Monday, 18 February 2013


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 Yoga therapists are not psychologists.  Psychologists spend many years at university learning their craft.  Yoga therapists learn enough of the basics of psychology to be able to interact successfully with clients and know when they need to refer their patient to a psychologist. 
In yoga therapy we focus on coaching psychology which typically works with offering support for change and taking practical steps toward that change.  When I say ‘change’, I mean directing efforts towards achieving goals, resolving stressful and distressing situations, and developing good habits.

The points we’re to consider using Coaching Psychology with a client include;
  • Unconditional positive regard;
  • Compassion and Empathy, including motivational interviewing and appreciative inquiry;
  • Humility
  • Keeping it slow, with silences as appropriate;
  • Paying FULL attention;
  • Asking open-ended question (where answers will be more detailed than ‘yes’ or ‘no’);
  • Positive reframing – asking questions that will shift away from ‘stressors’ towards ‘blissors.

For a private consult, the aim is to gather information about the client’s life such as;
  • Personal information – family, friends etc;
  • Fitness – yoga, exercise, activities for fun;
  • Nutrition;
  • Stress levels (on a scale of 0-5);
  • Energy levels (on a scale 0-5);
  • General views about life.

Using this information, the idea is to establish two vision statements, one for one week, the second for three months. 

I jot all these points down.  Great, I say, now what?  We’re supposed to pair off with another student and have a private consultation.  What?  Really?  Now?!  What do I say?  I may have made a silly Freud joke or two.  Did I mention that I AM NOT a psychologist?  All I know about psychology I learnt from watching In Treatment.  But I am a fairly good listener and it’s amazing what people will divulge about themselves without you even really having to prompt them.   My main concern was stretching the whole process out over an hour.  An hour’s a long time.  But it wasn’t a problem.  Encourage someone to talk about themselves for an hour and the time gets eaten up pretty easily. 

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