I went into psychology to help people. Not just sick people.
I am a clinical neuropsychologist. My professional life has been steeped in psychology and neuroscience for the past 15 years. Over the past seven years, my days have been spent working one on one with patients with neurological and psychological disorders.
It’s challenging, stimulating, and rewarding work. But for most of my career thus far, I have felt there is a major piece missing. Specifically, until recently, my work has been focused on helping only sick people.
But the truth is, any of us – even those without a diagnosed mental health condition or neurologic disorder – can benefit from applying the findings of neuroscience and psychological research in our everyday lives. I know I have benefited tremendously from utilizing such knowledge to grow, develop and have more success and happiness in both my personal and professional life.
But where are people who aren’t psychologists themselves to go for expert, empirically based guidance on increasing wellbeing, making positive changes in their lives, and adding more meaning and fulfillment in their lives?
If you visit a psychologist and tell them this is what you are looking for, they will likely tell you they can’t help you. This is largely because third-party payors like health insurance companies will only pay for the service if it is “medically necessary” (i.e. if you have a mental disorder or other medical disorder).
Look, it is certainly a necessary and wonderful thing to help those who are suffering psychologically. However, I believe that it is just as important that we enhance and optimize functioning of the well. Employing evidence-based practice to meet one’s full potential not only helps that individual lead a happier and more fulfilled life but also allows them to contribute more to others and society at large.
With this strong belief in mind, I completed formal training in “positive psychology coaching” (i.e., how to apply psychology research to help normal functioning people improve themselves and have even more positive outcomes in their lives). I started offering consulting/coaching services to individuals who don’t have a mental health disorder but who do want better lives. I can’t tell you how happy, fulfilled and energized this work makes me! The amount and speed of transformation in “healthy normals” is unreal.
Now I’m committed to growing this passion project/side business and reaching more people. I’m planning to offer coaching programs to graduate students to increase personal well-being and professional success (e.g., focused coaching for work-life balance, self-confidence, and delineation of a clear career path aligned with one’s strengths and values), as these were issues I could have used coaching on when I was in grad school. I’m also interested in teaching other psychologists and mental health professionals how to incorporate coaching in their professional work for a more rewarding career. If you have interest in any of these areas, stay tuned!