Kosjenka Muk, MA, is a therapist in Croatia. Kosjenka resides
in a village in Croatia, where she assists families of children
with developmental problems. Kosjenka also maintains a systemic
in the city of Zagreb, where she coaches people to resolve relationship
Would you enjoy private coaching on self-esteem,
verbal aikido, solving
relationship problems, lasting happiness and better relationships? Kosjenka
Muk is bilingual and teaches Soulwork Systemic Coaching and other trainings
internationally. Kosjenka wrote the books Emotional Maturity and
Kosjenka compares and contrasts
coaching city people with coaching village people.
Coaching in Villages & Small Towns
Villages are changing all over the world. Increasing
numbers of educated people choose to live closer to nature than in crowded
cities. Also, many people who grew up in villages now work in towns, perhaps
keeping agricultural work as a source of income or as a hobby.
A city offers a wider range of experiences and
possibilities than a village. Although many of these experiences are
valuable, many have toxic impact. City children are more confronted with
violent, manipulative and uncontrolled behavior - it's easier to be rude to
people you may never meet again - than in a small community where most
people know each other.
Difficult city experiences may motivate a child to better
understand the world and people, but a child who lacks the support of a
healthy family might follow deviant behavioral models. Children in
villages have fewer difficult experiences, which may make childhood easier.
Instead they are more likely to follow family traditions and village
In recent years, television programs display and discuss
topics which would have been avoided a few decades ago. This trend has
advantages and faults. Television is a poor substitute for parenting, and
many children are exposed to and influenced by many toxic models of
aggressive and superficial behavior, as well as manipulative
Coaching in Small Communities
Life in most villages is less challenging than in most
cities. Village people are more likely to be satisfied with simple, concrete
goals - and will be less open to broader perspective, taking risks, making
significant changes – especially in their family and community
Communication between people living in villages and small
towns tends to be more open and kind than between strangers in the cities –
yet village people may be less aware of or interested in possibilities to
improve their communication or relationship skills. On the other hand,
village people are usually less tolerant of different ideas or behavior and
a village person who wants coaching might fear community criticism and
We can expect that the differences between people who have
grown up in villages and in cities will lessen. This is already visible in
people who are now 20 – 30 years old - and this is the age of village people
who are most likely to request life or relationship coaching. Older village
people are far less likely to request help, unless confronted by very
Village people may avoid dealing with strong unpleasant
emotions and avoid questioning the way they were raised or their family
traditions. A village person might resist changing common limiting beliefs
and behavioral patterns – again, especially in relationships.
As relationships are the most important aspect of
quality of life, relationships greatly influence every other area of
life, especially the ability to change.
Religion & Politics
Village people tend to be conservative in both religion
and politics, especially in areas under stress - whether from threat of war,
inclement weather or poor soil. They tends to distrust change of any sort -
and may cling to religious or political beliefs long after they cease to be
popular in cities.
Through centuries, the authority for village people was
religion. While towns and cities were centers of education and culture (even
if influenced by religion), uneducated peasants were mentored by clerics,
who supported conservative belief systems with guilt, shame and fear. If
emotions are labeled as mortal sins, most people soon learn to suppress
Many people learn to suppress their emotions and even
identity as part of a moral code. Systemic coaching can help
these people feel again their emotions and bring back their own sense of
identity. Older village people might even be too afraid to take such a risk.
Religious influence contributes to intolerance towards
other values and lifestyles. It may increase self-importance while
decreasing self-esteem, motivating people to believe that they don’t deserve
happiness. Religious influence discourages individualism and searching for
personal spiritual experiences. In Istria, village people who don’t attend
church service or attend irregularly, report on criticism and covert
isolation. Religions encourage adult children to remain bonded to their
parents, and encourage women to depend on men.
Although education and mass media help reduce religious
influence, some clerics present their own ideas as an absolute truth. They
also influence the political choice of the people, using their religious
authority as a pretext to affect secular politics.
Younger village people are likely to be attracted to the
advantages of city life. Those who don’t move to a city might have
difficulties in finding independence. It’s easier to rent an apartment in
the city, than to build or rent a house in a village. Parents often
encourage adult children to live close to them, sometimes building big
houses, or few close-standing houses for their children. However, many
people who live with parents remain in a child’s role, and avoid building
independence and identity, sticking to a well-known life-style.
Sexual prejudices are stronger in the village than in the
city; a woman may not be independent. A village woman who wants a
significant change in life, is less likely to find support from family and
friends – or in her own self-confidence. In an unsatisfying relationship,
it’s not only difficult to motivate both partners to change, but the partner
who didn’t ask for coaching may sabotage it, or become hostile. In such
circumstances, it often seems easier to leave things as they are, than to
cope with the challenge of change… at least for the short-term.
Educational courses, culture, and a variety of work are less accessible in a
village than in a city. In cities, parents often expect or at least hope
that their children will finish college, while in the villages the
expectations may be lower. A villager is more likely to listen to
authorities in religion and politics, with less opportunity to build trust
into his own opinion and abilities.
Communication between people in villages and small towns
tends to be more open and kind than between strangers in the cities – but
that often makes village people less aware or interested in possibility to
improve communication and relationship skills. On the other hand, village
people are usually less tolerant towards too different ideas or behavior and
the person who wants coaching might be afraid of criticism and gossiping.
There’s a very similar situation with child-raising: village families seem
to be more connected and relaxed with children, but they usually stick to
traditional and habitual style of their upbringing. Even if we cannot claim
that the city families are more advanced considering raising children, they
are still more likely to at least consider the possibility to change.
Life in a village is less challenging than a city, and
some people might be satisfied with simple, concrete goals; while being less
open to broader perspectives, taking risks, making significant changes –
especially in relationships. Village clients often avoid dealing with strong
unpleasant emotions and avoid questioning the way that they were raised. They might
also resist changing common limiting beliefs and behaviors – especially in
Still, relationships are the most important aspect of
quality of life, and influence every other area of
life, especially the ability to change.
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