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  • Jake Russell

Help, Again

Way back in the summer (remember then? It was, genuinely, remarkably, somehow, a simpler time), I used this weekly piece to offer a free coaching session to anyone who wanted one. The response surprised me delightfully, and I was honoured and fortunate to speak with a considerable number of people and I’ve felt even more honoured and fortunate to continue working with many of you.


And now, as we shift into a new year, a new time, I’d like to make the offer again. So, to anyone who didn’t respond then, or did and we didn’t manage to connect, or we did connect but only did one session and for whatever reason didn’t carry on, or to anyone reading this anew, if any of you would like a free session, my offer stands again. If you’re reading this on cobsalad.com you can contact me here otherwise just reply to this and we’ll arrange it.


Here’s a bit about me and how we might work together.


I’m training to become a psychotherapist – I began a few years back, took a break, and I’ve returned to it to train in a modality that goes by the name of Neurosomatic Psychotherapy. The approach combines neuroscience, physiology and psychotherapy to help people gain emotional insight and alignment by understanding the body and the brain’s contributions to the processes of living in relationship to oneself, the world, and others.


To bridge the gap to the time that I qualify, I’ve trained and gained certification in a form of coaching that predominantly uses a cognitive-behavioural approach to helping people form and work toward goals and to surmount the inevitable obstacles that rise up along the way.


The work of therapy and coaching is, in large part, to uncover or recover those things in life that are of greatest value to you and to understand how to attain and maintain those things of greatest value, both spiritual and material.


When we begin to gently clean away the surface layer of psychological defence and protection, what’s revealed is pure and near universal: I believe what most, if not all, of us truly want is greater tranquillity of mind, connection, contentment and compassion; less anger, sadness, isolation, hatred, blame and regret.


The work of counselling and coaching is to orient oneself further away from the latter and further toward the former. It’s to prioritise what matters most while we’re still alive.


It’s to learn how to stand again from inevitable setbacks and to roll and rise with the vicissitudes of living, to win the things of greatest and deepest meaning to you.


It’s to see or frame our setbacks from a new perspective. To understand that the list of things in daily life that we have no control over is long (like, for instance, running out of milk for your coffee when all you want is a milky coffee, or, I don’t know, a massive bastard of a pandemic), but what we do have control over is our response to the setback. Admittedly, thinking philosophically in those moments of crisis is difficult and the difficulty increases linearly or perhaps exponentially with the severity or longevity of the setback itself. But it is precisely this that’s the work of living meaningfully and well.


It is the work of transforming oneself from victim to Stoic, from prosaic to poet, from helpless to heroic. And watching, as we do so, how life flourishes and becomes beautiful.


Living well isn’t easy, nor is it, I believe, a permanent state. It requires continuous practise. And the way to get good at something, to become successful, is to do it repeatedly and thoughtfully.


Successful people do difficult things often and routinely fail. And it is their willingness to risk failure that leads to reward. Their “failures” become sources of fuel for renewal, to go again stronger, wiser, kinder, more open, more flexible, and with greater resilience, and it is the repetition and thoughtfulness – the conscious practise – that leads to success.


Success doesn’t necessarily mean fame or fortune or lots of milk. Success, simply, practically put, means finding good solutions to the problems that present themselves; to experience life as it comes and to work creatively with it (to minimise anguish, anxiety, unnecessary suffering). In short, to live a life worth living. To live fully.


Many people avoid doing hard things precisely because the fear of failure is too great. The work of coaching or therapy for a client is itself hard. It’s why it’s work. But it’s why it works. It’s an opportunity to take risks. To try new things, to speak, to open up and expand, with a companion, in the safest of environments without fear of judgment or recrimination, but with support, trust and enduring empathy. And thus, to begin to succeed.


If you’d like to give it a go with me, I’d certainly like to go with you.


Contact me here or reply.


With love,

Jake x

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