Peter offers counseling for individuals, couples and children by appointment at his Redmond Office. Peter bills most insurance and can help you check your coverage in advance.
Peter also provides coaching for a wide range of purposes at his office or via the telephone. Coaching is an ongoing relationship in which Peter provides structure, tools, resources, support, and feedback to help the client take action towards personal growth or the realization of goals. Coaching uses a process of inquiry and discovery to build the client’s sense of awareness and personal responsibility. Coaching is more action and activity based than counseling. By focusing on your purpose, resolving obstacles, and aligning your actions with your goals you can fulfill you desired results.
There is an important kind of support, validation and challenge men can offer each other. Traditionally men have remained separated in competitive roles, working against each other, or in roles where their value was measured by their relationship with women. Coming together helps men see and feel their unique issues and be a deep mirror for each other. Creating a safe place for men to meet and know themselves empowers them to accept their true essence. Peter is a relationship counselor and breathworker with over 28 years of international experience. He first facilitated men's groups in 1982 and considers this format one of the most valuable services he offers. Groups consist of up to eight men who meet two times per month for two hours. If you would like to consider joining a group contact Peter at 425 802-2050 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter’s approach to all counseling is complex and based on the client’s needs. With couples this is even more unique because there are two different identities and sets of needs interacting. Initially, opposites attract and a couple is attracted to each other’s differences. Later when the “honeymoon” is over the differences become a source of stress or conflict which tend to trigger old issues. When dealing with their issues people tend to communicate critically or contemptuously and their partner tends to respond with defensiveness or by withdrawing. Sometimes the “honeymoon” lasts years and others only months, but eventually every partnership will likely trigger old issues and differences. These are likely to create additional problems in the area of communication where defensiveness and criticism flows back in fourth in an escalating fashion.
By the time most couples seek counseling they feel that their main problem is communication. If this is the case a first step in counseling is to create more effective communication and learn to let go of being critical, contemptuous, defensive or withdrawn. Stress can result in people being critical. If you feel criticized you may defend yourself by attacking or being critical in return. Your vulnerabilities can make you feel defensive when you are not actually being criticized. For some couples just getting help in this area fulfills their goals. For others this is just a starting point because they want to address what fuels their communication problems. It is also normal to need help with present time differences with money, sexuality, time, work, play, children, domestic roles and more.
Another important topic is that our partner will likely trigger old wounds and unresolved issues from our past. It is as if our differences and the poor communication about them combine, and our partner becomes a walking trigger of our past. In simple terms this means that most couples have three big areas to focus on: communication, present concerns like money and sexuality, and the past issues that are getting in the way. Ideally a couple will be able to address these together. It takes good communication to explain to your partner what is really going on for you and it takes good listening skills to hear them without getting defensive. It is also valuable to go beyond the sphere of communication and address the deeper wounds. It is easier to express and listen when you are aware of what your triggers are. Not all couples need to pay the same amount of attention to the past issues but it helps to see all of these layers.
Peter views the major past issues as stemming from our birth, family, and society. It is not just our family history that is important. Sometimes it is more helpful to look at the circumstances of our own birth experience because our major negative beliefs about ourselves originated there, and it can be an easier point in time to see our wounds and relationship conflicts. Understanding our beliefs about ourselves, and how they stem from our birth and family experience gives us a very powerful way to understand and resolve what the real triggers are.
Differences and conflicts can also be a source of inspiration. The process of relationship forces us to bump up against many old unresolved issues and heal them. It may not always be comfortable but it is a deep and meaningful aspect of the metaphysics of relationship. We are attracted to our opposite and this becomes a healing process. In the beginning we receive their differences and become more whole and feel the euphoria of love. Later when stress has entered the picture and we become more critical of our partner, they are serving us by bringing us to terms with our old issues. Relationships can be seen as a form of networking where we connect with someone who is different and in doing so we learn acceptance. We are embracing the whole of life and not just our own personal preferences. As we accept our partner we learn to accept ourselves on a deeper level.
Peter works independently in his Redmond office. For people who live in the Seattle area he usually recommends weekly sessions. He is also available for intensive work with individuals and couples from out of town. Some travelers may do sessions daily or every other day for a week or more.
