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Clients/Success Stories

Background: Mr. C. was a bright competent lawyer who functioned very well in his career except when he had to go to court. There, his performance faltered because of anxiety, self-doubt and loss of focus.

Action: An assessment revealed an active and negative internal dialog that undermined Mr. C's ability to function. He had begun to believe the negative story he was telling himself and reflected in his performance. First, we taught Mr. C how to challenge and reframe his negative thinking (cognitive re-training) and then gave him a mental imagery technique to help him "see" himself in the actual courtroom situation in a realistic and positive light.

Results: By incorporating these techniques, Mr. C effectively changed the way he performed in the courtroom. He now enjoys his court appearances and has gained the respect and admiration of many in the legal community.

Background: Mr. B. was a recently promoted executive in an established bio-tech company who managed individual interactions well but experienced anxiety in most group situations--such as facilitating meetings and public presentations—which his new position required. In fact, his performance at a presentation to the board of directors nearly cost him his job.

Action: To ease Mr. B's anxiety, we began with self –calming and relaxation training. Once he became adept at reducing his anxiety, he received coaching on his presentation skills using videotaping for immediate and useful feedback.

Results: Mr. B's presentation skills improved significantly from scattered and awkward to focused and elegant.

Background: Ms. Y was the lead attorney preparing for a costly, high profile arbitration. The pressure of the importance of the case and her desire for recognition began to undermine her confidence and efficiency as she experienced many symptoms of stress (difficulty sleeping, worry, and poor concentration).

Action: To ease Ms. Y's stress symptoms we focused on relaxation training techniques to generally calm her down and developed a schedule to incorporate these exercises into her busy workdays. We also coached her on how to approach some of the players in the case, some of who could be abrasive and argumentative. Cognitive re-training helped her to focus on what was important and limit distractions while mental rehearsal instruction supported her preparation for the court date.

Results: Ms. Y reported feeling and acting stronger, more confident and more focused than before. The arbitration was resolved in her client's favor, greatly enhancing Ms. Y's reputation at the firm.

Background: Dr. L. was an experienced attending physician in an ER of a major teaching hospital. The job required confidence, clarity of thinking, and fast decision-making abilities. The atmosphere in the ER was a political minefield and was highly competitive. The environment rattled Dr. L., a rather laid-back, polite, mild mannered person, and she began to question her competence and her decisions.

Action: An anxiety-provoking situation usually induces a narrow, internal focus and the potential for a negative internal dialogue. We discovered this to be true for Dr. L. Cognitive re-training indicated a careful analysis of the "evidence" that supported the negative beliefs. We employed cue-induced visualization techniques so she could re-connect with a positive and realistic self-assessment during the chaos and pressure of her workday. We also gave her some other mental imagery strategies to reduce the impact of stress and to improve focus.

Results: Dr. L's confidence improved remarkably as she was able to see there was really no evidence that she was lacking in competence. Even in the midst of a stress-filled environment, she was able to tune into a positive and calm inner state. Her enhanced confidence reflected in her outward behavior, which remained calm, determined, and strong.

Background: Dr. P worked in a dual role as clinician-researcher in a teaching hospital. Since giving talks about his research played an important part in improving opportunities for promotion, Dr. P wished to improve his presentation skills. Dr. P had a slight speech impediment, which made him self-conscious and brought back many memories of school chums laughing at him. When he spoke in teaching situations, Dr. P. would stumble over his words, get red in the face, and feel miserable.

Action: Dr. P was asked to present a mini version of one of his talks to the coach. Exploration revealed that Dr. P silently but actively berated himself almost immediately. Since the coach knew Dr. P to be an avid soccer player, she asked him how he dealt with "trash talk" on the soccer field. Surprisingly, Dr. P said that he laughed at trash talk and that it actually fueled his motivation to perform better! Dr. P began to view his own negative internal dialogue as trash talk and used it as a "cue" to trigger his sense of humor and to motivate him to succeed. He also received basic presentation skills training to further improve his performance.

Results: The cognitive re-frame helped Dr. P develop a different attitude toward his own remonstrations. This, plus some mental imagery strategies, helped Dr. P improve his confidence and public presentation skills significantly.

Background: Mr. S was a bright, articulate, and competent business consultant who had been laid off from a job and was eager to find a new one. After many interviews, he had not received a single offer. He acknowledged becoming nervous during the interview process, causing him to stutter, lose focus, and appear inept.

Action: Relaxation training helped Mr. S to feel and act calmer and which eliminated his stuttering. Cognitive focusing strategies enabled him to stay on track during interviews (and in general). Role-playing with a coach reinforced his interview skills.

Results: Calmer, more focused, and more confident, within a few short weeks, Mr. S received an offer for a high-paying job with a prestigious international consulting firm.

Background: Mr. J owned a small, struggling law firm in a major metropolitan area. Unable to generate enough new business, he considered folding the practice and joining another firm. Little did Mr. J realize his shy, self-effacing interpersonal style sent the wrong message to potential clients who interpreted it as reflecting weakness and/or incompetence.

Action: Presentation skills training, which included videotaping of Mr. J, helped significantly improve his public persona. We incorporated theater-derived techniques into his sessions to loosen him up and help him engage with potential clients in a more powerful and dynamic way.

Results: Mr. J obtained several new clients within a short period of time and was having fun again and his firm began to thrive.

Background: Mr. W was a financial advisor who was having difficulty closing sales. Bright, knowledgeable, and affable, Mr. W would become discouraged when potential clients expressed reluctance to hire him and found it harder to get out there and find new clients.

Action: Just like a baseball pitcher needs to see every pitch as his first pitch and focus only on that, so too did Mr. W need to focus only on the client at hand and not allow past disappointments to leak into the present situation. Cognitive re-training, focusing skills training, and mental imagery techniques addressed these issues in his coaching sessions.

Results: Mr. W experienced renewed enthusiasm and confidence for his work. By focusing more on the client at hand and less on past failures, he became a better listener and responded more astutely to the client's questions and concerns. The improved focus resulted in more closed sales.

Working with Pamela has not only enabled me to be really clear about what I want to do with my life, but to decide upon a plan of action and then actually carry it out. She helped me to break down seemingly insurmountable obstacles into small, very manageable steps which ultimately led me down the path I've always wanted to travel. I highly recommend her work for anybody who has ever had a dream and especially for anyone who hasn't.

Nick Dussault