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The Integrated Coaching Academy

Where Coaching and Counselling Connect

Prince harry, grief and how to really help

Prince Harry has gone very public about his mental health struggles resulting from the death of his mother, Princess Diana. In Apple TV’s ‘The Me You Can’t See’ he says he ‘boxed up his emotions’ for 20 years.

It’s true; people often attempt to deal with life’s losses and traumas by disconnecting and switching off their feelings.

The ‘box-it-up’ method can work for a while, as it did for Harry, but what tends to happen over time is that the lid of the box begins to lift all on its own and the anger and despair begin to tumble out in an uncontrolled way. For Harry, the lid of the box seems to have really started to open after his marriage to Meghan and the build up to the birth of his first child created a psychological pattern match to the trauma of his mother’s death.

Harry was filmed in an EMDR session with his therapist. It seems to have really helped. I wish he could also experience the Rewind Technique which was originated by Dr David Muss in the 1970s. It can be even more effective. I did some training with David. As a newly qualified psychotherapist many years ago, I was so amazed by the successes I was having for my PTSD clients that I wrote a book about it. It works in a similar way to EMDR by grounding the client and setting a cognitive task that anchors the brain into the neo cortex. It’s less well known simply because it hasn’t attracted the research and funding of the EMDR programme originated by Francine Shapiro.

Here, an EMDR therapist gives a succinct explanation about the underlying mechanism. She says:

‘The therapy works by the therapist creating a safe and trusting space. We identify the experiences … and bring them into the room in a gentle way to reprocess those memories so the past can be in the past and our past life experiences do not continue to create stress, anxiety and triggers in our current life’

The subconscious mind

What stays in the subconscious mind has the ability to control us. Allowing suppressed emotions to safely surface can actually process long term grief in just one session... if that is what the client wants.

Sometimes, however, the bereaved just want to speak, to be allowed to explore and express their emotions in their own time and in their own way. Fortunately, a Fusion Therapeutic Coach will have the empathic attunement to understand what the client needs from their practitioner.

Yes, if they want resolution, the Rewind Technique can achieve that quickly and efficiently but if they need to talk, a Fusion Coach knows how to offer the time and space for that to happen. It’s about making the model fit the client rather than the client fit the preferred therapy style of the practitioner.

My article this week looks at suppressed grief and how the reaction to unprocessed emotions can take us by surprise many years later.

I hope it helps…

Grief and how to really help

As James sat in front of me, memory after memory of his father’s death surfaced, released, and ran softly down his face.

‘He died when I was 10’, said James. ‘It was an unexpected heart attack. He went to work one morning and didn't come home. Mum thought I was too young to go to the funeral so I went to school on that day just, like any other day.’

James's mum wasn’t being cruel. She had hoped to protect her young son from the pain of seeing her so desperately upset at the grave side. She wanted him to escape somehow the turbulent and intense range of emotions that are a part of the journey through the grieving process. So she made life as normal as possible for him. She compensated by taking him on lavish holidays, buying him the latest gadgets and putting on her ‘I'm fine’ face in the daytime.

Crying alone

She had removed all the pictures of James's father in the house and he was now rarely referred to.

The mother-who-meant-well stayed strong and kept going. She was doing a good job she told herself. After a year, James seemed fine, was doing well at school and never mentioned his father at all.

But the grief hadn’t gone away and it was only after she put James to bed at night that she allowed herself to cry. What she didn't realise was that, in bed at night, James could hear his mother crying and would often cry himself to sleep too.

Both mother and son were going through an intense range of emotions they did not want to communicate to each other, for fear of causing more upset. They had both become isolated in a shared grief for the most well-intentioned of reasons and they were making a mistake that many of us make.

I must keep going

There are plenty of laudable reasons for not dealing with grief. People have to go to work to keep their job. They have to get the kids off to school. They have to mow the lawn, do the shopping, cook and pay the bills. They think if they give way to grief, it will be like a dam has burst. They won’t be able to cope with the deluge and will drown in a flood of their own tears.

But deferring grief is like living with an undetonated bomb. We fool ourselves that if we tiptoe around it, perhaps it won’t go off.

An open wound

However the loss and grief remain as a concealed, but still-open, wound. Although we may have put a plaster over it, it will not begin to heal until we acknowledge its presence and let some light and air onto the injury.

As Prince Harry has observed, death has become a sanitised business.

We try to ignore it. We clean it up with phrases like ‘passed over’, or ‘slipped away’ rather than saying someone has died. Or we wrap it up and leave it on a shelf in a darkened room that we try not to visit.

We are taught, in the face of adversity to stand strong. We must stay in control. We have to keep a very British ‘stiff upper lip’.

