Do you need a therapist or a coach? Maybe it’s both.
by Kiki Athanas
July 22, 2017
Barbara Erochina got her start studying pastoral care and teaching, and eventually started practicing as an Anglican Minister. Unfortunately, she became deeply miserable in this role, as she soon realized that she would never be accepted for who she truly was among this community. Barbara knew she needed to find a place where she would feel supported and welcomed with open arms - regardless of her sexual orientation.
That’s when she decided to pursue a slightly different educational path, in psychotherapy. Meanwhile, Barbara starting seeing a coach for guidance and assistance in advancing her artistic career, as well as a therapist for more emotional-focused internal work. She realized that when she combined both of these things (i.e. therapy + coaching), the results were amazing.
She couldn’t help but wonder: Why didn’t anyone offer a form of these combined services?
And so, Be With was born.
“At the most basic level, I usually start by saying I’m a emotional or feelings coach.”
Barbara’s work is all about rediscovering your ability to practice love, kindness, and self-care, in a way that will serve you to reach your full-potential. It may sound simple, but it’s probably some of the most valuable “work” you can do for yourself.
Today, Barbara serves those who are looking to make changes in their lives, and want to find better ways to love and make the best of who they are and all they have to offer. It’s worth noting that while she sees clients who are suffering from mild to moderate forms of anxiety, Barbara does not intend to provide coaching solutions for those who are battling severe depression.
As an aspiring entrepreneur myself, I was extremely impressed by the unique work and inspirational, strong business Barbara has built for herself. I couldn’t help but ask how it was she did it - more specifically, “How did you find your niche and prove your legitimacy in your field?”
DISCLAIMER: If I’m being honest, this question came from a place of insecurity in myself, as I’m currently diving headfirst into the health and wellness world with my work with Meal Garden, as well as through building out my own company, Mindfully Edible. Sometimes (oftentimes), I fear that I am simply not enough.
While I’m passionate about holistic health, and have taken some Naturopathic courses and Nutrition courses at U of T as well as online - I am not a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, nor a Dietician, nor a Medical Doctor.
While I love to bake and cook, and create recipes on the daily - I did not go to culinary school, and I am not a chef.
While I exercise, practice yoga, and meditate daily - I am not a certified yoga teacher and do not have any technical fitness credentials.
I guess, if I’m being totally transparent: I’m terribly frightened that I’m going to be “found out” for being, well, a FRAUD! I have that deep rooted worry in my gut that one day someone will call me out on not being “legit” enough, and I’ll have to pack it up altogether.
That’s perhaps why I was so very curious as to how Barbara did it. I thought: hmm, what Barbara does is sort of self-defined, as she has somewhat created this space and role for herself, and obviously successfully positioned and proved herself as a trustworthy expert.
I WAS DESPERATE TO KNOW HER SECRET! (So that, you know, I could follow in her footsteps and maybe stop feeling like such a fraud - I needed a specific strategy book for proving my legitimacy, just like she did).
Barbara saw straight through the question, or rather - through me. I guess that’s what makes her so good at her job ;)
“Hmm, before I answer that question, I want to preface it with this: we, as successful women, need to be careful about imposter syndrome. We ARE good enough, and sometimes the hardest person to prove that to is OURSELVES.”
Yes, Barbara has experiences and her educational background in psychotherapy, has extensive post-educational schooling, completed her coaching fundamentals, among other things. Believing in yourself though, is what Barbara admits is the hardest part for all of us. She explains that when she first started out, she drastically undercharged for her services. Eventually, she realized that wasn’t doing anyone any favours, so she decided to take the time to build beneficial beliefs about herself - this was done through creating evidence for herself, and actually acknowledging that evidence. For example, Barbara focused on actually taking stock of the life changes she helped clients accomplish. With her help clients changed careers, left unhealthy relationships, started businesses and took big leaps. Barbara explains that we need a feedback loop for the work we are doing, but more importantly we need to actually take a step back and take it in, and pat ourselves on the back whenever appropriate.
Celebrate and take notice. Valuable words to live by if you ask me.
While we were on this topic, Barbara mentioned a study discussed in Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In. The study reported that men will apply for a job if they feel they have at least 60% of the required qualifications, while women will only apply if they feel they have at least 98% of the qualifications listed. Certainly drives home the point Barbara is making.
I had the pleasure of taking part in one of Barbara’s workshops through the Lady Gaia program, where she walked our group through a coaching seminar with her incredible Be With: Cards for Self-Care. Hoping to offer my readers some of her wisdom around the topic of self-care, I asked what she recommends we can all “try at home”. Her advice was to start with Dr. Kristin Neff’s 5 minute Self Compassion Break. I myself have just started listening to these self-guided audio meditations, and have been incredibly pleased with the mentality clarity and the groundedness I have already begun to feel on a deep and meaningful level.
I’ll never forget what Barbara mentioned during that first workshop I took part in: “Sometimes, the best way to speed up is to slow down.”
I’ll leave you now with this beautifully articulated definition from the wonderful Barbara Erochina…
Emotional wellness is:
The capacity to be present with ourselves, to feel our feelings, and use them as information so that we can make a healthy choice about how to move forward.