To thine own self be true: Why one therapist is shifting her career

Amber King, writer, with friend Nova Beltran, psychotherapist and coach.

Amber King, writer, with friend Nova Beltran, psychotherapist and coach.

I feel super lucky to be friends with therapist Nova Beltran. We met in Hakomi training, and she is one of the most genuine human beings I have ever met. She is insightful, peaceful person with a calm demeanor who is also is able to (kindly) call me out on my shit when I need it. She’s a lot of fun to boot!

Professionally, I respect her tremendously as an established psychotherapist, so when she told me recently that she was adding coaching to her career, I was curious. What is it like shifting an established career? What would motivate someone to take such a leap?

She kindly agreed to an interview for the Women and Their Work series.

Q & A with therapist Nova Beltran

Q:  Nova, you are a licensed therapist.  Tell us a little about yourself and your career path thus far.

A:  I got into the field after doing my own work on healing past traumas.  After feeling the shift in me from doing this work, I wanted to help others heal from their past as well.  I started out my therapy career working in domestic violence and sexual assault centers, then I went to work at a psychiatric hospital.  And for the past 8 years I have been in private practice.

Q:  You have decided to shift from therapy to coaching.  What was your motivation?

A:  Yes, I decided to add coaching services to my private practice.  Specifically, I now offer transformational and spiritual coaching.  I had felt a desire to branch out from traditional therapy for several years, so I spent two years getting trained in the Hakomi Method.  Hakomi is a mindfulness-based somatic method that uses a non-violent approach to support the client in an internal self-study on how they relate to the world around them.  During the training, I fell in love with this method because it is spiritual in nature, which made me want to use this more in my work.

On a deeper level, the motivation comes from wanting to have a private practice that is more aligned with the truth of who I am.  I am spiritual by nature, so having a practice setup to support that type of work is important to me. I am also a highly sensitive person and highly empathic and have known this for many years.  However, I have just recently fully accepted this. By accepted, I mean that I accepted my need to respect these aspects of myself and learn to do things in a way that supports these aspects. For me, making more space for the coaching framework supports these aspects.  Although I have been doing good work and care deeply about doing complex trauma work, such as helping people out of suicidal thinking and other mental illnesses, it is probably not best for me to have a full case load of clients that need this level of support.

Q:  So tell us about coaching.  What do you aim to do that would be different than therapy?

Therapist Nova Beltran with friend Amber King.
We never stop growing and changing, and it is ok to allow your career to grow and change with you.

A:  I want to work with women who are seekers of personal growth, spirituality, and self-awareness.  As I mentioned earlier, coaching allows me to utilize the Hakomi Method more. That is, to use mindfulness to help facilitate sessions with clients who are ready, willing, and able to go within.  Another benefit of coaching is the enjoyment from focusing on my client’s dreams, future, and what they are wanting to create in their life. Although there may be blocks or patterns that originate from the past that may need to be addressed, coaching is future- and creatively-focused.  

Q:  What has been the best thing about this change?

A: Coaching gives me more freedom to take better care of myself and have a more balanced life.  It opens me up to serve and to help people who have been on the journey of personal development but still come up against the nagging comparison of not-good-enough thinking.  It has given me more freedom to support people in connecting to a spirituality of their understanding. And perhaps even the freedom to discuss metaphysical topics with my coaching clients!  It is deep work, transformative work, and just a lot of fun too! I also get to utilize more creativity, as I often incorporate art and expressive work into my coaching.

Q:  What is the most challenging thing about this change?

A:  Knowing the importance of keeping the differences and boundaries between therapy and coaching in mind.  And making sure I communicate clearly so clients understand these boundaries. On the surface, they may seem similar, but there are many differences between the fields.

Q:  What have you learned by trying this new career direction?

A:  Through this process, I have been reminded that we never stop growing and changing and that it is ok to allow your career to grow and change with you.  I have learned that we can work in a way that is best suited to our natural abilities, strengths, and needs.

Q:  What advice you would give to other people who are interested in changing their work to better suit their personality?

A:  I would say it all starts with honest self-assessment and self-awareness.  We must honestly look at what we are need or what may be missing, take an honest look at how our work is and isn’t suiting those needs, and being open to the possibility of doing and working a different way.  Also…get support! Be open to receiving support through family, friends, mentors, coaches, or whoever you know who may have been there. And listen inside. I would encourage them to journal and even try to connect to that part of themselves that can give them guidance about which direction they need to go.

Q:  Anything else we should know?

A:  If there are any women readers who are seekers of a more inner calm and connection with self, spirit, and others, please reach out and schedule a free clarity session.  I can support you in learning ways to connect inward, be kinder to yourself, and release any pains or limiting beliefs that may be in the way of the life you have always wanted. Call me at 832-724-1902 or email at

This guest post is part of our Women and Their Work series, where we explore how our relationship to work affects our vitality.

Ideally, work would be an expression of our values. It would allow us to leverage our time, energy, and skills for the things we want and need. And ideally, we would have the time and energy left over to enjoy those things.

But in reality? Work often saps the vitality right out of us.

Women and Their Work will showcase stories of real women who refuse to sacrifice their vitality and the creative ways they support themselves.

Are you experimenting with your work life? We would love to hear your story! Submit a guest post.