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Emotional Issues
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Specialties
Chaos Coaching

Inner Conflict
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Coaching Agreements & Therapy Contracts
From Clarity to Results © Martyn Carruthers

Online Life Coaching, Counseling & Soulwork Therapy


We offer coaching, mentorship and training on healthy relationships,
emotional problems, changing beliefs and resolving mentor damage.

Professional coaching is built on agreements and contracts.

Coaching, Counseling & Therapy Contracts

Although your choice of a therapy or coaching style may be made for you by an insurance company or a clinic, you can still ensure that it is appropriate for you and your family. Good intentions, polite manners and a positive outlook do not necessarily mean effective coaching with healthy consequences.

Most service providers clarify their conditions with detailed offers and service contracts. Helping professionals who offer services such as life coaching, marriage counseling and family therapy can follow similar rules. Yet most therapy, counseling and coaching contracts seem to only specify that:

  • a client must pay the practitioner
  • a client must trust the practitioner
  • a client must obey the practitioner
  • the practitioner does not guarantee success

Read some internet advertisements for coaches, counselors and therapists. You will find many offers such as increase love, generate enthusiasm or create positive impact. You will rarely find specific offers for specific changes. While this might be appropriate for people who cannot make decisions, most people seeking help can make healthy choices - if choices are offered.

How can you check which modality would be best without learning all
 methodologies? How can you check the effectiveness of a coach,
counselor or therapist? Ask for detailed offers and tests for success.

Detailed Offers

Clients are the experts about what they want - and about how and when they want it. We offer people many choices and we honor their choices. We help people explore the likely consequences of their choices and check alternative ways that they can achieve their goals.

Delegated Clients

More complex contracts may be required for clients who are delegated by their family, teams or other organizations. Written contracts ensure transparency and can be shared with all concerned parties. The contract can specify what remains confidential and what can be shared and how success can be tested.

Tests for Success

If you are enmeshed in transferences or fixations or overwhelmed by abuse or trauma, you may be unable to define your goals. You may even be unable to describe your complaints. You may hope that a coach, counselor or therapist can magically provide you with relationship intelligence, clarity or emotional maturity.

Offers

Clarify what a coach, counselor or therapist actually offers. You may read or hear abstract phrases, such as increase love, add positive impact, generate enthusiasm or achieve enlightenment. Ask for details, evidence of success and consequences.

Perhaps ask "How would I know if your offer of increased love added to my positive impact?" (You may have to wade through abstractions, psychobabble and medi-babble to understand their answers.)

Or you can ask yourself, "What exactly would convince me that I have generated enthusiasm or achieved enlightenment, or whatever else was offered?" For example, you might decide that you would be convinced if you can enjoy a healthy partnership instead of shallow short-term affairs.

Check if you want that goal, and consider, once you achieve it - what do you want next? If you have successfully increased your positive impact, or whatever, what would you want to do with it?

Do coaches, counselors and therapists walk their talk - or stumble their mumble? Which practitioners enjoy happy relationships? Which practitioners show emotional stability and empathy when talking about difficult issues? Which practitioners focus on your goals and success - instead of their own theories? Who offers tests for your success? Who discusses alternatives to their psycho-theologies?

Trust & Compliance

A therapy contract may require that you establish trust, build rapport or accept openness - as if you may otherwise distrust, prevent rapport or tell lies. Does a practitioner demand your trust - or work to earn your trust? Sometimes, "You can trust me" is a way to say, "Obey me without question!".

Beware if someone tries to take a parent knows best attitude about your life. Beware if you are asked to do things without explanation. Beware if a practitioner ignores the potential consequences of your choices, or ignores alternative ways that you can reach your goals.

(Most people do whatever is in their own best interest. What could be the best interest of someone who wants to control you? See Spiritual Abuse & Mentor Damage)

How long does it take?

Imagine a car mechanic who tells you "Just bring your car in for an hour or two every week until your engine is ready to change". Or a plumber who says "I will intuit what is wrong with your water system and send energy to your pipes in ways that you cannot possibly comprehend".

While you are much more complex than any mechanical system, you risk being called a difficult client if you ask for offers that include expected results, by when and how expensive. Get specific answers!

When should you fire a service provider?

Do you want to contribute to someone's income stream for an indeterminate time? Discuss the end of a service at the start. Be clear that you want choices and proof of success. Resist prolonging paid friendship - learn to fly solo!

After a few of your sessions, I said goodbye to my therapist of four years.
She helped me do so many little things that I came to depend on her.
She was so nice to me ... I forgot that I was paying her to be my Mom.
Canada

Page 2: Effective Therapy & Coaching

It is true that well promoted, inefficient therapists may earn far more than those whose clients achieve their desired goals in much shorter time frames.

Some people perceive therapy to be a waste of time and money. The time to achieve a desired goal may seem interminable and costly. There may also be a social stigma that people who need therapy are weak, lazy or cannot cope with life challenges.

