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Counselor helps clients in 'mid-life crises'

2/25/2014

By ELIZABETH GOLDEN egolden@dailynews.net

Loral Lee Portenier, Stockton, decided she needed a "meaningful profession," and now she is the owner of Sacred Dreams Coaching, which serves Hays as well as any location worldwide via Skype.

As a trained psychologist, licensed mental health therapist, certified hypno-therapist and expressive arts therapist, Portenier chose to focus on life coaching.

From teaching English as a Second Language in Costa Rica and southern Mexico to working for the Department of Revenue in Montana, she explored a wide variety of professions before gravitating toward life coaching.

"I really liked the positive, forward-looking focus of life coaching," she said. "I have organically meandered in the direction of focusing on mid-life women and the transition that goes on with that phase of life."

Portenier said most life coaches are accountability coaches, which is mainly behavior-oriented and requires no special training.

"With accountability coaching, you would tell me what your goal for coaching is," she said. "I would come up with a list of homework assignments for you every week and would hold you accountable for meeting those goals, allowing you no excuses. If you don't follow through with your promise to complete these activities, I could fire you as my client."

With her education and training in psychology, Portenier said she is able to go "deeper."

"I am able to take a client beyond the basic behaviors he or she needs to perform to accomplish his or her goals," she said. "For instance, people may have inner blocks that they may not even be aware of that have been holding them back. Utilizing various depth coaching techniques personalized to each client, I help them put the supports in place that will allow them to move forward and help them accomplish their goals more efficiently and effectively."

Portenier said traditional life coaching doesn't always meet the needs of those who are going through mid-life transitions, which is her specialty.

"There can be a lot of chaos and upheaval that people don't always know how to handle," she said. "It's natural, for example, to start questioning the decisions we made earlier in life. Do our previous choices still fit? At some point, even life itself can feel empty and meaningless, yet we might not know what to do with that angst."

In cases of mid-life transitions, traditional accountability coaching might not be effective, Portenier said, but her style of holistic depth coaching has been proven to be helpful.

"It gets at the more profound issues," she said, such as "Who am I really? Is this all there is? Am I truly living my life purpose? What do I need to do to get to where I want to be?"

Portenier offers sessions customized to each client. A coaching session typically lasts an hour, and clients call upon her anywhere from three times a week to once a month.

"I do have different tools I like to use if I feel like it will help the client," she said.

She begins with a question, typically, "What challenge(s) are you dealing with right now?" or "What's missing in your life?" She will then try to get clarity on the issue with questions aimed toward psychological, spiritual and physical well-being.

"I help each client formulate a meaningful primary goal to work toward throughout the course of coaching (typically 12 or 24 sessions)," Portenier said. "Sessions are comprised of reviewing the week's progress, or lack thereof, without judgment, employing various modalities to enhance growth and progress, and working together to devise useful and relevant homework assignments for the next week."

For more information on life coaching, contact Portenier at soaring@sacreddreamscoaching.com.