Make Stress Management Personal with MindSonar

Make Stress Management Personal with Mindsonar

Whatever area of coaching you work in, at some point you will probably do some work to enable your clients to discover ways both to manage their current stress level and to become more resilient to stress in the future. MindSonar can help us do this in a truly client-centred way, by identifying the meta programmes operating when a client experiences stress, and so enabling change work to be focused on those which might be fuelling their stress response.

As always when considering a person’s thinking patterns, there are no intrinsically good or bad meta programmes – it depends upon the context and the way in which the meta programme is impacting upon on the way the individual feels and behaves. Therefore, it is possible that meta programmes which help the person in one context, could be causing a problem in another. Likewise, each meta programme of a pair could be unhelpful in different people..

To illustrate this, here are two simple examples from a couple of my clients of how either of a meta programme pair can contribute to stress – in this case, the perceived locus of control.  I’ve also included a brief account of the benefits that each client experienced from becoming aware of how they could change their stress level by changing their thinking

1. Very high Internal Locus of Control: this client spent a lot of time worrying about things which were completely out of his control. He was losing sleep over such things as world events and the future economy. He said that he often felt responsible for anything that went wrong around him at work and at home, even when he knew that he could not have influenced the outcome in any way. During coaching, he was able to identify some situations in which he was content not to be responsible (ie when he had more of a balance between Internal Locus of Control and External Locus of Control). He recognised that he was thinking differently in those contexts, and that he was more comfortable and less stressed in them. After that, he said could imagine how he would feel if he utilised that more comfortable thinking pattern when in the situations which were currently causing him stress. Therefore, he decided to utilise the more helpful style of thinking in relation to the things in his life that he tended to worry about.

2. Very high External Locus of Control:  in this case, the client felt completely out of control in the context of developing a business. The level of stress she was experiencing from this was stopping her from progressing toward this goal. She felt that so many external factors were in the way of becoming a successful business owner that she could no longer see any opportunities. By considering her score for this meta programme, she considered other situations in which she did feel confident and focussed on what she could influence. She then began to be able to identify the changes in her thinking that would enable her to move in the direction she wanted to, gaining in confidence as she did. The result was a business plan which enabled her to accept those factors which she could not control whilst taking decisions and actions on the factors that she could influence.


I believe that any meta programme can contribute to stress. I am still discovering how powerful a MindSonar profile can be for getting clients to understand both the impact that their thinking pattern can have upon their personal experience of stress and anxiety, and their ability to change that.

Let me know of other meta programmes that you’ve seen contributing to stress, whether your own or a client’s. Perhaps we can demonstrate how each meta programme can cause stress in certain contexts..


Time Perception in the Mindset: Sometimes crucial in Therapy

One of the Meta programme sets that I have found can have a significant role in the thinking patterns of my therapy clients is that of Past/Present/Future. It seems that if any one of the three is very strong in the context of how they view their life, it can contribute to the issues which have brought the person to therapy. As with all Meta programmes, the rest of the profile is important and certain combinations of Meta programmes seem related to specific therapy issues. However, the time perception meta programmes are of particular interest to me in some clients. Below are some examples of how each of the time focus meta programmes can contribute to a client’s issues:


I often see a very strong Future focus, usually coupled with the Mismatching programme, in clients suffering from anxiety. These clients constantly worry about what might go wrong in the future and rarely take any time to appreciate what is actually happening in the present. They often do not learn from their past experiences. Part of the therapy work therefore is to enable the client to look back and identify both good and neutral things that have happened in their past. This enables them to recognise that the things they were anxious about in the past rarely, if ever, materialised and that, if they did, they were not as catastrophic as they had imagined and they had coped and survived them.


I frequently see a strong Past focus in clients experiencing depression. Most often I see this along with a Mismatching meta programme. Such clients look back and remember almost everything that has gone wrong for them and every mistake they believe that they have made. This, of course, reinforces their depression and the accompanying low self-esteem. By moving first to a stronger Matching pattern, they can begin to recognise times of good fortune and personal success in their past and so see that not everything has been a bad experience. Doing this in combination with strengthening both Present and Future Meta programmes can have a really positive effect on their depression as they start to feel less negative about their past life experiences whilst becoming more positive about current and future events. .

Conversely, some depressed clients have strong Past Meta programme combined with a strong with Matching metaprogramme. These clients view the past through rose-tinted spectacles and believe that all the good times are over. They tend to believe that everything was better in the past, both for them as individuals and in the World in general. They remember all the good times they’ve had and forget any hardships and conclude that those times exist only in the years behind them. Again, coaching to enable them to achieve a more balanced profile across Past/Present/Future can bring about improvements for them,.


Less often, I see a problem resulting from a very strong Present metaprogramme. Such clients tend to struggle with planning and can end up in difficulty when unprepared for events or unable to meet commitments, including financial ones. These clients also often do not learn from past experience and fail to predict what they will need to achieve the things they want or need to. These clients can often identify areas or times of their lives when they have been able to plan, and learn from past experiences. Using this enables coaching to strengthen Past and Future thinking appropriately.

Of course, as with all our work with clients, we need to consider the MindSonar profile in its entirety and work with the client’s priorities. However, as our time perception has a powerful effect upon how we perceive our life in general, I think that this particular Meta programme set worth looking at very closely. Maybe that’s true for all of us – not just our therapy clients.

Have you any experience of the time perception Meta programmes helping or hindering you or your clients? Please share your experiences in the comments box below.