Life Planning Coaching
We all go through different challenges and angst with each new stage of adult development. Life Planning Coaching is my attempt to help adults become more intentional in their lives, thus creating beauty and deep meaning in each new stage.
Erik Homburger Erikson was a German-American developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst known for his theory on psychological development of human beings. He coined the phrase identity crisis. His psychosocial stages of development are studied in clinical programs around the world. Erikson’s psychosocial development theory proposes that our personality develops through eight stages, from infancy to old age. He argued that social experience was valuable throughout life, with each stage recognizable by the specific conflict we encounter between our psychological needs and the surrounding social environment.
Following are the adult stages of development that my coaching practice will address:
Intimacy Versus Isolation
In the sixth stage of Erikson’s psychosocial development theory, young adulthood takes place between the ages of 18 and 40. During this time, major conflict can arise as we attempt to form longer term commitments outside of our family, with varying degrees of success. And yet, positive outcomes result in healthy, happy relationships that are secure and enduring, developing the virtue of love.
Generativity Versus Stagnation
The seventh stage of psychosocial development occurs between 40 and 65 years of age. During middle adulthood, we display our need for longevity, not necessarily in a physical sense, but as life’s continuation in our children or the long-term impact we have on others. We aim to make a mark on the world, to nurture things that will outlive us. We may look for ways to be more productive and valuable to our society, with an eye on the bigger picture. Success is exemplified by virtue of care – the feeling of being useful in life, accomplishing something, and contributing to society. We are proud of who we are, what we have achieved, our children and who they have become, and the strong relationship we have with our partner.
Integrity Versus Despair
Our final stage of psychosocial development takes us from 65 years of age to death – known as maturity. This stage is one of reflection. We slow down, are less productive, and spend time reviewing our accomplishments throughout life. Success is in the belief that we have achieved our goals and found happiness, leading to the feeling of integrity, “a sense of coherence and wholeness” (Erikson, 1982). We feel we have achieved much and are ready to meet our end with a sense of peace. Success leads to the virtue of wisdom – a sense of completeness.
Coaching is unlike psychotherapy although both are aimed at helping clients improve their lives.
First, there are no diagnoses because coaching does not presume mental illness, but rather utilizes a wellness-based model of assisting clients improve their lives. Second, coaching is not covered by most insurance plans, which is partly based on the above – no diagnosis of a medical condition, no health insurance coverage.
COACHING SERVICES OFFERED BY DEB: (in-person or via Zoom)
Group sessions for specific adult life stages; that is, the groups will be organized based on age and stage of adult development so that the members have a great deal in common, which aids in creative life planning. We will use pertinent written materials, art and music to enhance the group experiences and aid in creative thinking/feeling/processing.
The groups will be formed along the lines of Erikson’s adult stage of development listed above, but renamed by me as:
- Youngish Adults – focusing on the struggle for intimacy and meaningful work and play; balancing one’s life to achieve the maximum satisfaction and joy.
- Mid-Stream Adults – also focusing on the pursuit and refinement of intimacy and meaningful work/play, but adding in issues of transition, loss, and empty nest adjustment.
- Aging with Grace and Sass – for those individuals who are interested in designing their Third Act (Jane Fonda’s term – Fonda discusses a new way to approach the last three decades of life, what she calls ‘the third act.’ She has created podcasts on the subject and two books My Life So Far and Prime Time: Love, health, sex, fitness, friendship, spirit; Making the Most of All of Your Life. Fonda characterizes this final stage with the following metaphor for aging – a staircase with the upward ascension of the human spirit, bringing us into wisdom, wholeness, and authenticity. We will use her books and others in the exploration of group members’ exploration and design of their Third Act.
Individual sessions of life planning coaching to assist individuals attain their highest potential and greatest joy in each day.