The Sweet Spot of Discomfort

One of the principles of natural horsemanship is to work your horse in short bursts outside of his comfort zone. The idea is that the familiar no longer stimulates his learning, so moving from familiar to unfamiliar and right back to familiar sandwiches new learning between something he is comfortable with. Slowly his training zone encompasses what used to be scary, so that new experience becomes familiar.

Think about this principle in your life. Remember when that new job, new sport or new experience gave you an anxious or excited feeling and now it has become routine.

When was the last time you pushed yourself a little bit to venture into uncharted territory. We are not talking about something that will blow your mind, just something that when you imagine it is slightly uncomfortable.

Imagine that experience, something you really want to do. Now imagine deciding it is too….something, too risky, too scary, too new. Close your eyes and scan your body after deciding not to do it. Do you feel relieved or disappointed? If you feel disappointed this is something you are ready to lean into.

How do you begin?

  1. Make a concrete decision to engage in the experience, even if it feels scary.
  1. Create a simple plan to prepare for the experience. What are the skills necessary to complete the experience?
  1. Break those skills down into small manageable steps.
  1. Create a realistic timeline by enlisting the help of someone with experience in this area. For example if you have always wanted to go ballroom dancing, ask an instructor to outline the process and time involved for learning one or two dances. Does it involve weekly lessons? How many hours of practice generally to prepare?
  1. Set a timeline based on your simple steps for your first experience. Ask someone who has already lived the experience to give you an idea of a realistic timeline.
  1. Start small and work your way up. By beginning with smaller experiences you build up your skills and confidence to handle the bigger experiences.


Live your life! It feels invigorating to push a little outside your comfort zone.


Removing Negative Emotion

Negative emotions and patterns of self destructive behaviours blocked me from living my life. Jill worked patiently to bring my awareness to certain issues behind the patterns and from there we worked at allowing the patterns to dissolve. It is also important to note that Jill provided me with the “skills” I needed to go forward in my life; skills that I can and do use when faced with situations that would have overwhelmed me in the past. I do not underachieve anymore. For the first time ever I have emotional freedom to make decisions that will take me where I want to go in life and in these past months I have come a long way.”

L.A. – Fraser Valley, B.C.

Adlerian Psychology

I am trained in Adlerian psychology. A hallmark of Adlerian Psychology is the promotion family-member equality, parent education, balance in life style, and holism in individuals.

This Therapeutic model originated in the early 1900s from the work of Alfred Adler. Adler was a contemporary of Freud and Jung, yet he had a different take on people and how we work.

Adler saw individuals as creative, goal-directed selves that need a sense of belonging, connectedness to others, desire to contribute to the greater good of the community. He was optimistic about people and encouraging to his patients. Alfred Adler was focussed on developing a model of therapy that was useful in helping all people including children, parents and couples create and achieve harmonious relationships, while being responsible for their behaviour.

Adler believed that people have choices about how they behave rather than being “pushed into behaviour” as was a popular belief with other Psychiatrists at the time.

Adler’s goal for individual or family counselling was for each member of a family or couple to spend time with their therapist/ counsellor. As this one-to-one relationship develops Adler believed the therapist/counsellor can then provide critical encouragement, foster insight, and promote change in each family member’s style of life. Family members “lay down their weapons? to discover new, positive aspects of each other.

Adler had placed a lot of emphasis on how important an early child’s training in life developed and how those early learnings were compiled into their little rulebook for living. This guide book he believed became their “private logic” for living their life. This Private Logic Adler believed was an individual’s guide book directing them throughout their life. The challenge then becomes the understanding that what a child viewed as appropriate, with our adult learning and knowledge might not be a suitable way to move through life.

Therapy assits with understanding the “mistaken beliefs” of the child and remodelling those beliefs into an appropriate system for us as adults.

Adler also was a strong proponent of parenting that fostered a child to become a responsible contributing member of their family which he felt would translate later to a good contributing member of the community. He was friends with Maria Montessori and their shared similar passions for positive encouragement, requiring responsibility and the importance of good parenting.

In my University training at the Adler School I was required to teach a 6 week Parenting Course following the Adlerian philosophy.

In later sessions, the family or couple is unified as a cooperative, caring whole with a more generous view of everyone’s welfare.

During sessions, clients set paths toward long-term goals, develop maps and plans for dealing with life situations, and harness the power in knowing that we can make choices and thus make changes if we choose. Everything can be different tomorrow than it is today.