|Welcome back to Therapists Corner. I'm happy to introduce my friend and colleague, Jonas Ogonowski from Being & Becoming Integral Counselling to the blog.
Let’s get started with the Q&A!
Q1. What first drew you to enter the counselling profession?
A combination of life-long intrigue and fascination with the mystery of our human experience, along with my own earlier experience with a therapist guiding me to reconnect to myself, and to let go of who I thought I 'had to be'.
Q2. What kind of clientele do you see in your practice?
As a counsellor for an NGO gambling help program I see clients impacted by gambling addiction. This includes those gambling, as well as family, friends, or partners of the person gambling.
In my private coaching practice, people who chose to work with me are often responding to an inner voice that is no longer willing to resign to the status quo, whether a specific circumstance in work, relationship, or their life in general. They are committed and willing to challenge themselves to live the life they feel truly moved to live.
Q3. How would you describe the most rewarding aspect of your job as a coach?
I feel most rewarded and grateful when clients return to me and I can SEE the changes in who they are, how they show up, and they speak of tangible shifts in their life. I feel in awe and most alive in moments of meeting client's true selves. Free of their usual 'shoulds' and socially constructed roles. When they reconnect with this innate part of themselves, I feel privileged to witness and accompany their stepping into their life, work, or relationship, with courage and vulnerability. Sometimes my most important contribution is to serve them by 'getting out of their way'.
"I feel in awe and most alive in moments of meeting client's true selves".
Q4. Who has inspired you the most in your practice?
So many people! My teachers, my colleagues my family, my clients and their courage in the midst of challenges!
There do continue to be three figures that have stood out as inspirations in my practice. Firstly, Ken Wilber, a writer, and Integral theorist, who's work I discovered in 2003, has quite frankly changed my professional and personal life. You can find out more about him, his books and video and audio resources here.
More recently, Jayson Gaddis a teacher, coach, and therapist in the U.S., who's raw authentic mix of unapologetic clarity, mixed with vulnerability inspired me in how a man can show up in the world, and also to balance supporting of my clients with the importance, and often neglected, challenging of those who work with me! Click here to learn more about Gaddis.
Finally, and most recently, a developmental coach, author, facilitator, and leader, Rob Mcnamara whose writings and coaching courses are challenging me to this day! I feel embarrassed to admit a degree of thinking not much could expand my sense of self or challenge my world view.
Of course I knew mentally that we never know it all, but in my gut I think I had begun to solidify around some of my beliefs and views, professionally and personally. And like a refreshing splash of cold water in the face, Rob's developmental coaching course and work has continued to stretch and challenge me in ways that I am truly grateful for! Find out more here.
One profound learning from Rob has been developing an embodied sense (not just a concept) of when my coaching 'model' or 'approach', my attempt to 'know', is getting in the way of my client and myself. I am learning to let go into the immediacy that is ever changing and prior to either my or my client's pre-conceived selves or personas. And to expect that I as well as my client will be changed from every single session.
Q5. Is there anything you wish clients knew before embarking on a coaching program for the first time?
Yes, a few come to mind. I recently stumbled across this great metaphor from Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski on Responding To Stress, see his short video here:
Essentially, when confronted by stress in ones life... be a lobster.
In times when we feel struggle, or pain, or stress, rather than try to self-medicate or avoid and numb the symptoms, listen to and learn from them, and grow. Stress signals not that something is wrong with us, but rather it is a signal and opportunity to grow out of our old constricted, smaller 'shell', into a larger 'shell' (self) that awaits us on the other side.
Another metaphor that may help someone who is considering hiring a coach or counsellor is that of the coach and client both 'climbing their own mountain':
Many people mistakingly conform to the stereotype of a counsellor or coach as 'the expert' who 'knows it all' and has their life 'sorted' without any issues, and thus understandably anxiety provoking. Therefore, a more realistic and helpful view is just as the client is 'climbing their mountain' (facing their unique life challenges), think of your coach / counsellor as a climber of their own mountain with their own struggles and imperfections. Because the coach is on a separate mountain, they may have a different perspective on the client's mountain. They may see something ahead of the client, or something they may have missed, they may be able to guide you to the next foothold only they can see from their vantage point. They have experience and knowledge in guiding people up mountains.
"Stay awake to life, listen to the wisdom of my body, my head, heart, and gut. Trust the sensations I used to call "anxiety" and "fear" of change, and see them rather as powerful 'change-energy', allies, and guides."
Q6. Where do you see yourself in the next 1, 3 and 5 years in terms of your professional career?
For the next three years I am committed to serving my coaching clients as deeply and profoundly as possible. Those people that are no longer willing to put off investing in their lives and future. In five years, my coaching services will be mobile and international, serving international clients virtually, and face to face.
Q7. Do you have a particular motto that you live by?
A mix of wisdom from my mother, from my own life learnings, and from mentors and models I have met along the way.
Thank you for sharing your inspiration, passion and drive to help others achieve their goals, Jonas! I wish you all the best in your coaching and counselling adventures and I'm grateful that you stopped by for this edition of Therapists Corner!
If you enjoyed this post, you may want to check out the previous contributions to the Therapist Corner: Debbie & Kaila.
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