20 min

How Can Embodiment Coaching Support LGBTQIA+ Teens in Building Resilience and Self-Esteem?

Published on
April 11, 2024
River Braun
Embodiment Coach
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Being a teen today is like scrolling through an endless feed—full of highlights, low points, and everything in between. For LGBTQIA+ teens, it’s like your feed is on fast-forward, with extra pop-ups of challenges that not everyone gets. Sure, the world’s more open-minded now than it was before, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Trying to vibe with your peers while staying true to yourself? That’s a whole level of tricky when you’re also dealing with figuring out your identity in a world that still sometimes hits you with the “Error 404: Acceptance Not Found.”

Now, imagine having the ultimate life hack—a way to slow down that fast-forward, manage the pop-ups, and navigate your teen years with a bit more zen. This is where embodiment coaching comes into play. Think of it as your personal behind-the-scenes support, helping you tune into your body’s own signals and vibes. It’s about getting you to a place where you’re not just surviving the scroll but thriving in it, embracing every bit of who you are, loud, proud, and unapologetically.

Ready to hit that refresh button on your life’s feed? Let’s dive into how embodiment coaching can help you do just that, turning your journey into one where you're not just seen but truly recognized, starting from within.

Embodiment coaching is all about connecting mind, body, and spirit in a holistic way. It uses techniques like mindful movement, breathwork, and somatic experiencing to help you tune into your body's signals and emotions. It's a practice that encourages you to live in the present, acknowledging and embracing your feelings and experiences as they come.

So, here's the heart of the matter: Embodiment coaching can be a transformative tool for LGBTQIA+ teens, guiding them toward self-acceptance and empowerment. It's not just about coping with the external pressures and expectations; it's about thriving, celebrating your unique identity, and stepping into your power with confidence and joy. Let's explore how this beautiful journey unfolds.

Understanding Embodiment Coaching

Embodiment coaching is like having a conversation with your body, learning its language, and understanding its wisdom. At its core, this approach is about being fully present in your body, feeling connected to and grounded in your physical experience. It's not just about the mind or emotions; it's about integrating all aspects of your being to live more fully and authentically.

The principles of embodiment coaching are rooted in self-awareness, curiosity, compassion, and holistic wellness. It encourages you to explore your inner world through the lens of your body, recognizing that emotional and mental states are closely intertwined with physical sensations. This approach helps unravel the stories we carry in our bodies, often leading to profound insights and healing.

The Role of Somatic Experiencing, Mindfulness, and Integrative Coaching Techniques

Somatic Experiencing: This is all about tuning into your body's sensations and responses. It's particularly helpful for releasing and healing trauma stored in the body. By gently guiding your attention to physical sensations, somatic experiencing allows you to process and release emotions in a safe and controlled manner, often without needing to verbalize or relive traumatic events.

Mindfulness: Mindfulness practices teach you to observe your thoughts and feelings without judgment. This can be especially empowering for LGBTQIA+ teens who might be grappling with internalized negative messages or confusion about their identities. Mindfulness creates a space for you to explore your feelings with kindness and curiosity, fostering self-acceptance and compassion.

Integrative Coaching Techniques: These techniques blend various approaches to support your journey towards wholeness. From guided visualization to breathwork and movement, integrative coaching offers a tailored approach that addresses your unique needs and goals, fostering personal growth and transformation.

The Importance of a Safe, Nurturing Space

Creating a safe and nurturing space is paramount in embodiment coaching. This space is both physical and emotional—a sanctuary where you can be your most authentic self without fear of judgment or criticism. It's where you can feel supported and understood, an essential aspect of healing and self-discovery. In this space, you're free to explore different parts of yourself, experiment with new ways of being, and, most importantly, start building a loving and compassionate relationship with your body and self.

This safe space is the foundation upon which the journey of embodiment coaching is built. It's what allows for deep, transformative work to happen, enabling you to peel away layers of doubt, fear, and societal expectations to reveal your true self. Through this process, embodiment coaching offers a path to not just surviving but thriving, as you learn to navigate the world with confidence, resilience, and an unwavering sense of self-love.

