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Q: How does Process Coaching deal with depression?

Q: How would Process Coaching help a person heal a broken heart?

Q: I'd like to know methods of feeling my feelings. I have much practice thinking about my feelings, so much so, that I thought that was how to have my feelings! What are some ways of getting out of my head and into my feelings? Even when I get into my body, it can still be hard for me to locate and be with my feelings. What can I do?

Q: I'm not sure if Process Coaching is right for me. Can you tell me what type of person benefits from this approach?


Pam Boltonwith Pam Bolton


Q: How does Process Coaching deal with depression?

Let's start with what depression is. How would we describe it? Words like 'no energy,' feeling 'blah,' 'down,' 'don't really care about anything,' 'low,' and 'unmotivated' are some that come to mind for me.

In my experience as a Process Coach, depression moves in when we haven't been letting ourselves feel whatever other feelings are present, feelings that are most likely strong and intense, and darn uncomfortable. In other words, depression shows up when we've been bypassing or denying our real feelings... "Oh, no, I'm not going to feel that." "That feeling is bad, forget it." "It's not safe to feel that." "If I feel that... I'll be lost in it forever." "Nothing good can come of my feeling this." These are just a few of the thoughts our ever vigilant, protective minds might come up with. Typically these messages of restraint happen automatically, and unconsciously... until we begin to become aware of them.

So, instead of feeling, for example, the enormity of grief, the intensity of anger, or the shakiness of fear that's been triggered by someone or something, instead of letting the energy be felt and move through us, which is what every feeling wants, and what every feeling does naturally, we back off, turn away, and go kind of numb. What we've actually done is cut off the flow of life force energy contained in the feelings we've turned away from.

It's a lot like putting on the brakes in my car, my foot lightly on the accelerator, and then expecting the car to continue to move along quickly and easily. Of course, it can't. Depression is what happens when we stop ourselves from allowing the feelings to move. Over time there can be a pretty heavy backlog of unmoved feelings which makes it all the more difficult to take our foot off the brake.

So, what are you going do? Start by letting yourself off the hook. By remembering you've always done the best you could and you're learning how to do it differently, you'll automatically be out of the courtroom where you're bad and into the classroom where you can value being a learner. The Wounded Healer practice can help with this step.

Next, you can begin to feel what's been denied. What feeling have you been staying away from? What feeling has been 'too much?' What situation, relationship, or issue have you wanted to avoid because it's too painful to go there? This will get you to the feelings that want attention, the feelings that have been masked by depression, the feelings from a part of you that desperately wants acceptance and love.

Now ask yourself, "Where in my body do I feel the uncomfortable, painful or upsetting feelings?" And then, once you've found the location, ask, "How do these feelings actually feel? Tight or loose, hot or cold, hard or soft, moving or still, etc.?" And once you can feel the sensations of the feelings, i.e. the energy, you can ask, "What's the first judgment that comes to mind against myself... as though I'm bad because... ?" Continue with the Judgment Release Practice and then feel back into the feeling. If it still feels bad then you know there's either more judgment or deep denial. Keep releasing judgments or do deep denial release as your intuition guides you. Once the sensations feel okay, and you can be present with acceptance for them, then it's easy to proceed by loving the feelings just the way they are. The new Loving Life Force Energy practice makes this easy.

I want to add here that the recent situation we're upset about is not where the painful feelings originated. Every triggered feeling has its origins in an unmoved, unhealed feeling response to an event that occurred a long time ago at the personal layer, or even further back in the transpersonal layers of our being. This is why, in Process Coaching, we also use regression, going back to whatever layer of Being helps us to finally bring healing to our feeling part. In PC we call this the 'imprint.' Every imprint seeks healing. Thus, the events that are difficult in our present time lives actually help us get to the part of us that is still stuck and suffering inside. And the good news is that we finally have the resources with which we can end the suffering.

Q: How would Process Coaching help a person heal a broken heart?

I know other readers can relate, at one time or another we all have had our hearts broken. We have all experienced the loss of love from a time when someone said "No" to us; what we asked for and wanted was denied; the person we loved went away. In those moments it's as though love itself has left us, alone and bereft; it's as though love is erased. There is so much grief, and so much pain in the grief. This is what wants to be felt. And this is what we've turned away from, time and time again.

The short answer is to feel the heartbreak, and give it your loving attention. Allow yourself to be present with the pain of heartbreak in the way you would be present if a small child were sobbing her heart out. These are your own feelings you are loving, not the cause of the heartbreak. Stay present, let the feelings of heartbreak be felt as much as they want and deserve to be felt. Love them. They aren't bad. They've never been bad. Let the heartbreak move you, move through you, and it can actually widen the capacity of your heart, making room for even more love to enter. Here again, the Loving Life Force Energy practice can make this easy.

