As a life coach, I have to keep a strong belief in the power of coaching even when those who come for coaching seem impossible to help at first. Recently, I had to question my belief when a new client came to me that made me doubt my ability to help her. After years of working with people and helping them see the amazing power of the mind, when Millie came, I had some doubts.
Millie was referred to me by a friend. He said to me, “Ronit, Millie needs to come and see you urgently”. So we scheduled a session and to my coaching deck came a gentle, beautiful 40-year-old woman with spots all over her face.
The more she told me about the problem, the more I doubted about my ability to help her. How on Earth can I help a woman with a 35-year-old skin problem? I am not a dermatologist. I panicked a bit and talked to myself, “Come on, Ronit, you’ve helped people who had taken antidepressants for 24 years, you’ve helped people who had used drugs, you’ve helped sick people. You can do this”. One side of me said, “You can do it”, while the other asked, “How?”
I had no answer.
My first session with Millie was like solving a puzzle. We tried to create a timeline of circumstances that could shed a light on this situation. Since Millie remembered herself, she had had skin problems that had driven her nuts. She had used every cream that ever existed and had put on cortisones every day. Her face had many white spots and she had a bit of scarring on her neck and chest. She had been using cortisones since she was about 5 years old.
Millie was a widow and the mother of 2 kids. Her husband had died 5 years prior to our session and this had made her very sad. Straight after their marriage, they moved overseas and the skin problems disappeared. Millie had 10 years of heaven. Then, they decided to move near their families. Her skin problems started soon after they moved. One month later, her husband died.
Millie grew up in a very tough home with a father who abused her mother and his daughters emotionally. He cheated on her mother in public and used bad language and name calling towards them. When she spoke about him, she was in lots of pain.
She had problems sleeping and was very edgy and angry. “I’m so itchy, it drives me crazy”. The doctors could not help her anymore. Cortisones were the only solution, but she had to cover her body and face with it every morning and every evening to manage. “Now that you see me, I have lots of make up to cover it”, she said.
When the doctors gave up, she tried alternative therapies. Her naturopath suggested eliminating some foods to find the source of her problem. When I asked her what triggered the flare in her skin, she said, “I don’t know. I’ve trying avoiding dairy, gluten, fish, nuts…” and the list of all the things she could not eat was huge. I believe food has a huge impact on our body, so I thought she was in good hands.
“So, did you find what you are allergic to?” I asked. She said, “No. I have not eaten these things over 2 years now, but I still have skin problems”.
It was painful to hear that. 2 years?! For nothing?! How long do you need to avoid something to learn it is not causing your problem?!
Over 5 years, Millie spent over $500 each month on alternative medicine visits, medication and supplements (that is about $30,000), yet she was still itchy, edgy and hopelessly frustrated. She had two girls that she loved dearly but said she could not be a good mother to them, because she was getting angry with them too easily.
At Be Happy in LIFE, my life coaching practice, we believe that knowing what makes us happy is key to living a happy, healthy and wealthy life. While Millie was describing her life, I searched for a spark of happiness in her words. I asked her to tell me what made her happy. She struggled. Even the thought of her kids was painful. It was funny that when she spoke about food, her eyes lit up. Millie absolutely loved food, yet she had been in massive food avoidance for 2 years. Whether or not her original problem had been caused by food, after 2 years of avoiding food she loved to eat, she had probably developed a new problem caused by all the avoidance.
I really doubted my ability to help Millie. It happens to me sometimes that I do not see a way out, but luckily, I do not need to. As a life coach, I need to help my clients find the solutions inside of them, not to find the solution for them. After all, they know themselves better than I do.
Millie and I talked about the emotional implications of her skin problem and the power she had given her doctors and her naturopaths (there had been several of them), instead of taking control over her own body and her own life. The body reacts differently to going to a doctor or therapist and saying, “Something is wrong with me. Fix it” than it does to going to a doctor or therapist and saying, “Something is wrong with my skin. I need your advice and your help. I’m going to collect tips and ideas and I’m going to fix the problem myself”.
