My coaching approach

Learn about my training and education, and all the aspects of my coaching approach that make it unique.

Emma’s Training and Experience

In coaching, we work together to set goals and decide what approach is best for you, based on your unique needs and wishes. Below you will find the methodologies I have advanced training and experience in. 

Internal Family Systems

IFS is my main approach to working with clients. It is the most effective and rewarding personal growth tool I have found. Some of my most profound insights and life experiences have happened while I was experiencing IFS as a client, and I have witnessed rapid, deep transformation in my own clients using this model.

IFS helps you experience healing, self-love, and inner harmony. IFS is helpful if you feel conflicted, want to manage your emotions better, want to harness your strengths, and want to live life from your Core Self. It may include working with the inner child, the inner critic, and all the parts of you which make you unique. It is an experiential, imaginative, and somatic approach grounded in mindfulness. It’s also fun!

I am an IFS-Inspired Coach, and I have completed level 1 and 2 (Jan 2020) of IFS training.


According to John Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness means “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” We spend much of our lives contemplating the past and worrying about the future. Actually, most of our suffering happens in our own minds! Mindfulness helps you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings, recognize what isn’t serving you, and fall in love with the beauty of the present moment. Many people feel more calm, joyous, and connected from it. It can be done formally, in meditation, or informally, in self-awareness throughout your day.

I lived and worked as a therapist at a mindfulness center for 18 months, and used mindfulness with clients to great success.

Trauma/Tension Release Exercises

Tension Release Exercises (TRE) helps you tap into your body’s natural ability to de-stress through movement and shaking. It releases stress and tension from both the body and mind, signaling to your body that it can relax. Because of this, it has the potential to help you release present-moment stress and past hurts. Many people report reduced stress-related pain, feeling more connected and present, sleeping better, feeling calmer, more energized, more resilient, and more alive.

I have completed a year of training in TRE and am a certified TRE Provider. Read more about TRE here.

Stress Reduction

While working with the mind is a key component of reducing stress and tension, body-based forms of stress reduction are also extremely useful. Depending on your needs and wants, I can incorporate breathing techniques, restorative yoga postures, grounding exercises, and guided relaxation techniques to help you achieve a state of inner peace and calm.

I am an advanced yoga instructor and I worked as a therapist at a mindfulness-based residential recovery center in Thailand for 18 months.

Key Characteristics of My Approach

Our understanding of the human psyche is changing. Cutting-edge methods are holistic, compassionate, strengths-based, and experiential.

I had the opportunity to serve as a therapist at a mindfulness-based recovery center in Thailand for 18 months, where I learned new, evidence-based approaches that help clients achieve transformational change in an empowering, rewarding, soulful way. 

These are key perspectives that inform the way I work with clients.

Deep, Transformational Work

The problems we see on the surface, such as procrastination, stress, or indecision are sometimes the tip of the iceberg. Sometimes, these are clues to something deeper, such as old burdens we are carrying such as feeling “not good enough.” Thus, my clients and I go deep to get to the heart of the issue, instead of merely treating the symptom. This is often deeply moving, rewarding, and transformative.

Solution-Focused for Personal Growth

I balance deep transformational work with personal growth to help you grow into the person you want to be.

A solution-focused coaching approach is well-suited to people who have specific problems that are standing in the way of their goals.

Holistic Wellness Focusing on Body, Mind, and Spirit

Gone are the days when we thought working only with thoughts and behaviors was the only way to change. I honor clients as holistic beings and take the body, mind, and spirit into account. We incorporate your emotional wellness, mental wellness, relationships, spiritual fulfillment, physical wellbeing, and work/school life into account to help you grow on every level.


Compassion is a cornerstone of my approach. Growth happens best in the context of a compassionate relationship where you feel seen, honored, and understood… both by your coach and by your Self. Even if you struggle with self-criticism, compassion is a muscle you can build. It honors the suffering, disappointment, and failure which is part of life and offers kindness instead of judgment for profound transformation.

Strengths-Based and Non-Pathologizing

You are fundamentally good and whole. It is my belief that the behaviors, emotions, or thoughts you have that aren’t serving you are your unconscious best attempt to deal with the challenges of life, even if they are causing suffering. For example, procrastination may be trying to protect you from failure. The good news is that there is nothing “wrong” with you, your system is just out of balance. Together, we work to understand these patterns with compassion and curiosity, and help them relax, so that you can claim your birthright as a healthy, vibrant individual. 

Somatically Aware

“Somatic” means “relating to the body.” In the past, the field of psychology only focused on the brain. Recently, however, somatic, experiential approaches to psychology are quickly becoming the gold standard for change, because they yield results that were previously impossible. Becoming more attuned with the body builds the ability to stay present and feel calm and “okay” even during intense emotional experiences. It even catalyzes insights that could not be gained through talking alone.


Unlike many other forms of coaching, we don’t just “talk” about your issues and come up with theories about why you are the way you are and make guesses for how to change. We use your own inner experience and your own inner wisdom to know the best steps forward. You may spend a lot of sessions “inside yourself” with your eyes closed, on your own hero’s journey exploring the inner territory of your psyche. Many clients say that this is rewarding, insight-provoking, and even fun. They feel like the hero of their own story.

“With Emma, you can go on a lovely trip inwards if you want to heal your inner world in a professional, safe and personal setting and place. I think she’s a lovely person, she’s so supportive, creative and grounded, a great listener, knows what she’s doing and willing to help you the best she can.”

-P.O., Past Coaching Client

“The best thing about Emma is that she SAW me. I felt seen and accepted immediately, which was great, but overall, it’s her ability to turn your perceived weaknesses into strengths that was so different from any other coaching I’ve received. For someone that is super critical of everything I do, this was the real game-changer- to see my patterns, accept them, and then use them to my advantage.”

-Riss Winstanley, Naturopath, Entrepreneur, and Past Coaching Client

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Copyright Emma Donovan, 2019, 2020. All Rights Reserved.