There are many similar aspects to counseling and coaching and to the relationship between the client and the facilitator. Counseling and coaching relationships both include support, input, guidance, and learning. Most of my career I have preferred the term counseling to describe my individual, couples or family sessions, but I have always known that counseling included qualities of coaching, teaching, and even cheerleading. Regardless of how we view these aspects or roles, an important aspect of counseling is that the client leads and I follow. How I follow, is ideally dictated by the client, and not by my agenda or my menu items of what I think is important. I definitely have the ability and even the responsibility to add to the client’s direction, but the context is based on the clients needs. This is true regardless of the terms we use to define the facilitator/client relationship.
It is valuable to note that until the early 70’s counseling as we know it, didn’t even really exist. Prior to the 70’s counseling was primarily a psychiatric endeavor and it primarily existed within a disease model. When I first practiced in San Francisco in the late 70’s my work was considered to be outside the box of academia, and was loosely labeled Personal Growth. If the sessions were individual I was usually thought of as a consultant and if the sessions were groups I was a seminar leader or a trainer. In the 80’s things quickly evolved to where I viewed myself as a counselor, a seminar leader or a trainer. As these fields have evolved, the alternative counseling world has gotten closer to more traditional methods and vise versa. As these definitions have evolved each group of practitioners have sought to use terms that benefited their authority in the world. Often the terms used are connected to State Laws. For example, in my home State of Washington to be a counselor you have to be registered or certified. If I explain my work to someone I meet at a party they might be tempted to call me a psychologist, but in actuality the term psychologist is reserved by state law for only those who have a particular form of doctorate degree and have passed a specific exam. The issues and variations are nearly endless.
In the past decade Coaching has become a common format for a facilitator/client relationship and in my view the field of coaching has sought to differentiate itself form counseling. This is perhaps a current way that coaches are talking themselves outside of the academic or state definitions.
Equally as important as the label we give the facilitator, is the label we give the client. My clients have never been patients. They have always been clients, students or participants. I view the value of these terms to be twofold. They help communicate authority and they also help communicate the theoretical attitude of the facilitator. The term client communicates more equality than the term patient. Counseling implies working more with feelings than coaching does and coaching implies working more with goals and actions. Counseling implies working with ones life and coaching implies working with ones career or business.
Any quality we could name brings specific awareness to the interaction the client and the facilitator have. It is very important to me that the facilitator has training about the pros and cons of their approach. Terms like counseling and coaching are as important as terms like talking, listening, authority, support, and empowerment. A good facilitator is going to have a feel for a particular client and what the client’s needs are in general, and in a given moment. Good counseling is not just one thing. It is a blend of skills. A good facilitator is going to understand that the labels they use to define their practice are also part of this. Sometimes a counselor is going to be in a role that is more like a teacher or coach than others. A coach is going to have times where they help to address feelings. Again the variations of qualities and the ways we blend them are infinite.
As I stated earlier it is best if the facilitator helps the client take the initiative to lead and shape their sessions. Perhaps most importantly this article can serve to help clients begin to think of what they need or are looking for, but to also know that it isn’t necessary for it to be just counseling or coaching. It may be both and you get to call it what you want.
In my practice this evolves further because of the more experiential processes I specialize in. Simply put, my words in this article are most applicable to the talking component of the work I do. Additionally, I have many clients who come to me for breathwork or Voice Dialogue. These clients may not view the work as counseling or coaching, but these more experiential processes also require some general talking that should be thought of as counseling. Often over time, breathwork clients will add more and more counseling or coaching as the work they do with me evolves. It is also common for clients who first come to me for general or couples counseling to add more experiential therapies to the work they do.
On the logistical front: I do not think it makes sense to charge more money for coaching than for counseling. I charge the same hourly fees for either. This means my coaching fees are less than many coaches. My fees vary because I have some specific contractual obligations with some insurance providers. I do not sell coaching or counseling packages per say, but I can. I do phone sessions and if we do that it is probably best to think of the work as coaching.
What has always made the most sense to me it to discuss what form of works makes the most sense, begin our work together and discuss it as needed. It is in fact important to continue to discuss all aspects of our facilitator/client relationship because in doing so you not only create what you want, you learn to let go of old unsupportive habits that get in the way of feeling supported in any relationship.