Q: I'd like to know methods of feeling my feelings. I have much practice thinking about my feelings, so much so, that I thought that was how to have my feelings! What are some ways of getting out of my head and into my feelings? Even when I get into my body, it can still be hard for me to locate and be with my feelings. What can I do?

The BIG question! How to break the cycle of not feeling what's inside to be felt? We live in a culture where we've been heavily conditioned to shut down, shut up, get over it, and be nice, until we end up with no idea of how we feel. Besides the 'be nice' conditioning, there are the not-so-positive examples of people who have denied their feelings so much, for so long, that they explode and wreak havoc on themselves and those within range. We can see this all around us, in the world, a response, I bet you'd agree, from an overload of intense feelings that have never been processed, because little or no loving attention was ever given to traumas experienced from birth until now.

Well, here's what my intuition suggests for you. Do something unexpected, or out of the ordinary; tell someone the truth; stay in bed all day; knowingly exaggerate a sad, sad story you tell yourself about yourself until you can't help but cry; complain, a lot. In other words stop trying to figure out how to feel, let go of the reins a little, and the feelings will come to you all on their own. You know the saying, "If what you're doing isn't working, do something else, anything else." This is what I'm suggesting.

When feelings do come up, and you can feel them, your next move could be to let them be, in other words, allow them some space, pay attention to them, and give them expression with the Expressing! Practice, just on your own. Fully expressing them in the safety of your private space is a way of letting the feelings know they are acceptable, they have value, and that you aren't going to stuff them or ignore them or judge them any more. This is also a way of being the 'good' parent to these feelings which were first felt by the very young child you once were, who is totally innocent, and deserving of your unconditional love. As you love the feelings, just as they are, you are also loving that young child inside you.


Q: I'm not sure if Process Coaching is right for me. Can you tell me what type of person benefits from this approach?


Thanks for asking! I can't tell you how many times people have asked me this question after hearing that I work as a process coach. I took a poll a few months ago asking some of the current coaches and practitioners of process coaching almost the same question. Here's how I put it: How would you describe yourself? What about you drew you to Process Coaching? What inclinations, qualities, desires, patterns, etc.?


Before I share some excerpts from their replies, let me respond. Anyone can benefit from Process Coaching. However, the people who find themselves drawn to Process Coaching seem to share one or more of these qualities: They usually have a strong hunch that the answers to feeling 'good' are inside them. They are willing to explore their feelings, to establish a stronger connection to their own intuition, and want to live their life from a deeper, more authentic place. They have felt constrained by the conditioning they've inherited from family and culture. In fact many of these people question the validity of consensus reality, and entertain the concept that our individual perceptions are what create our experiences of so-called reality.


Does this sound radical? It is. And it's not. It's actually our birthright. What every other living creature does naturally, live authentically, we human creatures have struggled to do. In addition, both history and science have shown us how much our understanding of reality and our relationship to the 'real world' changes over time.


Let me go on. Process Coaching benefits people who are willing to explore their own shadow; who are interested in going beyond the ego... and in consciously connecting with the large Self. And these may be people who have entertained dreams of wholeness: of actually knowing themselves as a spiritual Being, living in a way that is vibrant and responsive to their emotional Will, AND doing what feels good physically, letting Body get what Body truly wants.


Many of those drawn to Process Coaching have tried a variety of other modalities, be it psychological, spiritual, somatic, shamanic, or emotional, looking for more and more effective approaches to healing. Though they have experienced some relief they want an approach that's more direct, easier, and more inclusive.


I'll return to this question again in future columns. There's so much more to say. If you resonate with any of the above and want to experience the unique transformative power of Process Coaching you can schedule a free sample telephone coaching session here.


For now, as I mentioned at the start of this month's 'Ask a Coach,' I'll close with several excerpts from those who've already answered my version of this question:

I guess I was pretty desperate... to heal from a deep trauma... I didn't find what I needed to heal until I found it in myself.
JP Larkspur, CA

What first drew me to the work is a desire to have something deeper and more meaningful to live from than the current stuff I was up to...
AB Healdsburg, CA

I have wanted my life to be an example of what's possible. Freedom is possible. Love is possible. That's why I do this work.
KM Ukiah, CA

I was drawn to 'being my own healer'... I am a work in progress.
MA Laytonville, CA

I range most days somewhere between a poor paranoid fool tryin' to make it and a distracted god in the flesh... Questing the unknown whenever I remember to let go of whatever crutch I may be leaning on to prop up my current insecurity. I was drawn to Process Coaching quite naturally through a friend. Fortunately this form of inquiry, experimentation and practice is flexible enough, open enough and of sufficient scope to support my eclectic and some might say eccentric process of discovery and integration.
EI Ukiah, CA