View Full Version : Using a therapist as a Coach- what do I need to know and do?

02-19-10, 02:03 PM
I was diagnosed about 10 years ago. I'd been in therapy several times prior to, during, and since that time. I'm through talking about my past, it's was a great way for me to vent, and to gain understanding of family dynamics, etc... but at this point, I realize it does nothing to address my core problem, and that is action.

Being ADD-I, of course I've turned all of this stuff around in my head over and over. Being at a place where I've become essentially completely isolated and immobile, and by joining this board and learning a little more about what I thought I already knew about (turns out I actually knew very little about ADD-I) I realize that I've 'thought' enough, and now, I must take action. Please don't think I'm coming to this on my own, there is a great deal of pressure from those that are financially supporting me to take the necessary steps to get out of this frozen state I've come to. And this all has to culminate in my getting a job again.

I wanted a life coach, I found a person that best fit the description on paper... my insurance will not cover it. I have NO money of my own, so on to Plan B :) My insurance will pay for anyone at one specific company. Ok. After a year or so of seeing the psychiatrist for 30 minutes every couple of months and taking one group class, and not showing up for all other appointments I had made for individual or group therapy, it occurred to me my psychiatrist had never said "this person is an ADD specialist, I want you to see them." The person I wanted to see outside of this company listed both Life Coaching and ADD/ADHD as their areas of work.

So, rock, meet hard place, right? I pushed and pushed to get what I needed. Rather than just make an appointment, show up and begin with just any therapist, I questioned everyone that they transferred me to prior to scheduling and told them exactly what I was looking for and what I thought I needed. While one might think my asking for a name of the person who specializes in my issues is a simple question, I apparently stumped this large group and seems no one actually knows who does what or, for my 'lightbulb moment' Ohhhh, no one there lists ADD/ADHD. They HAVE no one there to refer me to, yet, they corner the market on my insurance.

But, I continued on with my quest, and since modesty hasn't been working for me, I just had to simply be honest about the basics. "I'm not doing anything. I need to start back with the basics. I need to start showering again every day. I need to do my dishes. I need someone to help me with this, I need a coach." My psychiatrist's nurse was so wonderful, talked to me at length, and I pressed her to find out who the best person would be for me to work with. I did not settle for the crap shoot appt making ritual. "Make an appt with someone. When you come in for your first appt, if they don't think they can work with you, they will refer you to the person they think can work with you." My thinking was, come on, how hard can this be? I want to know ahead of time! Agh! I finally said, when given a narrowed down list of 3 people and one in particular was being discussed, "Can you talk to her for me, tell her what I've just told you, and ask her if she thinks she can do this and if not, who is the best person?" YES! She said yes :) I said, please mention ADD-I and the word Coaching. And she did, and she called me back and said this therapist is willing to work with me this way!

This is good, right? So many times in therapy, I think I will 'accomplish' something but I end up simply using it as a sounding board week after week. I have now set the guidelines prior to, to prevent that from happening this time. I was point blank specific regarding where I was at and what I needed so that I won't arrive on the day of and suddenly feel better (as I do when I get to where I'm going once I finally leave my house :p) and I won't accidentally smooth things out and make myself appear better than I actually am by my normally enthusiastic public demeanor. I haven't forgotten to mention the core issues, I even remembered to mention my constant state of anxiety, which I always forget! And for whatever reason, saying these things over the phone helped me to stay focused on the truth and my needs. Maybe it was because I was sitting in my dirty house while talking :p hard to forget it then.

So, yeah. I've realized that what I want-- to do nothing-- is not healthy for me. I read here or somewhere in the past couple of weeks that I need structure and routine. I cringe at those words, yet I know it's true for me. I always do better when I have routine and right now I have none. Nothing in my environment requires or supports structure or routine at this point. As a result, I've become more and more inactive to the point of complete isolation and paralysis.

My lightbulb moment today that just brought everything to crystal clarity: As long as I have 'nothing to do,' I will do nothing.

It's so simple. Yet it's so hard. Because, left to my own devices, I'm fine with doing nothing. Doing nothing is safe for me. It's comforting in an odd way as much as it causes me pain and stress.

So, I just wanted to get this all out. This is where I'm at and the steps I've taken thus far. Now I want to know from anyone... what else should I do to prepare to work with this therapist as my coach?

I want to talk about this more, I now have the idea of creating and printing a daily checklist of sorts to bring with me to my first appt. I realize I need to break everything down into it's smallest parts, not only to remind myself to do the individual parts, but as a 'reward' of sorts to see more things checked off and feel a sense of accomplishment. I also know I need to look into these threads for some of this information, but really, I just had to get this all out as an intro, as an 'action,' and for any feedback, wisdom, experience, ideas, etc... that anyone is willing to share.

Thanks everyone :)

(Mods, I hope I posted in the correct area, if not, please move my thread to it's correct home. Thanks.)