Saturday, January 8, 2011

“Life Coaching isn’t Psychotherapy!”

Life coaching is a future oriented process that sets out to correct areas of life that don’t appear to be working. Life coaches come in many guises offering support in myriad avenues ranging from financial coaching to that of relationship even to the more esoteric regions of spiritual coaching.

Denis Casarsa was born and brought up in Switzerland. He grew up in the French speaking city of Lausanne which squats on the shores of Lac Leman. His life might have been very different if he had not had a near fatal motorcycle accident at the age of 19. As a result he lay in a coma for two months and tossed and turned between life and death. Life prevailed, but he emerged suffering severe nerve damage, some of which can be seen today. However, his injuries set him on a path to “look for relief from the relentless pain”, that he was suffering. The doctors prescribed morphine to which he became addicted. He dreaded stopping but he knew he must and he came to realize “that the alternative path” would be his only salvation. Thus he began to work on himself to find relief through psychological release. He explored pain management techniques and went to a Jungian Psychoanalyst. It was here matters began to improve as he realized the teachings of Jung gave him the support he sought. This led him to his work as a health care professional and it was here that he had his first encounter with Coaching.

“Life Coaching”, he repeats “is about change!” “It is a change that has a specific affect on some area of life.” “The idea is to be present with the client in a supportive role. People have problems but what we do in coaching is to find solutions.” “Clients frequently start coaching when they get stuck. The Coach’s job is to help get them unstuck!”

To my mind there has always been a fine line between coaching and therapy. I had dismissed the Coaching phenomenon as an easy route into the therapy business but Denis disagreed vehemently. He insists that coaching is “different from therapy because it’s goal oriented. It’s not about looking into the past, but to how people find their own resources to come to terms with now.” “There are specific coaching techniques that work on balance. We need to get out of the mind and into the senses. It’s quite intuitive!” “Effectively the purpose of coaching is to get you to now! We seem to miss that important notion in Western Society.”

OK, I then asked him what sort of clients were drawn to see him. “Women and also young people; they are more questioning than older types, less likely to put up with things they find difficult to accept and they don’t want to be victims!”

Next I was curious to know how the coaching program was put together. Denis explained that the construction was “a contract. You really need a few meetings to tune into the process. This develops into a working symbiosis and gives everybody the opportunity to clarify exactly what outcomes are truly wanted. The clients then have a picture of who they want to be and a grasp on what is limiting them.” As for the time frame he confesses that he “prefers weekly sessions particularly at the beginning as this makes establishing a working relationship easier. It is necessary to shift from thinking in a logical manner via the conscious mind to a more unconscious process.”

As this concept will be novel to many people who might well eschew it as being too much like psychotherapy, Denis offers a free session so the would be client can really get the feel of how it is to work with a Life Coach. During the session “you have the opportunity to identify the area or areas you want to work on.” And he insists “it is fun, an enjoyable process!”

Denis Casarsa coaches in English and in French. He works face to face as well as by Skype and telephone. Although based in Lamai he is prepared to come to you. So why not take advantage of his generous offer of a free coaching session? You can contact him via his website http//: www.

Alister Bredee is a freelance author living on Koh Samui. He is a health care practitioner (working with the amazing CoRe system), trainer and a partner in The Health Ambit Consultancy. He also works as a Detox Consultant and Locum with extensive experience. He can be contacted via his website: He publishes a regular blog at: You can find him and the Health Ambit Consultancy on Facebook.

1 comment:

Denis said...

Thank you Alister,

As stated, the line is extremely fine between the concepts of coaching and of therapy, which converge to the fact that both of these approaches to individual self-development are intended to improve our feelings about ourselves.

I privilege in my approach to consulting the senses aspect of the person, which allows us to feel good or better in the world and within our realities, here-and-now.

I would add and make it clear that it is essential to FEEL good, as it influences how we think and what we think. Words are concepts that refer to certain structures of understanding of the mind that can become problematic or contentious.

I also want to make it clear that I spent more or less seven days in a coma and not two months as stated in your article.

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