When Talk Therapy Doesn’t Cut It

Embodiment coaching and traditional talk therapy both offer valuable pathways to healing and self-discovery, but they differ significantly in their approaches. Understanding these differences can help you appreciate the unique benefits of embodiment coaching, especially for those who might feel that conventional methods haven’t fully met their needs.

Sometimes, the classic route of spilling your thoughts and feelings to someone else, hoping they’ll help you crack the code to your struggles, feels off. That’s the traditional talk therapy route—useful, but it kind of puts someone else in the driver’s seat of your journey. They’re the expert on you, or so it seems.

A Shift from the Top-Down to the Bottom-Up Approach

Embodiment coaching shifts the power. It’s built on the idea that nobody knows you like you do. It respects and acknowledges that you’re the expert on your own experiences, feelings, and body. Instead of relying solely on someone else’s interpretations of your words, embodiment coaching encourages you to tune into your body’s wisdom. It’s about getting clues directly from yourself, not just through conversation but through how your body reacts and holds onto emotions.

Working Through Past Traumas The Wrong Way Can Re-Traumatize

Traditional talk therapy can sometimes accidentally send you back through past traumas, kind of like watching a movie of your own life that you didn’t choose to replay. It can be tough, reliving those moments without the right safeguards in place. 

Embodiment coaching approaches this differently. Using science-backed somatic practices, it helps you face past traumas without dragging you back through them in a harmful way. These practices are about processing and moving past trauma by listening to and working with your body, not against it. It’s a way of healing that keeps you grounded in the present while dealing with the past, ensuring you’re not overwhelmed or re-traumatized by the memories.

Here’s the kicker: By acknowledging that you’re the expert on you, and by offering safer ways to deal with tough stuff, embodiment coaching can empower you in ways traditional talk therapy might not. It’s about giving you the tools to navigate your feelings and experiences in a way that feels right and safe for you, making sure you’re in control every step of the way. So, if you’re looking for a path to understanding and healing that puts you in the lead, embodiment coaching could be your jam.

The Benefits of a Bottom-Up Approach in Embodiment Coaching

Direct Engagement with the Physical Body: Embodiment coaching involves direct engagement with the body’s sensations and responses, providing immediate access to the emotional and psychological issues lodged in the body. This can lead to quicker breakthroughs compared to the more cerebral process of talk therapy.

Holistic Healing: By integrating the body and mind, embodiment coaching fosters holistic healing. It recognizes the interconnectedness of physical sensations, emotional states, and mental patterns, offering a comprehensive approach to wellness that encompasses all aspects of being.

Empowerment Through Self-Awareness: Embodiment coaching empowers you by enhancing body awareness. This heightened awareness fosters a deeper understanding of yourself and your responses to the world around you, promoting self-acceptance and confidence.

A Safe Space for Non-Verbal Experiences: Not all feelings and memories can be easily articulated. Embodiment coaching provides a safe space for expressing and processing these non-verbal experiences through movement, breathwork, and other somatic practices, making it an inclusive approach for diverse needs and experiences.

Why Embodiment Coaching Stands Out

Embodiment coaching stands out because it offers a direct, experiential pathway to healing that is both inclusive and empowering. It is particularly beneficial for individuals who might feel disconnected from their bodies or who have experienced trauma. By fostering a deep, embodied sense of self-awareness and self-compassion, embodiment coaching not only aids in healing but also enhances daily living, providing tools for resilience and joy that are rooted in the body’s wisdom.

In contrast to traditional talk therapy, which focuses on cognitive understanding and verbal expression, embodiment coaching's holistic, bottom-up approach offers a complementary or alternative path. It's especially suited for those seeking to transcend cognitive barriers and directly engage with the wisdom of the body, making it a powerful modality for personal transformation and empowerment.

