Whole-Person Counseling and Coaching

with International Existential Counselor and Coach Martha S. Bache-Wiig

Welcome to MBW LifeArt Consulting! I am so glad you found my page today.

I am a counselor and coach and have been on my own journey of healing and evolution for many decades, and have been working with others to guide them along theirs for over 30 years. 

My approach shares a lot of similarities with mainstream counseling and clinical psychology, but there are a few subtle differences. 

While sharing the goal to help people find relief from mental and emotional suffering, my approach offers some unique ideas that help focus not only on the “whys” of our wounds and how to heal them,  but also on the new directions our healing can take us in our lives.

Whole-person counseling and coaching in Existential Personalistic Anthropology means that every aspect of our unique being – our minds, our bodies, our family backgrounds and our deeper, spiritual selves, which holds the secret to our most fundamental purposes in life – are taken into account.

When we are suffering from depression, anxiety, addictions, relationship problems and many of the other kinds of emotional, mental and even physical pain we can experience, understanding the roots of our pain and how to .

Counseling and Coaching with me is a journey in understanding what the causes may be to your suffering, and how to best address them to gain relief and to begin to create a more fulfilling life. I offer you profound support and nurturing as well as tools and gentle guidance to help you learn how to get in touch with your deepest needs and slowly develop the skills that will allow you to heal and grow in new directions.

The first goal is to become a Person and improve the quality of our relationships – beginning with the one we have with ourselves – and the overall quality of our own lives, so we can in turn contribute to the wellbeing of others and of Life itself in our own unique way.

A Person in this approach is “someone who is capable of freely and responsibly loving themselves, loving others and being loved” (Antonio Mercurio); my first goal in work with clients is to help people make the transition into this deeper, more fulfilling and more intentional way of living.

Learning to love ourselves is a complex and difficult art. It is not the same as simply feeling good about ourselves. Sometimes, loving ourselves requires hard decisions, like getting help for an addiction problem, or ending an abusive relationship. Deep love of ourselves brings us towards a more integrated mind-body experience in our own lives and in our relationships with others, and that often means confronting difficult truths. 

This is achieved through a combination of talk therapy and a variety of experiential and phenomenological therapeutic methods that will help you get in touch with the deeper causes of your pain, and what solutions can bring you the best results. While I do not prescribe medications, if that emerges as something important for you to help you gain some stability so you can do deeper work, I will offer guidance in choosing medical professionals that can help you in this regard.

Generally speaking, counseling and coaching with me means that you will work on confronting your trauma and learning to feel your emotions in a more deeply integrated way, so you can gain a deeper knowledge of who you are and what you truly need to build a life that feels more authentic and true TO YOU.

Often times our parents/caregivers and families cannot provide us with what we need to feel healthy and whole, and so we go through life – sometimes for decades – surviving with what we have learned from them, and sometimes our survival is quite successful!

Then, something happens: an accident, a crisis in our relationship or marriage, an illness, the loss of a job, a financial crisis, the death of a loved one, and the rug gets pulled out from under our feet. 

Rather than seeing these catastrophes as disasters we need to simply overcome as quickly as possible, so we can go about our lives as we did before, we can realize that they may actually be opportunities to get clearer about what we really want in our lives, and how we can shift our inner worlds so our outer worlds can begin to reflect that.

This means more than simply learning some affirmations and trying to shift the external circumstances of our lives.

It often means developing a completely different understanding of the purpose of the kinds of challenges we can face, from the earliest beginnings of our existence in the womb, onward.

Rather than see ourselves as helpless victims of a very unfortunate and sometimes cruel fate that has wounded us, we can see ourselves as Artists of our lives, capable of taking even painful experiences and creating something completely new from them, such as new levels of self-awareness, love of self, respect for one’s unique qualities and contributions, to name just a few.

The idea of transforming our pain to create something new, something more vibrant and alive and beautiful for ourselves and others, is what informs our quest to become Artists of our lives, and to thus make our very life a work of art.

Any art takes practice, and knowing this can help us challenge the ideas we can often have that we should “already be perfect”, which fosters a condemning atmosphere of power and control, both within ourselves and in our relationships with others. As we open to new ways of caring for ourselves, including embracing even our most painful losses, challenges and personal limitations as opportunities for an increase in how we love and care for ourselves, new horizons appear, where peace and harmony in ourselves, our families, and our societies becomes a real possibility.

