Tens of millions of Americans have been going through difficult times, especially since last September when the financial markets began to collapse. 401(k) funds may have dried up, plans for retirement suddenly changed, while home values have slid to the point where some owners are left with mortgages costing more than the value of their homes.
On top of everything the job market has soured putting millions out of work with many times that number of people wondering if their jobs are also threatened. Clearly, these are challenging times for many, with quite a few people unsure of what steps to take next.
Alice Donavin, Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Earlier this month on our companion SayCampusLife.com blog we published an article featuring Alice Donavin (pictured), a nationally recognized life coach and psychotherapist. Is It Time To Dump That Loser This Valentine’s Day? addressed toxic relationships and how to extract oneself from that mire. As a follow up, I’ve interviewed Alice seeing that her experience as a life coach might be of interest to our readers.
For the record, Alice isn’t a career coach nor is she a career counselor, but her skill sets include helping equip people with the tools needed to make important changes in their lives which might include finding a new job.
Q. As a life coach/psychotherapist, what sort of services do you offer clientele?
A. Several actually including but not limited to:
- crisis intervention
- goal setting…..helping clients determine and achieve goals
- helping people effect changes in their current behavior
- values assessment/clarification
- identification and changing of self-defeating behaviors
- education: depression, addictions, codependency, etc
Q. Is there a certain type of individual who could use a life coach and what might be some of the challenges facing them?
A. Essentially, that would include anyone looking for change in their lives.
This can include someone who is basically a healthy person who may be in a crisis (ex. economic downturn affecting all areas of life…marriage, self-esteem or defining oneself by income/net worth/status….now what?).
Additionally, a person stuck in an endless loop, having the same arguments with their spouse, repeating the same self-defeating behaviors, or a person who keeps making the same poor choices. You can also include a person coping with major life changes such as a separation/divorce, aging parents, adolescent children using drugs and alcohol, you name it.
Q. What are some of the common resistant points keeping people from making changes in their lives?
A. Clients are hesitant to make changes because they are stuck in self-defeating behaviors. And, there are many reasons why we get stuck — cognitive therapy helps overcome these problems.
Some people get stuck because they they might need to acquire new skills in communicating and relating to others. Or, they may find themselves stuck because making a change might challenge their perception of themselves.
Others may fear change because its too risky, possibly seeing those changes as invalidating their feelings. I’ve helped people who are stuck because they’re committed to being “right” all of the time, following habitual patterns of thinking that keep them from seeing things differently.
Q. How important is it to find a job you really love versus finding one that simply pays the bills?
A. People need to practical. In this economy everyone’s thinking has changed. If you have mortgages to pay and children to support….you have to get a job. If you’re just starting out, you may have the luxury of trying to find something you love vs. having to pay the bills.
Q. Briefly, what are some good tools to keep people focused during times of unemployment?
A. It is important for people to talk to others in the same situation. Forming a support group is important with the operative word being SUPPORT; not a mutual whining situation.
Essentially, finding people who can provide real support versus feeding off of each others negativity. This means surrounding yourself with positive people who love you or are at least positive! Above all, take good care of yourself — get enough sleep, maintain a healthy diet and keep up with exercise.
A Life Coach Who Offers House Calls
Donavin takes a rather unique approach to counseling, giving clients the option of either meeting in her office or in their home. “A life coach/psychotherapist may deliver pro-active, direct intervetions right in your home — just like the ‘Supernanny’ except, of course, you don’t have to have kids,” says Donavin. She added, “In this looser setting, I can observe firsthand their life, family dynamics, and the way they handle certain situations.”
Alice Donavin is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), practicing as a Professional Life Coach and Psychotherapist in Haverford, PA and Palm Beach, Florida. A graduate of The Seton Hill College in Greensburg, PA, and The Catholic University in Washington, DC, Donavin holds a BA in Sociology and Pre-Law, as well as an MS in Social Work.
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