The Unique Struggles of LGBTQIA+ Teens

Navigating your teen years is like figuring out a game where the rules keep changing, especially when it comes to figuring out who you are. For LGBTQIA+ teens, there are some extra levels that can make the game feel even more complex. Let's break down what this means for you, keeping it real with the challenges and why having the right support squad is a game-changer.

Your Identity Journey: Uncharted Territory

Discovering your sexual orientation and gender identity is a big deal. It's about figuring out who you are in a world that's not always ready to understand or accept that. Sometimes, it can feel like you're walking this path without a map, especially if you're not seeing enough people like you out there, making it all feel a bit more like a solo mission. Worrying about whether your friends, family, or the world will accept you can add an extra layer of stress to your journey.

Facing What the World Throws at You

Dealing with bullying, feeling left out, or just not seeing yourself represented enough can suck. It's more than just a bad day; it's stuff that can stick with you, making it harder to feel good about yourself. Having to always be on guard or hide who you are can be exhausting and lonely, and it's unfair that you have to deal with this extra pressure.

The Real Talk About External vs. Internal Battles

Society has a lot of expectations, and it feels like you need to fit into a certain box to be accepted. When you're LGBTQIA+, you might feel this pressure even more. It's scary thinking about being rejected or bullied for just being you. Sometimes, you might even start believing the negative stuff you hear, which can really mess with your head and how you see yourself.

Understanding these challenges is crucial because the stories that start embedding themselves into your subconscious can have lifetime consequences. 

I encourage you to recognize how strong you are for facing this every day and the importance of finding your people—the ones who get you, support you, and cheer you on. Having that kind of support can make all the difference, helping you not just get by but thrive and be proud of who you are.

Building Resilience through Embodiment Coaching

Alright, let's dive into how embodiment coaching can be your secret weapon in dealing with the stress and sometimes the rough stuff that comes with figuring out and owning your identity. 

Tackling the Tough Stuff Head-On

When it comes to the big moments like coming out or just being cool with who you are, it can feel like you're stepping into a boxing ring. Embodiment coaching is like having the best trainer in your corner. It doesn't make the fight go away, but it teaches you how to take the hits and keep standing—how to find your balance again when things get shaky.

The Tools You'll Get

Imagine having a toolkit that's all yours. One tool is mindfulness, which is basically about living in the now and not getting lost in the "what-ifs" or the replay of awkward moments. It's about noticing what's going on with you without letting it throw you off your game. Then there are things like gentle yoga moves, which are about connecting with your body in a chill way and finding strength and calm in movements you control. It's like learning a language where your body gets to say, "Hey, I got this."

Real-Life Level Ups

Alex has been stressing about coming out to their friends, running through every possible scenario in their head, and feeling stuck. Through embodiment coaching, Alex learns to focus on the present, using breathwork to dial down anxiety and yoga to feel stronger and more centered. When the time comes, Alex actually feels empowered to speak their truth, grounded in their own sense of self. It's not about the stress disappearing but about Alex having the tools to navigate it.

Or think about Jamie, who's been carrying the weight of not fitting in because they're still figuring out their gender identity. Through practices they learn in embodiment coaching, Jamie starts to tune into their body's signals, learning to recognize tension and release it, literally shaking off the stress and finding moments of peace and self-compassion. They start feeling more confident, not because the world has changed, but because they've found a solid ground within themselves.

Embodiment coaching isn't a magic wand, but it's pretty close to having a superpower. It's about building up your resilience so that when life throws curveballs, you've got the moves to handle them. It's about turning stress and trauma from something that knocks you down into something you can navigate, with your head held high and your feet firmly on the ground.

Enhancing Self-Esteem with a Holistic Approach

Boosting your self-esteem is like leveling up in real life. It’s all about feeling good about who you are, and embodiment coaching is like your personal trainer for your self-esteem. Let’s break down how this works and how you can start feeling more like the main character in your own story.

