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The Soulful Seeker: A Case Study

Updated: Jul 6


She smiled slightly as she sat across from me in the counseling room. She was about thirty-five years old and of Latino descent—first generation American. She was also punctual, sharp, and delightful. Our subsequent conversations would reveal her wit, brilliance, grit, and incredible sense of humor.


I will call her "Z".


It was Z's first grief counseling appointment, and instinctually, we both took a deep breath before I asked, "What brings you to counseling today?"


Z's profound grief was the entry point to our agency specializing in grief counseling. Her mother had died a few weeks before our first meeting, and she had recognized the need for help navigating this uncharted territory.


As our conversation unfolded, however, she relayed that because of her mother's death, she felt the need to return to her home state to aid in her father's care; thus, she was considering relocating after years of living in California. Her job of several years, one she loved, was about to end. Her romantic partnership had recently ended, and she was about to reveal to her family that she was gay.


We soon discovered that, although her grief was palpable, the other transitions had taken priority in her life. Her mother's death had been the catalyst that catapulted her into her exploration. Grief became the gateway for the life she discovered she had been yearning for all along.


This session occurred some nineteen years ago.


The Prompt


During a meeting with my team last week, I remembered Z when I was prompted to define my ideal client. The question baffled me for a moment, but true to form, my brain chose a vivid memory to offer me the answer. I took what I call the panoramic route to issue my response. What made Z my ideal client?


First, her case was complex. I do not shy away from complex cases unless doing so benefits the client. Z faced five or six life-altering transitions simultaneously, spanning several domains.


While grief was the qualifier used to provide her services under our grant funding parameters, Z's determination to embark on a journey of self-discovery was her signature. She recognized that her mother's passing created an opportunity for introspection and reevaluation of her values and priorities.


Z was unafraid to explore her motivations. She sought to understand herself, had a holistic vision of her life, and recognized that because her transitions impacted so many domains, she had no choice but to be proactive to survive that moment.


In a word, she was a soulful seeker, and by extension, my ideal client.


Z recognized and respected her pain and need for the space to grieve but showed up ready to do the work and unearth any dissonant reasons for her actions or inactions. I accompanied my client through intense pain, raw introspection, and light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel moments that felt to her like glimmers of hope. Together, we created a map to navigate her future.


Z was, in effect, my first coaching client.


My Client Archetype: The Soulful Seeker


The Soulful Seeker embodies six main characteristics I value in my life and those I relate to personally or professionally. Soulful Seekers are intentional, intelligent, and proactive. Their quest is to profoundly understand themselves, their inner world, their motivations, and their compass. They possess an inspiring capacity for introspection. Soulful Seekers recognize that they hold the key to the door that has kept them isolated from their dreams and are ready to take inspired action.


The Six Characteristics in Action


Let's explore the six characteristics of the Soulful Seekers as they revealed themselves in Z's experiences through our work together.


Inner Explorer


From the beginning, Z needed to understand her feelings, motivations, and the main reasons for the chaos in her life. While her mother's death devastated her, Z's explorations soon revealed an awakening of her soul and a need to transform her life that had remained dormant until awakened by the earthquake that was her mother's loss. With my help, she armed herself with the tools to dig deep and was unafraid of getting dirty. She intuited that the process itself would render her clean in the end.


Self-Aware and Insightful


While a bit self-deprecating, Z was determined to understand herself, was aware of some of her patterns, and was open to gaining insight into her motivations. She took the time to think about her circumstances, looked for solutions, and made informed decisions. I must confess that I looked forward to our sessions because I found her grit fascinating. I could see the wheels turning in her brain as she constantly made connections that rendered her process bearable. She also established the boundaries of what she was willing to look into during our time together. I respected her decision to look away from some of her pain.


Holistic Vision


Z faced profound transformation and transition in eight life domains: personal, professional, financial, relationship, community, environment, personal growth, family and friends, and spiritual.