But grief is not an illness. It’s a fact of life. We will all lose someone we love and we will all feel the pain. Being able to ride the intense waves of emotion that come with bereavement is an example of mind management and asking for help or talking to someone about how we really feel is a sign of emotional intelligence, not weakness.

As a therapeutic coach, I have a range of skills in my professional toolbox. But for James, as with most of my clients who are grieving, I used the simplest, yet most powerful of them all.

I listened.

Frances Masters MBACP accred GHGI

Frances Masters is a BACP accredited psychotherapist, coach, training consultant and author of the book PTSD Resolution: Reclaiming life from trauma.

In 2009, Frances founded the charity Reclaim Life; training its volunteers to work in the new, integrated coach-counselling model, Fusion.

As founding Principal of the Integrated Coaching Academy Frances gained accreditation for her training from NCFE as Customised Awards; 'The Fusion Therapeutic Coaching, Counselling and Training Diploma in Therapeutic Coaching and the distance learning programme Certificate in Therapeutic Coaching Skills'

Training programmes also include

The Integrated Coaching Academy certified Fusion Mindfulness Based Mind Management Skills Certificate

and new online training Breathe Stress Away

Fusion® Therapeutic Coaching is an approved NCFE training centre, an organisational member of he British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy and the Association for Coaching


Fusion: A model, a system and a toolbox

Posted on February 28, 2016 at 1:20 PM

I'm pleased to say I'm having enquiries every day now from practitioners about training with Fusion.


Some are coaches who want to deepen their therapeutic skills, or counsellors who want to integrate coaching into their working practise.


Some are hypnotherapists who are using powerful techniques and want to access a theoretical model to safely underpin their work. Sometimes it's teachers who want a better way to work alongside troubles young people, or doctors who want to expand their understanding of mental health in a way which empowers their patients to take responsibility for their own emotional wellbeing.


More recently, many are professionals who want to become trainers. The courses are filling steadily and the £100 early booking discount for the Diploma in September will end on 1st March.


What's the USP?


Some of those who have contacted me have asked for a clear idea of what Fusion represents and what makes it unique.


In short, Fusion is a helpful and hopeful lens through which to view mental health and resilience. It is a mindfulness-based system that promotes emotional intelligence and a toolbox of mind management skills which are both easy to learn and easy to teach.


For practitioners, it is a practical, holistic, solution-focused, working model which integrates core counselling skills and advanced coaching tools, with fast track training and a helpful session by session post completion manual.


Fusion: The Model


As we learn and grow as children, we begin to develop beliefs about the world, based on our background, culture and life experiences.


From this, we construct our personal philosophy or ‘model of reality’. It becomes the belief system from which we draw up an ‘internal map’ we then use to navigate the world in which we find ourselves. It also becomes the lens through which we ‘see’ people and events.


To be helpful, our model of reality needs to be positive, empowering and hopeful.


The Fusion model is based on the idea that human beings have physical and emotional needs; that our emotions, instincts and behaviours have evolved to push us towards getting those needs met; and that with mindful awareness, we will make good choices, so that we can flourish and become our 'best selves'.


Fusion: The System


In addition to our personal model of reality, we develop systems.


They become the habits of behaviour we repeat every day which, once learned, become 'automatic'. Things like brushing our teeth or driving to work. Once established, we do not think about them or challenge them and they become our habitual way of 'being'.


But often these habitual patterns are not serving us well. They are negative or based on an outdated or unhelpful model of reality. It's like we are running the wrong software and wondering why our lives are not working well.


The mindfulness-based STOP System™ helps us make good choices and helps us respond to life’s triggers with emotional intelligence rather than react mindlessly. In this way, we are more likely to get our needs met, experience greater wellbeing and live our best lives.


Fusion: The Toolbox


Neuroscience is providing an ever-increasing understanding about our amazing human brain.


With that knowledge, comes practical skills and tools we can all use to help regulate our emotions; to better manage our minds, our lives and our relationships.


Fusion promotes the kind of self help, mind management tips, tools and techniques that anyone can learn.


For practitioners, it provides a range of innovative and effective coaching and psychotherapeutic interventions, to accelerate client progress and improve clinical outcomes.


Fusion: The Manual


The 5 session practitioners’ manual, integrates key counselling skills with advanced coaching tools, based on the Fusion model, the system and the toolbox.


The manual has been test-bedded for over 5 years with great success in the therapeutic coaching charity I founded, with others, in 2009. It is made available to all who successfully complete the NCFE accredited Fusion Therapeutic Coaching Diploma.


Making the model fit the client


Fusion is all about making the work ‘bespoke’ for our clients. We need to make our model fit the client, not the client fit the model. The more tools we have as practitioners, the better the chance of offering something which is ‘a good fit’ for them wherever they are on 'the continuum of wellbeing'.


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