COACHING CHOICE: NAVIGATING LIFE'S PATHWAYS TO PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT AND WELLBEING


Todor S. Simeonov, PhD, will give us the tools for having a happier life

Todor S Simeonov psychotherapist.jpg

As a kid, Todor S. Simeonov dreamed of becoming a doctor or a veterinarian – he wanted to be someone who helps the vulnerable. Today, he is an established psychotherapist and clinical psychologist who uses his expertise in Positive Psychotherapy, Reality Therapy and Choice Theory to help people feel better in their own skin and for companies to build more effective teams of satisfied employees.

You have a doctorate in philosophy and an MA in psychology. How does your academic background help you to be an effective and helpful coach?

Academic preparation merely lays the foundation for being a good and helpful psychotherapist and coach. My PhD is in rhetoric and communications, which is the basis of supportive interaction. How we build trust, use our voice to soothe, comfort, encourage, etc., are things that rhetoric has studied for over 2,500 years. Today, we build upon this experience, often presenting these ancient traditions as innovations. It's good to know where we started. I believe that the simplest things like presence, voice, compassion, and empathy are also the most powerful therapeutic tools in communication with clients. In this process of acceptance, in a safe environment, the client has the opportunity to reflect, to shed "their old skin" and put on a new one in which they feel more comfortable and happier. I believe that we are happy when we have good and satisfying relationships. The psychotherapeutic process is an opportunity to learn how to achieve that.

You are certified positive psychotherapist with the World Association for Positive and Transcultural Psychotherapy. What is the essence of this approach? How does it help?

Positive psychotherapy is a psychodynamic, integrative, and humanistic approach focusing not on the symptom but on its function, to uncover the problem area that created it. It aims to help individuals connect with their own resources and become their own therapists. People often think that it takes years, but my experience shows that there is no set time frame; some clients can overcome traumatic events within a few hours of therapy.

In 2019, I discovered another approach, Reality Therapy, which aligns with my personal philosophy – our life and reality are choices. The method was developed in the USA by the psychiatrist Dr. William Glasser and lay on the foundation of Choice Theory. I got in contact with the European Institute for Reality Therapy in 2020, and in 2021, along with like-minded colleagues, founded the Bulgarian Association of Reality Therapy, successfully training the first Reality Therapy psychotherapists in Bulgaria.

This approach differs from others in so many ways. It is direct, brief, doesn't dwell on the past, and believes in the autonomy of individuals, who are driven by their needs and internal motivation. Its postulates are easy to grasp, transformative, and effective, working well in coaching and therapeutic contexts for addictions, relationship issues, psychological distress and mental health issues. Its Lead Management applies in organizational and corporate environments.

Why do modern people need the help of an experienced psychotherapist and coach to feel good and successful?

We live in a world of constant dynamism. We are overwhelmed by information, and time seems scarce. We struggle to set boundaries, facing identity crises and a lack of meaning for life. Many young people feel lost, lacking satisfying relationships with others and with themselves, leading to manifestation of different symptoms. Increasingly, we encounter panic disorders, depression, and anxiety, with addictions also rising. People turn to internet information, influencers, and pseudo-specialists selling "be a better and more successful version of yourself" concepts, tips, hacks, and quick fixes. These scratch the surface and may have some temporary therapeutic effects, but they don't work in depth, often leading to symptom recurrence. When choosing a psychotherapist and coach, it's crucial to research their qualifications, affiliation with reputable organizations, and avoid grand promises and easy fixes.

Which are the most common problems your clients seek help from you for?

I have already mentioned anxiety, panic attacks, lack of meaning, and depression, often rooted in unsatisfactory interpersonal relationships, lack of relationship with important others, or even with ourselves. Reality Therapy and Choice Theory teach how to overcome these by choosing happiness over the false sense of being a victim of the circumstances and other people in our life. Our symptoms and problems signal our unhappiness and need to take control of our lives. I often say to clients that there is no one else at the helm of their life's ship. Realizing this can alleviate our problems, and do so fast.

What is your Corporate Wellness service? What is the effect?

As the Director of Employee Wellness at an international company, I oversee corporate wellness programs globally. My approach combines everything I've described so far, aiming to provide employees with the conditions, support, and resources to realize their potential and take care of their wellbeing and happiness.

We encourage leaders and managers to build teams and relationships based on trust, empathy, and authenticity, which are essential elements of psychological safety at work, leading to a sense of belonging, engagement, and greater productivity.

This approach has won several awards, and I hope more companies will recognize the need for hiring professionals to create and implement employee wellbeing strategies the right way. Do not outsource that function to somebody from HR. This doesn't work.

Recent studies show that work-life balance and mental wellbeing care are more important than salary and career progression for attracting Generation Z and millennials to a company.

Which case from your practice you will never forget?

She was a young woman, profoundly affected by a loss, who masked her sorrow with a smile and found it hard to articulate her pain. During our initial session, I struggled to find a way to assist her effectively. Then, I suggested she record her dreams. When she returned for the next session with a recorded dream, we analyzed it together and discovered its connection to her trauma, catalyzing a breakthrough in her healing process. It was an incredibly inspiring experience, and among the many cases I've handled, this one remains especially unforgettable.

+359 899 68 68 32

info@todorsimeonov.eu

todorsimeonov.eu

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