WANTED: Parenting Coach. No Ph.D., Experience or Planning Required

So long psychology. Psychologists are so out, psychiatrists too. No one wants to bother with mental health professionals. The stigma, the time-consuming assessments, the sexy Ph.D. costumes. So unpleasant.

As of today I will no longer be a psychologist. I will be a Parenting Coach. 

CONTEST: Win the Parenting Coach Badge for Your Website or Blog
This career reinvention works for me on so many levels. People often think I'm a therapist but I'm not a licensed clinical psychologist, at least not here in New Jersey. While I do have the required doctorate degree, I didn't do the 3,500 hours of assessments, counseling and other really depressing stuff - I'm not that kind of psychologist, the therapy kind. So I can't accept third-party (insurance) payments but even if I could, who wants to mess with the exasperating phone calls, the deductibles, the undecipherable codes. Again, so unpleasant. Life coaches don't mess around with billing insurance companies, in fact they can't, so parents pay out of pocket and don't have to worry about rejected claims. As if parents need to deal with insurance on top of everything else. 

The best part, I can become a parenting coach at any moment I choose. So it's official. Effective Immediately. I am a Parenting Coach. There's no need for me (or potential clients) to wonder about my credentials, certifications or any state laws. No one will bother me about pesky professional codes of conduct. No patient-client privilege. No sticky ethical guidelines. I don't have to speak reassuringly and wear beige. 

Even better, I don't even need to know what a life coach is or does to become one! How refreshing! 

Jennifer Corbin, the president of Coach U, one of the largest and oldest coach training organizations in the world, has said, "Technically, anyone can hang up a shingle as coaching is not regulated. Many people 'coaching' have no idea what coaching is as they haven't been trained or haven't been coached by a professionally trained and credentialed coach. There are 'schools' that will offer a credential after three hours of training and people read a book or watch a TV program and decide 'I'm a coach!'" 

I'm a coach. 

So much freedom. So quick. To think of all those years in dreary labs, group homes, the state mental health facilities, the scary home visits, sparring with my dissertation committee, learning and re-learning Lisrel and structural equation modeling. Grading undergraduate essays. To think I could have learned my profession online in the comfort of my own home and yoga pants. I could have spent my twenties and thirties painting with watercolors in the lavender fields of Provence or cultivating social alienation and Eddie Vedder’s affection in some grimy bar in Seattle. What a fool I've been.  

Personally I should have just waited for Martha Beck, Oprah's friend and a Master Life Coach, the most famous life coach ever, who incidentally does have a Ph.D. from a place called Harvard (in sociology). I'm sure, however, she doesn't really need that training or degree (or alumni connections) to make dreams come true for aspiring coaches:

In this training, my Master Coaches and I teach you the skills you need to become an outstanding coach, someone who can help any client with issues ranging from career choices, relationships, weight loss, and personal mission to general peevishness. We have coaches who teach you how to commune with horses, cope with raising an autistic child, deal with food allergies, become a not-so-wicked stepmother, learn to love your body, and whip up a green smoothie. And that’s just one coach! Kidding. It’s two.    

I can become The Food Allergy Whisperer. The Organic Smoothie Soother. The Peevishness Parent Coach. The possibilities are endless. Lots of good specialties and niches are already taken. I’ll have to forget about Conscious Parenting. It's taken, probably by a friend of Gwyneth Paltrow, the expert on conscious uncoupling. I could go with Unconscious Parenting. How does that sound? 

No hurry, I don't have to decide before plunking down any money* or throwing up a new website. In fact, getting weighed down by too much forethought might hinder my new career path and it's just not necessary according to an online testimonial by one of Martha's former students who is probably coaching someone right now:

“During my coach training, I heard Martha say that the difference between her coach training program and all the others is that, when asked, 80% of her coaches say they have no idea why they signed up. That was me! I have never felt surer that I was meant to do something – and Martha’s coach training is the best thing I have ever done.”

Name Withheld (I don't want to get sued).

Quite an endorsement. For Martha and life coaches the world over.

CONTEST:PICK MY EXPERTISE. Name my new parenting coach venture. Winner will receive FREE unlimited use of the official Momma Data Institute Certified Parenting Coach badge(see photo above). 

*How much money? According to the New York Times:

$7,000 to become a Life Coach (eight-month course)
$7,000 to become a Master Coach (that's in addition to the 1st $7,000)
$850 to be Certified (i.e. listed on her website in the coach directory plus the use of her logo)

Or I could skip Martha and go for this 12-hour certificate program for a mere $599.00:Personal Accelerated Certified Coach Practitioner Training


ShrinkMom said...

Well I didn't know I could have a new career on the horizon too. I might need one, I'm a psychologist!

Polly Palumbo, Ph.D. said...

Hi ShrinkMom - Maybe we can a group rate for the Coach Fast Pass?

Anonymous said...

I hear what you are saying (as someone who has gone to graduate school in counselling psychology and have a private practice helping families), however I do have to say some of the most intuitive, developmentally-minded and insightful parent 'experts' I know did not, in fact, get a PhD in psychology. They help parents make sense of their children, see things clearly, understand the roots of behaviour (not needing to know rat studies to understand behaviour). Some of the most credentialed psychologists I know have been so immersed in a medical/pathological understanding of children that they can barely extricate themselves from looking at the problems, rather than what is MISSING, or what is the child's potential, rather than how they don't fit into society...and helping the parents find their confidence back as the answer to their children, and rightful place in the child's life again. Many have read too many vague research studies that really don't ever find anything very definitive, and completely lost their own intuition. It helps if you are parent yourself too.

Polly Palumbo, Ph.D. said...

Hi Anonymous, thanks for your insights from the field! Having spent time in the two different worlds of academic (research) psychology and clinical psychology practice (ie.in the real world), they're like apples and oranges! Or apples and artichokes. And it's so true, that really understanding a single child, their unique situation is far different than knowing the latest rat study (bestill my heart!, a rat study reference!) or even the latest studies about children. I may need to quote you in the future! Hope to "see" you again.

Anonymous said...

ha thanks! love your blog and all the work and thought you put into it!
Stephenie (Vancouver BC)

Polly Palumbo, Ph.D. said...

Stephenie, your comments mean a lot, thanks, especially as you're someone out there working with children and parents in the front lines. Did you see the NY Times article this weekend about the boy struggling with ADHD and other issues that fall between the cracks so to speak. Heartbreaking.http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/15/us/one-drug-or-2-parents-see-risk-but-also-hope.html?_r=0

Anonymous said...

Yes I did, but honestly I had really strong reactions to some of the 'parenting behavioural strategies' that the parent had tried to control her child...certainly would have increased the child's deep alarm, and only exacerbate the frustration and having the brain to be even MORE tuned out ("inattentive"), psychologically defended and explosive. Talk about a recipe for having to keep upping the ante!
I know she is trying her best and I'm sure only following 'doctor/psychologist orders', but I find that many practice from a very old fashioned behavioural model...and many of us up here in this neck of the woods have moved very much beyond and are post-behavioul - with wonderful outcomes...and we are scratching our heads wondering what is taking others so long!!

Polly Palumbo, Ph.D. said...

What does post-behavioural look like? cognitive-behavior?