The Theater of Self-Discovery (simply referred to as ‘The Theater’) is a somatic coaching tool developed at Coaching Evolved that merges neuroscience, Gestalt, NLP and Embodiment.
The Theater is one of the somatic tools we teach inside our ICF-accredited, multi-modality Transformational Embodiment Coach Certification program so you can develop self-awareness and create new possibilities for yourself and your clients.
*** Before diving into the practice, check in with yourself. Is this a good time for transformational work? Do you feel well-resourced? At Coaching Evolved, we’re committed to creating safe spaces for our students and clients to uncover, grow and transform. Part of that is honoring when we don’t feel called to do transformational work. It’s okay to take pauses and breaks in personal growth, and in fact, we encourage it.
To begin the Theater practice, imagine you’re sitting in a movie theater (or watching a play) with scenes from your life playing out on the screen (or stage).
Start by stepping into THE OBSERVER role, witnessing yourself as if you’re watching yourself acting in a movie (or play), performing a role. Give yourself time here because it’s an important step to get the full picture of what’s currently playing out.
Below, you can find questions for contemplation and exploration that you can use to take note of some of the things you observe.
And of course we go so much deeper into this tool and how you can use it as a foundation for multiple coaching modalities and techniques.
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1. GUIDANCE QUESTIONS FOR THE ROLE OF THE OBSERVER
These can be explored via journaling, meditating or somatically experiencing. Trust your inner wisdom to guide you to what you’re meant to see and process as it feels true to you:
- How does _____________ (use your name in third person) feel about themselves/herself/himself?
- Who are the people there with ____________? What do you notice about these relationships?
- What disempowering thoughts come up most often for___________?
- Are there certain situations that trigger disempowering thoughts?
- What else do you notice as THE OBSERVER?
2. SHAKE IT OFF AND CHOOSE A SCENE
Now, step out of THE OBSERVER role and shake it off.
Next, select any SCENE that you witnessed onstage or onscreen that you would like to bring transformation to. Perhaps it’s a conflict in a romantic relationship, a specific challenge at work or a pattern that keeps showing up that you’re ready to change.
The Theater is particularly helpful for any relationship dynamic or situation that triggers an emotional reaction in you. These events often hold potential for our healing and growth if we are willing to be present with the experience.
Describe the SCENE you select in a few sentences in your journal (these are the “given circumstances”).
3. STEP INTO THE ROLE OF THE ACTOR
Next, step into the role of you as THE ACTOR in the SCENE.
Now, THE ACTOR—depending on the play or movie (even SCENE!)—plays different parts or characters. Consider the type of characters you might be playing in the scene and why.
Since childhood, most of us have become very good at taking on different traits, characteristics, archetypes and personas in different areas of our lives to meet certain needs so we can manage how we are perceived in an environment or situation.
For instance, your role at work may be a completely different way of being than with a romantic partner or with your family. You may show up as codependent and people-pleasing in one situation or empowered and self-assured in another. This level of awareness—that we all play different characters depending on where we are or whom we are with—is key to your ability to step into and embody new possibilities in your life.
Please remember that you’re not any one of these characteristics, behaviors or personas.
Through the lens of the character we can distinguish the roles we play (coping mechanisms usually stemmed from childhood) vs. our authentic Self (THE ACTOR).
Here are some “Actor’s Notes” you can use to reflect upon and explore the role you are playing in the SCENE (via journaling, meditating or somatically experiencing). Not all questions will be relevant to your SCENE so skip anything that doesn’t fit:
- What am I noticing within MySelf?
- How am I narrating this scene?
- How am I feeling? (Really give yourself a minute to sink into your body and the sensations that arise)
- What am I believing about Myself?
- What do I really want that I don’t have in this scene? (it could be something you want from another person or a wish that you believe would change the situation)
4. STEP OUT OF THE ACTOR ROLE AND REFLECT
Now, step out of THE ACTOR role and shake it off. Spend time with these guidance questions for deeper reflection and integration:
- What did I learn about MySelf in the Theater today?
- How can I embody those learnings?
- Note anything else that was revealed as I played with this SCENE
Feel free to revisit this practice anytime you experience emotional triggers in your relationships, work and personal life. The more you practice self-awareness, the more possibilities you can create in your coaching craft, client-relations and your career.
The Theater of Self Discovery is a powerful and comprehensive somatic tool to help expand your self-awareness of unconscious patterns currently playing out in your life so you can create new possibilities that align with the desired outcomes of your Future Self.
Furthermore, the Theater reminds us that change and transformation can be fun and playful. Seriousness has its spotlight, but in the Theater, joyful curiosity and embodied exploration get to take center stage.
Want to become the lead actor of your dreams and create a career of your own design?
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Claim center stage and become a Certified Transformational Embodiment Coach.
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