Sometimes paid friendship may be exactly what you want. Do you want to feel understood, to feel accepted, to feel open without fear of rejection or criticism? You may leave a session happy if what you really wanted was intelligent adult conversation about your important life issues.

Offers & Outcomes

Coaching agreements help practitioners and clients define coaching goals and therapy plans, and to test for success of defined goals.

You may be asked "What do you want?" as if you know all possible choices and their consequences, and can choose between them.

Some therapists believe that they can intuit your goals. They may infer, "I know better than you what you want!"

We enquire into your situation and offer choices. e.g. "Do you already know what you want; or do you want to explore what possibilities exist; or do you want help with your emotions until you can find your own way?"

Or maybe you have a better idea?"

Boundaries and Limits

Coaching, counseling or therapeutic relationships can help you achieve your goals. Yet a friendly word can become a touch, a touch can become a caress, and a practitioner can become a victimizer.

Maintaining boundaries is an essential part of healthy relationships. Boundaries create a space for development and change, although a contract cannot control a person's enmeshments, fixations or fantasies. Despite good intentions, you may feel yourself drawn outside your boundaries.

Contracts are boundaries! For example, a contract may include or exclude massage or touching, meetings outside sessions, sharing or withholding information and the limits of confidentiality. The following questions provide useful feedback for both practitioner and client.

  • How might a practitioner avoid abusing a client?
  • Which elements of a contract are merely convenience?
  • Which elements of a contract are essential to maintain boundaries?

Coaching / Counseling / Therapy Contract A

This coaching contract ignores the client's goals, the practitioner's role and the services to be offered.

This contract relieves a practitioner of responsibility and denies both practitioner and client opportunities to compare offers with results.

I, <client's name> take full responsibility for all actions that I take as a result of coaching. I understand that <coach or therapist's name> is not qualified to give legal, financial or medical advice.
I agree to:
  1. Generate my own solutions
  2. Take action daily toward my goals
  3. Be present and prepared for my coaching sessions
  4. Request what I need for coaching to be effective for me
  5. Be honest about my challenges and what I want to achieve
  6. Speak up immediately if anything bothers me about my coaching

I commit to work with <practitioner> for a minimum of ... months, in ... sessions per calendar month, from ... through ... I agree to pay the coming monthly fee by the 1st of each month.

Coaching / Counseling / Therapy Contract B

This contract loosely defines how a service may be provided.

This contract does not define any offer, nor criteria for success.

Neither the practitioner nor client can determine if most of the agreements are fulfilled ... except the payment.

The coach, therapist or practitioner undertakes:
1. I will not solve your problems.
2. I will work to help you make the changes that you choose
3. I will help you develop the skills you wish to master.
4. I will treat you with respect and consideration.
5. I will regularly review your progress.
6. I will keep your personal contact information private.
7. I will not disclose information about you

The client undertakes:
1. I take full responsibility for resolving my own problems.
2. I will be punctual for sessions and give notice of cancellation.
3. I will pay the session fee if I cancel a session with less than 48 hours notice.
4. I will complete assigned exercises and homework
5. I will consult with a medical doctor if advised to do so
6. If I do not complete my work, my coaching may be terminated.
7. I will pay all fees, in full, at time of session or in advance.

A useful coaching contract can include a schedule for sessions, costs and payment terms, which topics to focus on and which to avoid, and which services are chargeable. Coaching is more focused if you have made careful agreements about what people can expect.

Online Life Coaching, Counseling & Soulwork Training

I thought you were just another therapist - but you were not just. Not even. Not only.

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright © Martyn Carruthers 2001-2017 All rights reserved.


If you like our work, please link to us. If you know someone who might benefit,
please mention www.SystemicPsychology.com or www.EmotionsRelationships.com

For online help, email us at: europecoach@gmail.com

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Have You Suffered Enough?

 Where are you now? Understand your emotions, fixations and enmeshments
What do you hope for? Know your goals and stop sabotaging yourself
Do you feel resourceful? Learn to develop your inner resources
Do emotions block you? Relationship problems and mentor damage
Do your beliefs limit you? Change limiting beliefs and end dependence
Do you feel connected? Resolve identity issues to recover lost resources
Is your partner happy? Build healthy partnership (or separate peacefully)
Are your children healthy? Happy parents better manage family problems
Do you want team success? Team leaders and their teams develop together
Do you have complex goals? Specialty coaching, counseling & therapy

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright © Martyn Carruthers 1996-2017 All rights reserved. Soulwork Systemic Coaching was primarily developed by Martyn Carruthers to help people solve emotional problems and relationship conflicts to achieve their goals. These concepts and strategies are for general knowledge only. Consult a physician about medical conditions and before changing medical treatment. Don't steal intellectual property ... get permission to post, publish or teach Martyn's work - email europecoach@gmail.com