A few days ago, I had the incredible opportunity to participate in a special workshop entitled “Icaro: Drum´s Medicine” in the Catalan Countryside. During this workshop, I had the privilege of building my own shamanic drum under the guidance of a skilled master. The experience involved the full process of creation, including learning how to use our voices and play the drum once crafted.
As a systemic coach with over a decade of professional experience, I have always valued the power of rituals for facilitating profound change and transformation. For instance, when clients find themselves attached to their previous job or mental models, I encourage them to choose an object (such as a piece of cloth or jewel) and ceremoniously bury it in a park or nature, symbolizing a farewell to the aspects of themselves that no longer serve them. This creates space for the emergence of their new selves.
This recent workshop and the beautiful shamanic drum I crafted have led me to pause and reflect on the importance of rituals and their impact. Therefore, I would like to share some key points with you, hoping to convince you to include rituals in your daily life, both as an individual and as a professional coach (systemic or not).
Rituals play a significant role in systemic coaching for several reasons:
Creating Meaningful Transitions: Rituals mark the beginning and end of important milestones in the coaching process. They create a clear separation from everyday activities and signal the shift into a focused and sacred space for exploration and growth.
Building Trust and Connection: Participating in meaningful rituals fosters a sense of trust and connection between the coachee and their system/s. This unity and shared purpose enhance the coaching process.
Having a Symbolic Representation: Rituals often involve symbolic actions or objects that represent deeper meanings. These symbols evoke emotions, memories, and insights that might not be easily accessible through verbal communication alone, facilitating a deeper understanding of the coaching journey.
Facilitating Emotional Release and Integration: Rituals provide a safe space for clients to express and release emotions. In systemic coaching, unresolved emotions and family dynamics often surface. Rituals help clients integrate these emotions and experiences into their personal growth process.
Instilling Mindfulness and Presence: Rituals encourage clients to be fully present in the moment. By slowing down and engaging in intentional actions, they can deepen their self-awareness and focus on personal development.
Establishing Routines and Structure: Rituals create a sense of structure and predictability in the coaching process, providing a supportive framework for exploration and growth.
Reinforcing Commitment and Progress: Celebratory rituals acknowledge and celebrate the client’s achievements and milestones, reinforcing their commitment to their growth journey and motivating further progress.
Aligning with Cultural and Contextual Relevance: Rituals can be tailored to align with the client’s cultural background and belief systems, making them more meaningful and inclusive.
Supporting Change and Transformation: Rituals can be designed to facilitate transitions and transformational processes, empowering clients to let go of old patterns and embrace new possibilities on their desired path.
In summary, rituals in systemic coaching hold profound value by creating a sacred space, enhancing trust and connection, symbolically representing emotions, and supporting clients’ growth and transformation journeys. They enrich the coaching experience and contribute to lasting positive changes.
Moreover, science supports the use of these rituals, as neuroscience has demonstrated their significant effects on the brain:
Reducing Anxiety and Stress: Engaging in rituals, especially repetitive and familiar ones, can activate the prefrontal cortex and basal ganglia, reducing anxiety and promoting a sense of control and predictability.
Enhancing Focus and Attention: Rituals involving specific sequences of actions enhance focus and attention, leading to a more profound and meaningful experience.
Creating a Sense of Belonging and Connection: Shared rituals can trigger the release of oxytocin, fostering feelings of trust, connection, and belonging among participants.
Activating Mirror Neurons: Engaging in rituals together can synchronize mirror neurons, enhancing social cohesion and empathy.
Strengthening Memory Formation: Rituals involving repetition and meaningful actions can strengthen memory formation and recall.
Enhancing Emotional Regulation: Rituals can activate the limbic system, helping to regulate emotions and promote emotional well-being.
Triggering the Reward System: Rituals associated with positive experiences can trigger the brain’s reward system, reinforcing the desire to engage in the ritual again.
Creating Predictable Patterns: Rituals provide a sense of order and stability, which the brain finds comforting.
Affecting Perception of Time: Engaging in rituals can alter the perception of time, creating a sense of timelessness.
In conclusion, I encourage you to do the following exercises:
- Review your automatic and unconscious rituals to see how they serve your present and future self. Act accordingly.
- Creatively and consciously, think about implementing rituals that can help you grow and develop sustainably. Do not hesitate to seek help from mentors or coaches.
- Apply and observe the impact of rituals on yourself and your systems.
- Embrace your new self and live in a state of peace and well-being.
I wish you the best on this transformative journey, and if you need any assistance, I am here to support you.