Ellen Friedman of Phoenix was happily providing physical therapy services for more than 25 years and anticipated that she would continue to do so for 25 more. However, she began to notice that her clients’ requests were shifting more toward her coaching than the physical therapy and movement training.
“I frequently heard the people I worked with asking for more ‘Ellen-isms,’ ” she said. “I smiled, and responded, ‘Sure, although insurance doesn’t cover that.’ ”
She started providing coaching services to many of her clients, and “witnessed those people improve faster and maintain their gains better than other patients.”
When more and more of her clients wanted to continue with coaching after ending physical therapy exercise and movement training, she listened. “Then, my friends began asking me what had changed in me and commented how peaceful and happy I appeared. They wanted peace, too.”
Then five years ago, while inquiring into an integrative medical clinic for a friend, she was asked to interview and was offered a position as a lifestyle coach. At that clinic, she assisted over 80 people and their families on a path of cancer recovery.
She received her master’s degree in spiritual psychology with an emphasis in consciousness, health and healing, and a certificate in soul-centered professional coaching from the University of Santa Monica. She recently met with Jewish News to talk about soul-centered professional coaching.
What is soul-centered professional coaching? Soul-centered professional coaching views people as divine beings using a human experience to awaken and live into their fullest potential. Each person has a spiritual curriculum that is reflected in the way they navigate situations of life.
My work is to see their loving essence, listen with my heart and assist them to transform their lives as they awaken to the essence of who they truly are. Using the skills and tools of spiritual psychology, I support people in creating a more meaningful relationship with themselves and with others, as well as experiencing themselves as a divine being.
What kind of issues do you help your clients address? I assist people to transform their life into “fulfillionaires”: living life fully physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. For example, I integrate my decades of experience as a physical therapist to support people with neurologic disorders to experience greater mobility and less pain. I recently coached a man diagnosed with multiple sclerosis who was challenged with fatigue, severe pain and poor balance. In only six coaching sessions, he learned to calm his nervous system, resulting in greater energy at work, minimal pain, walking with greater ease and he even ran a few yards for the first time in six years.
Another client was a 54-year-old woman diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. In our work, she shifted her relationship with herself and her family through deep forgiveness. A few months before her passing, she told me that she was waking up happy every day because of the work that we did to heal her relationships.
I also support people to shift from managing stress into creating opportunities for expanded peace and wholeness. One client was a married physician who was challenged with working full-time and raising two preschool-aged children. She took small steps in her personal self-care, which provided great rewards with her peace and happiness.
I worked with a woman whose 90th birthday gift to herself was six months of coaching so she could live her life more authentically. In our work together, she released herself from a misunderstanding that she was responsible for an event that occurred 67 years prior. She resumed painting and continues to live (2 1/2 years later) experiencing greater self-love and enjoying receiving the love of others.
What tips do you have for people trying to find that balance between work and family? I love this question, as I am so grateful for a valuable lesson that I learned when my children were very young. When I am engaged with work, I am focused on work. When I am with my family, I am focused on my family. I experience fulfillment when I am present and focused on the task or activity that is in front of me. Balance is just one point on a continuum from “not enough” to “too much” of something. I assist people in seeing that how they relate to themselves while at work, while at home and throughout their day is what truly matters. Using life as an opportunity for learning, growth and “upliftment” is the foundation of my soul-centered professional coaching practice.