To say that none of these life circumstances was happening in a vacuum would be an understatement. Z understood the holistic nature of her transformation and looked at each domain as a puzzle piece. By the time we finished our work together, some pieces were already in place, some were still trying to find expression, and some had been relegated to the past. The future was full of promise, uncertainty, and some unexplored pain; Z was determined to continue to look at her life as the continuum it was.


Spiritually-Inclined


Z's spirituality allowed her to navigate the intricate nature of her grief and the enormity of the transitions in front of her. She understood the importance of seeking to understand her motivations and her fears, especially those related to sharing her sexual orientation with her religiously inclined father. As we explored her beliefs, elements of guilt, fear, and shame found expression in the therapy room. Z, however, was determined to live her truth. Her belief that her mother was guiding her path back home kept her centered and on track. Her faith in herself as the determining being in her life became the beacon that guided her path.


Proactive


Perhaps her most prevalent trait, Z's proactive approach to life, kept me on my toes. In every session, we would explore her week, her wins and losses, and devise a plan for the coming week. Every single week, I would sit in awe, listening to what she had been able to accomplish while still grappling with her profound grief. I had never seen anyone so determined to clear the path forward. She was relentless.


Eventually, however, she spent three sessions talking about everything she had done to avoid packing up her apartment. Her move-out date was fast approaching, and she had not been able to pack one box, not one. New to me in my work with this client, none of my interventions had worked. She was in absolute denial and was not able to connect her inaction to grief, fear, or any other emotion.


I was dumbfounded. Ultimately, and at a loss for options, I found myself looking around my chair as she spoke. When Z finally asked if I had forgotten something, I heard myself say, "Yes, my bullshit repellent."


My irreverence was the magic bullet. By the following week, she had packed, and was ready to move. I love my bullshit repellent. I use it on myself every day.


Openness to Transformation


None of my work, coaching models, client archetypes, or training would have worked without Z's openness to transformation. Z could balance her needs against those of other people in her life. While unclear what steps to take, she was willing to do the work to clarify her path. She felt the fear and took action anyway.


Bite-Sized Goals and Actions


Because of the size of her ultimate goals and my client's personality, we devised a plan to achieve small, short-term goals that ended up adding up to the accomplishment of her life-transforming ones. Her big goals required a map full of touchpoints that connected small and big steps, small and big decisions, and small and big moments.


I became her accountability partner. We worked diligently on her goals, strategically planned each step, established priorities that worked for her life, style, and needs, and adjusted our plans to ensure that she experienced continuous improvement and movement in the direction of accomplishing her goals. We stopped when grief showed its face, and pushed through when ready. In the process, my client's mindset transformed in front of my eyes. Her essence remained untouched—it was too good to mess up with, but she experienced a reset in the way she approached her life's big moments.


Conclusion


Maybe you see yourself in Z. I know I do, especially these days when all my actions are measured against big transformative moments that feel, at times, absolutely out of my control. Maybe that is the reason why I remembered Z when the team shared their desire to understand my ideal client. Perhaps you too are facing a great deal of stress, grief, and pain in your life. Or maybe, you need to reset your priorities. Either way, you might see yourself in my client's archetype.


Until we meet again on these pages or on a discovery call, may you be blessed, successful, and safe, dear sojourner.


Note: While staying true to the essence of my client's story and their presenting problem, some details of their story have been altered as was their name's initial to protect their identity.



Keywords: Case Study, Ideal Client, Archetype


Neidy Lozada, MATP, ATCC, CSIC, is an adaptive integrative and spiritual integration coach. She brings over twenty years of experience in transpersonal practices, coaching, and business to her work with individuals from all over the globe. She founded Soulful Sojourners following her long-held dream of building a company to provide top-notch coaching services to women, men, and organizations undergoing a profound transformational process. Neidy continues to serve non-profit organizations in the Bay Area through her work as a board member. She is a proud mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, and devoted caretaker of furry companions.


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