Body Awareness = Self-Esteem Boost

First up, body awareness. It might sound like just being aware you have a body (duh, right?), but it’s actually about tuning in to what your body is telling you—like noticing when you’re tense because you’re stressing about a test or feeling butterflies when you’re excited. Embodiment coaching helps you get this awareness on lock, which is cool because the better you understand your body, the more you start to appreciate it. This isn’t just about liking what you see in the mirror (though that’s part of it); it’s about respecting what your body does for you and feeling more connected to yourself. That’s a direct route to boosting your self-esteem.

Practices to Pump Up Self-Compassion

Now, let’s talk tools to pump up that self-compassion and positive self-image. Activities like mindfulness meditation, where you give yourself a break from self-criticism and just be, can be a game-changer. It’s like hitting pause on the world’s noise to focus on being kind to yourself. And then there’s affirmations—positive vibes you send yourself. Standing in front of the mirror in the morning and saying something like, “I’m awesome just as I am” might feel weird at first, but it’s like planting seeds of positivity that grow over time.

Breathwork and Movement: Your Secret Weapons

Ever feel so embarrassed or down on yourself that you just want to disappear? That’s where breathwork and movement come into play. They’re your secret weapons against shame and feeling not good enough. Deep breathing exercises can help calm your mind and make those intense feelings manageable. It’s like hitting the reset button when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

And movement—whether it’s yoga, dancing in your room, or just stretching—helps you shake off the negative energy and connect with yourself in a fun, positive way. It’s about celebrating what your body can do, not punishing it or feeling bad about it. This kind of practice sends a message to your brain that you’re worth taking care of, which can turn the volume down on self-criticism and crank up the self-love.

In a world that’s always ready to point out how you could be better, stronger, smarter, or whatever-er, embodiment coaching is your personal hype squad that reminds you you’re enough just as you are. By getting in tune with your body, practicing self-compassion, and using breathwork and movement to deal with the tough emotions, you’re building a foundation of self-esteem that can hold you up, no matter what life throws at you. It’s about being your own best friend and biggest fan, and that’s a pretty epic place to be.

Creating a Safe and Affirming Space

Creating a space where you feel totally safe and accepted is like finding a secret base in a video game where you can recharge, level up, and just be yourself without any fear. For LGBTQIA+ teens, having a spot like this is more than just nice to have—it’s crucial. It’s about knowing there’s a place where you can explore and express your identity without judgment, and this is where an embodiment coach who gets LGBTQIA+ issues and being surrounded by a community on the same journey make all the difference.

Why Safe Spaces Are Critical for Healing

Imagine having a zone where you can let your guard down, where being yourself isn’t just allowed; it’s celebrated. This kind of safe space is key because it gives you the freedom to explore who you are and who you might become, without the pressure of fitting into a box. It’s about removing the armor you might wear in other parts of your life and just breathing easy, knowing you’re supported and understood.

The Coach’s Role: More Than Just a Guide

Having a coach who understands LGBTQIA+ issues is like having a navigator who knows all the shortcuts and hidden paths. They’re not just there to guide you through embodiment practices; they’re there to make sure the space is 100% affirming of who you are. This means they’re clued into the specific challenges you might face and are committed to creating an environment where every part of your identity is respected. They can tailor practices to help you deal with stuff like coming out stress, body dysphoria, or just the everyday pressure of being a teen navigating your identity.

Building Your Community: The Journey Is Better Together

Being part of a community of people on the same path adds another layer of awesome to this safe space. It’s one thing to have an adult coach in your corner; it’s another to look around and see peers who are walking similar paths, facing similar challenges, and dreaming similar dreams. This community aspect means you’re not just learning from your coach; you’re learning from each other, sharing experiences, victories, and yes, sometimes defeats, but doing it together.

How We Make It Happen

So, how do we create this kind of space in embodiment coaching sessions? It starts with setting ground rules that everyone’s identity is valid and respected – no exceptions. From there, it’s about encouraging honest, open dialogue—not just coach to teen, but teen to teen, building bridges of understanding and support. Practices are chosen not just for their physical benefits but for their ability to foster self-expression and authenticity. Think yoga poses that help with confidence, breathing exercises that calm anxiety, or group activities that celebrate everyone’s unique journey.