Life as a Work of Art means becoming willing to patiently learn how to work with the energies both inside of us and around us, so we can experience life more fully and give the very best of ourselves as the Persons we are here to be and become. The idea is that Life itself is moving in this direction, and as we become intentionally engaged with this evolutionary force, not only can we experience greater joy and beauty in our own lives, but we can help create it for others to experience, as well.

This is more of an inner, psycho-spiritual journey than a process of trying to understand what is wrong with us, and how to “fix” it. As we learn more about our own lives and how to care for them, our increasing ability to act as Persons and Artists of our lives can have truly extraordinary effects. As we learn to love ourselves from deep within, our life slowly transforms from being consumed with suffering and turmoil to being a process of ever more confident becoming

We are not aiming at becoming perfect, in a static shell that protects us from pain; we are engaging in becoming ever more alive, expressing our unique selves, capable of encouraging others to do the same. We become more confident as we embrace the challenges that arise, the conflicts and joys, the victories and losses, because becoming an Artist of your life does not mean that there will not be challenges. It means that just as an Artist can create a beautiful painting using all the colors of the rainbow, we can create new beauty even though we have experienced ugliness and pain. 

It is not an easy process, because there is no “one size fits all”, there is no one way that each one of us is here to heal and to grow. The owner’s manual for your life is one that you are learning, every day you are alive.

It requires courage and humility and an investment of time, effort and money to embrace our lives in this way, and open up to learning new ways of thinking, acting, and even feeling.

But it is a truly fascinating one, and, just like with any art, we become better at it day after day, one small step at a time. 

It is more than worth the effort, because YOU are actually the most important person in your life. You are more important than your money, your spouse, your children, your reputation, your job …..

YOU are what remains when all of this is stripped away. This is why it is so important to learn new ways of loving ourselves and caring for our lives. When we choose to do whatever it takes to learn new ways of living more authentically, meaning more in touch with your true desires and dreams for your life. 

Sometimes we have been conditioned to believe we have to be a certain way, have to live a certain way, have to value certain things, that are in deep opposition to what the deeper desires are that we hold in our hearts. This can cause huge amounts of inner conflict that we can even believe has to do with there being something wrong with us. But instead, we can discover that what is happening is that our deeper Self is wanting to emerge.

We are longing to individuate into a more integrated person, capable of standing strong in our own identity and our own place in life, but we don’t know how. 

Other times it becomes clear to us that we are being negatively influenced by the dysfunctional family dynamics we grew up with, and we want to break free of them so we can express ourselves and build relationships that feel more fulfilling and real, but once again, we don’t know how

And of course we don’t!! We cannot know what we have not been taught. Our way of treating ourselves and others and often times even our dreams and aspirations were things we learned from our families. They are deeply ingrained beliefs and even energetic atmospheres that we were raised in and that have even programmed our nervous systems to function in certain ways (the “neural pathways” that so many talk about today). 

It can feel daunting to try to change them, no matter how hard we try. 

But they can be changed! I am living proof of this, and I have seen many people change and grow over the many years I have been engaged in my own journey, and have been helping others with theirs.

How can we find relief from our pain and begin to experience a better life?

There are many different ways possible today to face our trauma and evolve. We are living in a wonderful time, where many different methods and skilled practitioners are available to help.

The tools I offer are individual and group sessions, workshops, seminars and classes on specific topics.

More specifically, you will experience a combination of the following approaches with in sessions with me, depending on your needs and individual inclinations:

– traditional talk therapy, enhanced by the ever-evolving knowledge offered by neuroscience, including awareness of the longterm effects of PTSD and complex developmental PTSD, recognition of different levels of sensitivity (including the Highly Sensitive trait as described by Dr. Elaine Aron) and neurodiversity;

– creative visualization and meditation techniques;

– elements of art therapy and cognitive processing, such as mind-mapping, relational visualizations and mapping, journaling, use of vision boards etc.;

Systemic Family Constellations work, done individually and in groups;

– Evolutionary Astrology and Human Design readings;

Forest bathing

– emotional/somatic awareness and energy awareness techniques gleaned from approaches such as Psych-K, Pranic Healing, Reiki.

I look forward to assisting you in your journey towards becoming a true Artist of your life in ways that are fulfilling to you and beneficial to others and to all of Life as well. 

Contact me by sending me an email at martha@centerperson.org or by calling 262-510-4815 to request information or to set up your first appointment today.