Living the good life does not come naturally to all of us. Nitsan Gaibel talks with Geoff Laughton, an Authentic Relationship Coach & Relationship Architect, who helps individuals, couples, and families to find joy and happiness. Who doesn’t want that? The question is: have you lost it? Do you know how to get it back? Can you do it on your own? Geoff explains how he has developed his own unique way of working with people to help them find that sense of renewal and spiritual self-discovery.
Nitsan: How’s your approach different from the way any fella listens to me in the bar and claims to help me solve my problems?
Geoff: Well, for one thing, I listen way below the surface. I don’t just take what’s being said to me literally or at face value. I’m listening to the words and I’m also listening to the energy. For example, Gene in the bar will say what he says and will hear whatever Bob or George (whoever’s sitting next to Gene at the bar) are saying. They’re shooting the bull with each other, they’re both, to a certain degree, buying whatever lines the other one’s feeding. When I’m working with somebody, I don’t buy their hokum the way others do. So, I point out where it seems like I’m dealing with self-generated rubbish that’s become a habit for someone, unbeknownst to them. Most people don’t realize how much their family-of-origin’s training and the resulting limiting beliefs are influencing their behavior…especially in relationships. I help them discover where that’s getting in their own way, and help them change it.
Another thing that’s different is, if we are in the bar and you’re kind of getting “Wow! I‘d feel a lot happier if I’d just change x, y, z, or if my partner would change…” In a bar, if you were hearing that, you’d probably just think that that isn’t really a wise perspective, but I wouldn’t say anything. In my work, I paint a picture of, and guide clients towards re-visioning a picture of the life and self that gets them scared and turns them on again.
This isn’t just done in a conceptual way. It actually gets flushed out in detail and put into form and action. I’d say another thing that tends to make me different is I’m much more honest and blunt with people than therapists tend to do. My approach is not orientated to making somebody feel good. I mean, ultimately, I want them to feel better about themself and their life, but when I’m working with somebody, and I’m really connected to their Spirit and energy – and I’m listening to my intuition and not getting in my head about whether they’re going to like it or not – I tell them what they need to hear… not what they want to hear. And, that would not happen in a bar, probably, unless I’d gotten sufficiently drunk; but, I don’t drink, so that’s never happening.
Nitsan: When you compare what you do with so many other therapists and coaches, is there any element that you add that is unique? Is there something that you find, a flavor, a taste, a tool and approach that you use and as far as you’ve seen, other practitioners don’t apply it? Something in your blend that is innovative…
Geoff: I would say one thing is that I’m very active and directive with people. Meaning: I don’t just sit and listen, nod my head and go “aha,” or “how do you feel about that?” I do a very specific balance of psychological counseling with specific action- and experiential-oriented coaching. I blend working with teaching them how to manage their minds and giving them practices to do and explore that actually move them forward. That’s one.
Unlike the way a lot of therapists were trained not to do, I bring my humanity in. There’s a word for this concept that I can’t remember, so I’ll just use the word “relatedness.” It used to be that therapists and even coaches were trained that you’re just a blank slate with your client. You don’t let them see any of who you really, really are. You’re just a granite face in there, and I don’t do that. I mean I’m mindful of boundaries, I’m not stupid, but I’ll use anything from my own experiences that will propel my clients forward. I’ll use my own shit, my own stories. If they’ll help my client get an ‘aha,’ or get what’s going on and see what’s actually possible for them, I get really real and vulnerable. I approach every client as a human being working with another human being, not as a stone-faced title. So, there’s a level of compassion and relatedness that I bring that I don’t think is particularly obvious among therapists. The other thing that I bring in is twenty years of spiritual study that I’ve done, which helps me paint a spiritual “big picture” that also helps me get my clients connected with their spirit and their Soul’s purpose. Maybe another way of saying that is: a lot of my work is really about getting them more connected to their Spirit and building relationships that both match it and impassion their lives as a result. And that’s not what I believe your typical therapist or a lot of coaches would say they do.
Nitsan: Wonderful. So if now we speak to therapists, what would be your one piece of advice or suggestion to them?
Geoff: Well, there’s three things that immediately popped up. One, make sure you’re willing to go wherever your client needs to go. In other words, you can’t be doing therapy on someone in a topical area that you don’t deal with yourself. I didn’t say that very well. You can only take a client as far as you’ve gone, and or are willing to go in yourself. Number two, you’re dealing with a whole mechanism so helping someone just manage their mind only is doing them a disservice. And the third thing that came up was you really have to bring as much of neuroscience to bear as you can in your therapy.
Nitsan: Beautiful. What does that mean: ‘to bring as much neuroscience to bear?”
Geoff: That if you’re going to work with somebody to help kind of heal their mind, be sure that you’re pretty up to date on neuroscience, what you can really do with the brain. Neuroplasticity, working with being able to change belief, hypnotherapy, NLP. Don’t go…”oh and well hello this is what I’ve made a name for myself in once upon a time.” There’s no excuse to not include inner child/attachment work. If you don’t bring that in, nothing you do will last.
Nitsan: Thank you Geoff, for sharing your process of bringing joy into our relationships.
To explore resources that Geoff offers for people of spirit to bring joy into their lives, visit http://geofflaughton.com.