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Emotional Coaching vs. Relaxation Methods

Zen garden - Symbol for Stress Reduction - Relaxation and Serenity through Coaching

Are you seeking a sustainable solution to combat stress? While relaxation methods provide momentary respite, they often lack the transformative power necessary for lasting change. This article delves into the limitations of relaxation techniques (like yoga and meditation) and sheds light on the essential role of emotion focused coaching in achieving long-term stress reduction and personal growth.

Why relaxation methods are often not a solution to stress

Classic relaxation methods such as meditation, autogenic training, progressive muscle relaxation, Tai Chi or yoga have become increasingly popular in recent years. People practice these techniques to reduce stress and seek relaxation of the body and mind. Nevertheless, many clients in coaching report that these techniques only bring short-term relief. Stress often returns after exercise, and with it physical strains such as muscle tension, sleep disorders or high blood pressure.

Relaxation methods – approach

These relaxation techniques essentially follow two approaches: Either relaxation of body and mind is consciously brought about (meditation) or physical relaxation is brought about through a mixture of different physical exercises (movement, stretching, breathing, etc.). In both approaches, the aim is to reduce stress by deliberately inducing relaxation.

Both approaches have an essential limitation: The emotional causes of the stress (unprocessed emotions, internal conflicts and conflicts with other people) are not addressed. If these causes persist, the body often goes back to the old patterns after the exercises.

Typical relaxation methods do not address the emotional causes of the stress: unprocessed emotions, inner conflicts and unresolved conflicts with other people

Decoding Stress Triggers: Internal and External Factors

Stress is often maintained or recreated by internal and external factors. – Even if I have experienced relief through relaxation techniques in between.

Internal maintaining factors: Habits

  • Physical stress symptoms such as muscle tension are often maintained by habitual unconscious compensatory patterns. These patterns were originally intended to help one be able to withstand emotions and stress at all.
  • This is often reinforced by mental patterns (recurring thoughts) that are also intended to help ward off the original stress.

External maintaining factors: Systemic causes

  • Social relationships, roles in the workplace often contribute to recreating certain patterns of stress over and over again. Old behavior is maintained because the environmental stimuli have not changed.

These patterns often make it very difficult to perform the prescribed relaxation exercises at all. When it comes to meditation, many people report finding it difficult to let go of their usual thoughts or that they find it very hard to concentrate.

Tackling the root cause of stress with emotional coaching

Emotional coaching or body-oriented psychotherapy go a different way than relaxation techniques: Instead of starting with the symptom (the stress symptoms), it goes to the cause:

The internal and external emotional burdens are tackled and cleared away one after the other.

  • Causing Factors
  • Maintaining Factors
    • Internal Factors
    • External factors

“People have the capacity to courageously face their suffering – to transcend psychologically, as well as to ameliorate it practically.”

Jordan B. Peterson Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto

In order to achieve this goal, the following approach is followed:

Tackling the Causing Factors: Facing the emotional patterns

  • With the help of the coach, the client consciously faces the unpleasant emotions and the associated physical sensations.
  • With attentiveness and curiosity, the aim is to explore what the burdens are, to perceive and appreciate the signals. Attention often leads to a transformation of sensations and emotional experiences. Curiosity and mindful perception help. This alone often directly leads to a reduction in stress and new insights become possible.

Tackling internal Maintaining Factors: Changing Habits

  • With the help of the coach, the client identifies maintaining patterns of thought and gradually develops new habits.
  • With the help of the coach, the client identifies maintaining patterns of muscle tension and gradually learns new resources, which allow new patterns of body posture and behaviour.

Tackling external Maintaining Factors: Changing the Environment and Social Interactions

  • With the help of the coach, the client develops strategies to change and the structure of the social interaction in his daily environment.

Relaxation techniques and emotional coaching – hand in hand

Learning relaxation techniques is often essential to learning to turn your attention inward and to be aware of the bodily experience. In order to achieve lasting relief, however, an interaction with other techniques is often required.

We therefore recommend the triad of:

  • Relaxation techniques – learning physical relaxation
  • Emotional coaching – learning how to deal with emotions and inner stress
  • Practical problem solving – making decisions, resolving conflicts, clarifying relationships

Therefore we recommend obtaining additional support through emotion- and body based coaching, if relaxation techniques do not achieve sufficient or lasting effects.

General Relaxation Methods


Focus on physical and emotional relaxation (relaxing thoughts and muscle relaxation / present moment)

  • Muskelentspannung
  • More conscious and deeper breathing
  • Lowering of the heart frequency
  • Dilation of blood vessels
  • Lower heart pressure
  • Less use of oxygen and energy


  • General relaxation
  • Is experienced as serenity, contentment and well-being
  • More precise perception of body and thoughts

Emotion and Body Oriented Coaching


Focus on processing physical and emotional stress (physical and emotional patterns of tension)

  • Solving physical strains (that are related to social and emotional stress)
  • Processing and resolving difficult emotions
  • Reducing anxiety and stress
  • Spontaneous deeper breathing
  • Relaxation as a side effect


  • Physical and emotional “well-being” enables activity and relaxation
  • Better perception of body and emotions
  • Increase in self-efficacy, ability to act and concentration