I told her, “Every person you pay to give you medical service is a consultant. You pay them to tell you what they think you should do, but you make the final decision”.
When Millie and I were both clear about who is responsible to fix her problem I asked, “You have been going to a naturopath for a long time. What did you learn from her?”
“That my body is full of toxins from the overuse of cortisones”.
“What happens when you stop using cortisones?”
“My face flares up and it’s so itchy, it drives me nuts”.
“What methods do you know of cleaning your body?” I asked. Millie looked at me puzzled.
“Flushing the toxins somehow… Hmmm…” she thought aloud.
This immediately reminded me my Reiki master telling us that over 90% of our medical problems are caused by dehydration. She said that if we have any medical problem, we must drink 1 liter of water per 22kg of weight every day for 4 weeks and only then, if the problem persists, we should go to the doctor.
I have tried this method 4 times in my life, mostly for fun and to have a great-looking skin. I did it with my son Tsoof when he was 14 years old. He came home 2 weeks later and said all the girls in the music department told him his skin looked amazing and asked him what products he was using. We called that product “Water”.
I asked Millie if she was willing to flush the toxins out with water. I talked to her about the “water challenge” activity I had used with some of my clients who had had trouble sleeping. I had created a table with pictures of cups that clients needs to mark every time they drink a cup of water or equivalent fluid (soup is fine, juice is fine, but coffee and tea are dehydrating, so whenever you drink a cup of coffee or tea, you need to drink another cup of water to balance it out), so I thought she would at least sleep a bit better.
2 weeks later, I had a phone call from the friend who referred Millie to me.
“Ronit, what have you done to Millie?” he asked.
I could not tell him anything what I had done in order to keep her privacy. “Why? What happened to her?” I asked.
“I have known Millie for 5 years. She’s had that skin problem all her life. Now, she’s stopped using the cortisones and she looks fabulous. It’s gone! No spots. Nothing. She’s only seen you 3 times. How did you do that?” he asked.
I smiled and felt relieved. Dermatology was not my area, but apparently, it did not need to be.
I met Millie a week later. She looked stunning. She was a beautiful woman and it was even hard to see the scars on her neck. I was so happy to see her like that. I asked her about the greatest thing that had happened to her since our previous session and she said, “My daughter said I was not an angry mother anymore”.
She had tears in her eyes when she told me about the last couple of weeks. “I went home after our session and realized I did not trust myself. I felt helpless and going to doctors only made it worse. I had heard you saying to me, ‘Only you have the power to heal you’, so for 4 days, I forced myself to drink a lot of water. I never thought it was so hard to drink 12 cups of water a day. On the 5th day, after sleeping like a baby and only having to get up to go to the toilet, I woke up and it was like magic. It was gone. I couldn’t believe it. I haven’t used cortisones for 10 days and I have no makeup on my face. Look!”
I could not believe my eyes. My Reiki teacher had said 4 weeks and in 1 week of taking responsibility and trusting her body to heal itself, Millie had eon something that so many medications and creams, so many doctors and naturopaths and even a psychologist could not do. It was just water – not filtered, not mineral, just tap water – and a belief that the body is wise and every person is their own healer. That is magic!
When Millie left, I went to my computer, printed the “water challenge” table, put it on the refrigerator and thanked Millie for reminding me how magical it is to trust your own body.
How much do you trust your body?
How many cups of water have you had today?
This post is part of the series From the Life Coaching Deck:
- Choosing the Right Career Path for Your Kids
- If-then Parenting Style
- How to Help Your Kid Drive
- The Meaning of Life
- Hyperactive Kids
- Secret Demons
- Making Money Addiction
- Art Fights Depression
- Trust Your Healing Powers
- The Want Muscle
- Abusive Parenting Cycle
- Learning to Want
- Don’t Put Labels on Kids
- Stop Making More Money
- There Are No Hopeless Teens
- How to Have a Good Day Everyday
- No More Disappointment: The Biggest Loser Leads the Dance