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Snippets from the Lab "Steve"

Updated: Oct 18, 2023

Snippets from the Lab are excerpts taken from real Coaching Intake sessions and do not represent complete developmental coaching sessions. Names have been changed.

Steve came into Coaching with a long-term problem he faces in relationships. Steve had been seeing a therapist for a number of months and was also considering a Hypnotherapist. He decided to try a Developmental Coaching session which is how he found his way to us.

The problem as Steve explained it was a pattern of self-sabotaging thoughts that would play through his mind when he was not with his partner and had not heard from her in a few hours - that she must be seeing someone else, finding something better, or being un-faithful.

These thoughts would drive Steve into an unresourceful state many times throughout the day and effect they way he was

showing up at work and how he would react to his kids. It would bring on Anxiety as Steve would project these movies in his mind into the future through a worst-case scenario lens and imagined they were happening right now. This is the formula for Anxiety!

How was this a problem in his relationships? Steve felt he needed to constantly contact his Partner to make sure she was not doing any of the things he feared. He would send messages just to make contact and get a reply. For Steve, getting a reply was like "getting a hit" of feel good and reassurance for a little while.

Sadly for Steve this would eventually become such a problem in his relationships that it would overwhelm and consume his mind so much that he would find or make up a reason why the relationship needed to end.

So we had the problem,

what it was costing Steve, and the desire to change it.

Steve had awareness of what was going on, that he was doing this to himself and that logically the thoughts he was having were ridiculous. In his words, it was like his logical brain knew it was wrong but his subconscious was doing it to him. "It's like a program is installed to do this in my subconscious and therefore I have no way to change it".

In that case, maybe we needed to talk to his sub-conscious, find out what this program was made up of. We needed to ask self-reflexive questions that would take Steve "inside" to explore the structure of his thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and meaning making.

"Steve, if the things that you are fearing about your partners have never actually happened to you, what do you think this behaviour is on behalf of?" we asked. "What do you mean"?, he said. "Well, we know that every behaviour has a positive intention behind it. That does not mean it is getting a positive outcome, but there will be a positive intention that keeps you repeating it, What is it?". He thought about this for a while and said, "I guess the intention is to control things". "And what is the positive intention of controlling things?", we asked. "For me control equals safety and feeling safe", he said. "Ok good work, so what do you believe about having control, Steve?", we asked. Again he took some time to go inside and find the answer. "If I don't have it then everything will fall apart and go wrong", he said, while adding "I've never thought about it that way".

We have now uncovered one of the higher frames that has been running Steve's game. His beliefs about control and that was his leverage point for change.

For the rest of the session we helped Steve in understanding that running these frames was not his fault, nor something to continuing beating himself up about. We all take on or inherit these programs early in our lives and construct our personalities for survival. So for Steve, control was part of his constructed personality that at some point actually worked for him, it provided value for surviving in the world outside of his mind. So it's just outdated and no longer serving him. If that program was on his computer or phone, he would just update it.

We spoke about what new choices this new level of awareness will bring, and what new responses in the moment where now possible along with what resources Steve needed to make it happen.

Steve's state had visibly changed and for the first time he was able to see through the structure that was in place and that he had control of it, not the prisoner of control!.

evolve Lab.

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