Guided practices become not just about moving your body but about speaking your truth, whether that’s through words, movement, or art. And all along, your coach is there to make sure the conversation stays respectful, positive, and inclusive, turning the whole experience into a journey of growth, understanding, and acceptance.

Creating a safe and affirming space isn’t just about having a place to go; it’s about building a mini-universe where the real you is always welcome, where your identity is celebrated, and where you’re never alone on your journey. With the right coach and a community of peers by your side, this space becomes a powerful source of strength, courage, and joy on your path to becoming exactly who you’re meant to be.

Navigating Identity and Self-Discovery

Diving into who you are and what you stand for is like embarking on an epic quest for the most valuable treasure—your true self. Embodiment coaching arms you with a map and compass in the form of tools and exercises designed to help you navigate this journey of identity and self-discovery. It's about more than just finding answers; it's about learning how to ask the right questions and being open to wherever the journey takes you.

Your Toolkit for Exploration

Imagine having a toolkit that helps you peel back the layers of who you think you're supposed to be, getting to the heart of who you really are. This toolkit might include:

  • Journaling Prompts: Writing down your thoughts can be like having a conversation with yourself, exploring your feelings about your identity, experiences, and where you see yourself in the world. Prompts might ask you to reflect on moments when you felt most authentic or to describe your ideal day, giving you clues about your personal values and desires.
  • Visualization Exercises: Sometimes, closing your eyes and picturing a scenario can unlock insights about what really matters to you. Visualization can help you imagine a future where you're living fully as yourself, noticing what that looks like and how it makes you feel.
  • Role-playing Scenarios: Through guided role-play, you can explore different aspects of your identity in a safe environment. It's a chance to 'try on' different roles and expressions of your identity, seeing how each feels without any real-world stakes.

Grounding Techniques: Finding Your Footing

Feeling grounded is about feeling solid, connected, and present in your body and life. Grounding techniques are key in embodiment coaching, helping you to:

  • Connect with the Present: Techniques like focused breathing or mindfulness meditation bring you back to the here and now, creating a calm space for self-exploration.
  • Foster Self-Acceptance: Grounding yourself reminds you that you're enough exactly as you are in this moment, which is a powerful antidote to doubts and fears about your identity.
  • Cultivate a Sense of Belonging: Grounding can help you feel a connection to the world around you, reinforcing that you have a place here, just as you are.

The Journey Is Yours

The most exciting part about this journey of self-discovery is that it's ongoing and dynamic. Just like your favorite games and stories, your journey doesn't have a fixed endpoint; it evolves with you. Some days, you'll uncover big, life-changing revelations; other days, you'll celebrate the small victories and insights. Every step, every discovery, and even every challenge adds depth to your understanding of yourself and enriches your personal narrative.

Embracing your identity and values through embodiment coaching isn't about reaching a final level of self-awareness; it's about continually learning, growing, and adapting. It's about recognizing that you're the author of your own story, with the power to rewrite it as you go. This journey is yours, full of twists, turns, and treasures along the way, and every step is a step toward the truest version of you.

Supporting LGBTQIA+ Teens Outside of Coaching Sessions

Keeping the momentum of your self-discovery journey going outside of coaching sessions is like keeping your phone charged—it ensures you’re always ready to navigate whatever comes your way. Here’s how you can keep the energy up, whether you're vibing on your own, with friends, or at home.

For Teens: Daily Doses of Mindfulness and Embodiment

Start Your Day Grounded: Kick off your morning with a quick mindfulness exercise or a few yoga stretches. It can be as simple as taking five deep breaths before you get out of bed, setting a positive tone for the day.

Mindful Reminders: Set reminders on your phone to take mindfulness pauses. A minute of deep breathing or noticing your surroundings can be a mini-reset for your brain and body.

