Not Worrying About the Woo-Woo*
I’ve been noticing a lot of people, especially in my life coaching communities online, discussing topics and techniques that have worked for them with clients, and more or less apologizing for the information they are offering to the group by qualifying it. They say things like, “Well, I know this may sound a little ‘woo-woo’ to some of you, but…. (x technique)…worked really well with a client I had the other day.”
For those who don’t know, please refer to a definition of woo-woo at the bottom of this post. Essentially, it is a derogatory term for things that may be considered metaphysical and/or unscientific.
In the coaching context, these references to woo-woo can range from EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), which is an energy modality combined with affirmations, (although that doesn’t fully explain it), to meditative journeys, (like having a client imagine or visualize talking to their Higher Self, or perhaps to a deceased relative, or even their child-self.) Or for some it might be offering Reiki energy healing (known to be very relaxing and calming) in conjunction with a coaching conversation. Or doing Timeline work or other techniques making use of visualization and “rewriting” your personal history.
For some it could be having the person create a ceremony to symbolize some transition, or perhaps for a change of thought or shedding of old beliefs. Or it might refer to offering advice from the realm of Feng Shui, the Chinese art of placement, which looks at the “energy” of a space, the psychological effect of clutter, and the benefit of energy flow, placement, and balance in certain themed areas of the home.
Personally I use a whole PILE of these techniques along with other tools, and artful questioning. Since I originally trained as a “Soul Coach” with Denise Linn before moving on to other life coach training, my introduction to coaching involved mainly guided “soul journeys” and “past life journeys”, both of which are meditative visualizations but where the client ultimately creates the vision from within. I facilitate and coach them through these scenarios with gentle questioning to see what they discover.
Also from Soul Coaching® I sometimes use oracle cards, also known as divination cards, to look for confirmation of things being discussed, or to see what other insights may be brought to consciousness by the suggestion of the cards. There is an element of the mysterious and metaphysical when dealing with these, and some would dismiss me as a flake.
And indeed, as I went to further coach training that had a more psychology-based focus and joined these coaching communities other than Soul Coaching®, I started to hide what I was doing, especially the use of cards in coaching, and past life journeys, and advising about feng shui concepts, which I am also trained in. I started to be afraid that I’d get called out as being “woo-woo,” and not taken seriously by my life coaching peers.
But ya know what? I don’t care anymore if what I work with is “backed by science” or not. The damn stuff WORKS! Clients have had big breakthroughs in journeying to a possible past life, in talking to their inner child, or to their deceased father in a journey, and being consoled by that “contact”.
People are delighted and surprised when a spread of cards confirms the very topics we have been discussing. With a recent client, a card spread for the whole of last year ended up offering her accurate guideposts for the events that subsequently unfolded. Some cards were predictive in some months, or otherwise offered her some wisdom or theme to be guided and supported by as she navigated some difficult periods. It was like a lighthouse for her to see how the theme from each card could help her get through those months, and she was extremely grateful. I was not predicting events that would happen, which I do not do, nor claim to do. I was offering (or the cards were offering) possible themes that would emerge that could help her deal with various situations. And they did.
Before I got that wonderful feedback recently I had gone so far as to remove my “Oracle Card Coaching” from my web site offerings. I wanted to be taken “seriously” as a coach, not look like some “woo-woo pseudo-psychic”. It seemed risky to delve into the realm of mysticism and spirituality, in spite of my own belief that that is really who we are…spiritual beings having a human experience.
But the more I see my “serious” colleagues sheepishly reveal the supposedly “woo-woo” techniques they are having success with, and the more I am honest about the results I often get using those tools, the more I realize it is time to ditch the term “woo-woo” altogether! It is insulting and demeaning to both us and to the stuff that works, and we don’t need to hide behind prefacing that our work may “sound a little woo-woo” as an apology…thinking we’ll be taken seriously as long as we admit that we know some stuff sounds crazy or unorthodox. That is just a feeble attempt to gain approval from people. It’s like saying, I want to do this stuff, I like it, but I still want all those folks who won’t like it to approve of me and like me anyway!
Enough already! A good coach uses stuff that WORKS for her clients. If it resonates with me, and could be helpful in a given situation, and the client is receptive, I’m going for it, no apologies. My interest is in helping the client get what they want in life. That is my job. I am here to serve you as powerfully as I know how with all resources at my disposal. If experience tells me something will be helpful, it’s my duty to use what I know. I take what works and leave the rest.
Spirit and mystery is not separate from the human experience, it is the essence of the human experience. Without it there is no spark, no wonder, no joy.
So, Oracle Card Coaching is now back on the menu at Co-Creative Healing Arts. And who knows what else!
From The Skeptic’s Dictionary:
Woo-woo (or just plain woo) refers to ideas considered irrational or based on extremely flimsy evidence or that appeal to mysterious occult forces or powers.
Here’s a dictionary definition of woo-woo:
adj. concerned with emotions, mysticism, or spiritualism; other than rational or scientific; mysterious; new agey. Also n., a person who has mystical or new age beliefs.
When used by skeptics, woo-woo is a derogatory and dismissive term used to refer to beliefs one considers nonsense or to a person who holds such beliefs.
Sometimes woo-woo is used by skeptics as a synonym for pseudoscience, true-believer, or quackery. But mostly the term is used for its emotive content and is an emotive synonym for such terms as nonsense, irrational, nutter, nut, or crazy.