as “I am loved, I am worthy of love, I am connected and I am a good person.”
Based on a follow-up assessment after four sessions, the client decreased the following on a scale of 100 total points: “distraction” by 33 points, “stress” by 40 points, “overwhelm” by 27, “feelings of being provoked” by 18 points, “confusion” by 18 points and “shame” by 18 points. Any decrease of 30 or more points, is considered a significant shift and the points for each state are based on nine questions. For example, nine questions regarding “distraction” were used to create a score for distraction. Although the 18-point drops were not considerable, they put the client in the healthy range.
During coaching, the client became aware that her aspiration, specifically creativity, leads to feelings of overwhelm, urgency, and frustration. She shared, “I want to explore everything and make them come to life.” Presently, she is operating from a place of trust and allows her endeavors to unfold in an organic way. She is also putting boundaries on the amount of time she spends developing her creative ideas. The client is now more mindful of her quality of life needs and take on only ask much as she feels comfortable with.
During coaching, the client also became aware that her imposter syndrome and perfectionism, leads to feelings of being unqualified and embarrassed about not knowing answers during her work. Presently, she trusts her abilities and when perfectionism thoughts surface, she redirects her attention to physical aspects of her environment (i.e. sounds). The client also became aware that her compulsions, specifically rigid thinking, leads to feelings of frustration and sadness. She attributes this to her compulsion to explore all her creative ideas .
During coaching, the client realized she was taking actions and expressing feelings because she thought she was supposed to. For example, she might act outwardly happy, despite how she truly felt inside. She is now being truer to her difficult feelings and allowing herself to feel more spontaneous emotions, such as joy. The client also reports that her self-compassion practice has helped her: stay confident in her abilities, take breaks, decrease her overthinking and remove added pressure she might put on herself. “I didn’t realize the constant battle in my head was because I felt I was being pulled away from my home life.”