Movement Breaks: Between classes or during study breaks, take a moment to stretch or do a quick dance to your favorite song. It’s all about reconnecting with your body and shaking off any stress.

For Parents and Guardians: How to Support Your Teen

Educate Yourself: The more you know about the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, the better you can support your teen. Organizations like PFLAG offer great resources for parents.

Open Dialogue: Encourage open, non-judgmental conversations. Let your teen lead these discussions, showing them that their thoughts and feelings are valued.

Practice Together: Engage in mindfulness or gentle yoga with your teen. It’s a bonding activity that shows your support for their practices and can improve your own well-being.

Connecting with Resources and Communities

The Trevor Project: A vital resource offering crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQIA+ teens. They also have a ton of great content about mental health and identity.

GLSEN: Focused on making schools a safer place for LGBTQIA+ students, GLSEN provides tools and resources for creating LGBTQIA+ inclusive environments.

It Gets Better Project: An empowering resource filled with stories, advice, and community connections to inspire hope and show that things get better.

Local LGBTQIA+ Youth Groups: Look for local groups or clubs that offer a safe space for LGBTQIA+ teens to meet and support each other. Many community centers or schools have groups where teens can connect with peers who understand their experiences.

Navigating your self-discovery journey as an LGBTQIA+ teen comes with its unique challenges, but remember, you’re not alone. With the right practices, support from loved ones, and connections to broader communities and resources, you can continue to grow, explore, and celebrate your true self, both inside and outside of coaching sessions.

Could You Use an Ally in Your Journey Right Now?

Feeling like you're navigating your journey solo? What if you had a squad that not only gets what you're going through but also cheers you on every step of the way? If you're ready to turn the volume down on the world's noise and amp up your own voice, The Radically Reclaimed Self group coaching program is calling your name.

Why Join The Radically Reclaimed Self?

This isn’t just any coaching program. It’s your ticket to transforming the way you see yourself and how you tackle the world around you. Designed specifically for LGBTQIA+ teens, The Radically Reclaimed Self is here to help you:

Ditch the Negative Vibes: Overcome the harsh effects of homophobia and transphobia that seem to be everywhere these days. It’s about learning how to stand strong in the face of negativity.

Build Your Resilience Muscle: Life throws curveballs, but you’ll learn how to catch them and throw them right back. Every weekly coaching call is a new opportunity to strengthen your resilience.

Rewrite the Story: Identify and let go of those sneaky, unhelpful narratives that whisper doubts in your ear, holding you back from shining bright.

Live Out Loud: With weekly yoga classes designed for all levels, you’ll connect with your body in a way that celebrates your true self, helping you to live freely and loudly.

What's Included?

Weekly Coaching Calls: Dive deep into strategies and conversations that empower you, led by coaches who understand exactly where you’re coming from.

Weekly Yoga Classes: Embrace your body and mind with yoga sessions that cater to helping you find inner peace and outer strength.

A Community That Gets You: Surround yourself with peers who are on the same journey, ready to support you and grow together.

Ready to Reclaim Your Rad Self?

If you’re feeling the call to step into your power and find your tribe, we’re here to walk that path with you. Schedule an exploratory call today, and let’s chat about how The Radically Reclaimed Self can be the ally you’ve been searching for. Together, we’ll explore how this program can light up your journey, helping you to not just survive, but thrive.

Don’t navigate this journey alone. Click here to schedule your exploratory call and start your journey towards a radically reclaimed self. Let’s show the world—and more importantly, yourself—just how loud and proud you can live.

Professional Scope Notice: I am not a licensed medical professional, mental health provider, or a member of the clergy. As an Embodiment Coach, my services are not a substitute for professional healthcare or mental health services, nor do they constitute medical or psychological advice. The guidance offered through my services is for personal growth and should not replace the advice given by medical or mental health professionals. Always consult your healthcare provider for any health-related issues and before making any substantial changes to your health regimen.