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Empowerment Systems

"........When Change is the Challenge."

Conscious Evolution

Empowerment Systems Newsletter, #7

"Is There a Pattern Here?"


Andrea, an exemplary civilian project manager in a military installation, started having sexual fantasies about her new boss almost as soon as she met him. He reminded her of an old lover - a really old lover: their affair had ended 30 years earlier, and she was now very happily married. Her behavior at work remained completely professional, but she feared that her feelings were distracting her and would compromise her job performance.


The job itself was a wonderful change - almost too good to be true. Andrea's superb reputation had led to her current assignment. When she met her boss, he informed her that he would like her to become his deputy and to prepare to take his position when he retired. She was expecting to continue doing project management work, and was stunned by his offer, which she immediately accepted. He set up a well thought-out training agenda with her that would allow her to familiarize herself with the unit, assist him, and gradually to assume additional responsibilities. Then her fantasies intensified.


As Andrea's coach, I asked what she could do to shift her attention back to her work. Deciding she needed to clearly separate her current boss from her old lover in her mind, she wrote a letter to her old lover. She thanked him for the past relationship and reminded him of the reasons for ending it, and informed him of how her life had been developing. Then she destroyed the letter and the fantasies vanished. They were replaced by fears of being unable to master her new job. Doing a reality check about her fears demonstrated that they were completely unfounded. She was doing fine!


Nothing was wrong, but Andrea was reacting as if she was under great stress, and she was. As is often the case, a positive change had stimulated a reactive regression! Andrea was re-experiencing old, long-since resolved problems, and they weren't even real problems. PAR, Progressive Abreactive Regression, a phenomena described by Arthur Stein, is a predictable regression that follows a breakthrough achievement. When we looked at the pattern, rather than the individual problems, Andrea realized that she had once more broken a self-created barrier, and just needed extra support until she got used to her new success. She arranged for extra nurturing from her family, friends, and her coach and is now thoroughly enjoying her new job.


Coaching tip: When strange things happen, look beyond the individual problems to the pattern they represent. PAR frequently accompanies success. What may look like a need for therapy may be a normal, easily managed coaching issue.


 Copyright 2000, Empowerment Systems. May be transmitted or reproduced in its entirety only, including this copyright line.

Jonathan B. Weiss, Ph.D. and Laurie Weiss, Ph.D. have helped thousands of people make significant changes in their lives. Working together at Empowerment Systems for 28 of their 39 years of marriage, they maintain a coaching, consulting, and psychotherapy practice in Littleton, Colorado, USA.


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Littleton · Colorado · 80120
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303.794.5379 · Phone
800.594.4594 · Toll-Free
weiss@empowermentsystems.com · E-Mail


"Committed to helping people use all of their inner resources
to create satisfying and fulfilling lives."