Counseling the Soul
I've never heard of 'Badass Counseling'. What is it?
"Unlike psychology and most other counseling, I'm not in the business of getting you out of your problems and diseases and getting you to a state of 'normal'.
I'm in the business of getting you out of all that stuff....and getting you to a place of JOY, ecstasy about life, clarity, and inner peace.
That is, it isn't about just getting out of the negative; it's about finding and living a life of true happiness, peace, power, purpose, joy, hope, love, and just true ALIVENESS!
Yes, I believe that is both possible and very doable...and it doesn't have to take forever."
-- Sven Erlandson
'Badass Counseling' is a style of spiritual counseling created by Sven Erlandson, over the course of two-plus decades as an emergency room chaplain, NCAA Head Coach, pastor, life coach, motivational speaker, college lecturer, corporate spokesman, and longtime adviser to people from all walks of life -- from CEOs to street people, from Division 1 coaches to struggling wives, and from blue-chip teen athletes to the dying. Badass Counseling integrates the deep spiritual identity of each soul with the greater sense of strength, awareness, self-love, and vigor of a life lived in peace and power everyday.
It can be done by phone, in-person, Skype, and even by email/IM. There are Badass Counseling clients all around the United States and in several foreign countries.
Badass Counseling is based on one very core, simple belief: The deeper you go, the faster and more powerful the transformation. It is rooted in going into very deep questioning about the client's identity, past, and present to discern the areas of blockage and beliefs that are undermining his or her existence and, ultimately, joy. It is about helping each person become who they truly are by helping them remove that which they are not.
Contrary to what the name, Badass Counseling, may seem to imply, this is not some drill sergeant-type counseling, full of yelling, hard plans, and tough love. Instead, we become our true inner badass by having the courage to look at the deepest questions and problems vexing one's soul. This may sound trivial, even trite, but true Badass work is far from it and far from easy. It's profoundly challenging and profoundly rewarding.
Badass Counseling helps you become who you really are, thereby unleashing your own inner badass.
'Badass Counseling' is based upon several fundamental beliefs. Badass Counseling, as created and executed by Sven Erlandson:
A) Does NOT approach counseling from a medical model, as psychological counseling might. That is, the client is not viewed as sick or bearing a disease, which must be treated or removed so that the client may return to a state of stasis, or equilibrium. Badass Counseling is non-judgmental; only pushing the client to become him-/herself, not who the counselor thinks he or she 'should' be. The goal is not to survive, but to thrive! Thus,
B) The client is viewed as disconnected from his, or her, truest self (the inner voice where the individual's voice becomes one with the voice of the Universe/God/Higher Self), which is innately good, wonderful, beautiful, and strong. Thus, the depression or anxiety he/she is experiencing (and spiritual problems always manifest in one or both of these states, which are, in turn, derivatives of fear, always) is merely a symptom of this greater problem.
C) The goal is not to treat, or remove, the depression or anxiety, but to reconnect the individual with her inner, deepest sense of self, which she may not even know exists; all she knows is that she feels numb or disconnected. When the core problem is addressed, the symptoms begin to fade, often very quickly.
D) Is absolutely rooted in the core belief that all people seek happiness; and the truest and most universal experience of happiness is a sense, or feeling, of aliveness. The goal of life is not a never-ending state of calm or balance, but instead an ebb and flow of peace and exuberance, joy and sorrow, intense passion and casual indifference. The goal of life is to experience it all, not just run from the pain, sorrow, and fear and try to exist in a constant state of fake happy. To become a 'spiritual badass' is to walk joyfully amid the sorrows of the world, to have peace even in the hardest storms, to have a greatly minimized index on the fear meter of life, and to engage life head-on. And as result of this bold living, the spiritual badass experiences the vigor, calm, peace, laughter, exhilaration, and rush of a life well lived.
E) Is also rooted in the belief that the greatest obstruction to happiness and aliveness is fear, specifically the fear of living and speaking one's greatest truth. And, more often than not, the malaise and anxieties of life are the result of either fear of living that truth or inability to connect to one's inner truth. Thus, Badass Counseling aggressively helps the client to create the calm to hear his inner voice (or inner vibe or inner feel), and then conjure the courage to heed that inner voice.
F) Thus, in the end, Badass Counseling is ever engaged in the fight to help the individual become his or her truest self. It is about the development of the individual's relationship with her own self, which has somehow become lost, over the years of her life. The greater the intimacy and courage in this core life relationship, the greater the happiness and sense of aliveness. They are directly correlated. And to cultivate this relationship with the truest self requires identifying and eliminating the fears that obstruct it.
Yes, but still, just put it in the plain terms of the everyday guy: What is Badass Counseling and why the spiritual and soul thing?
The word 'spiritual' has been stolen by the pussies of the world and turned into the thing that women and soft men do. It has become this fuzzy thing that has nothing to do with anything. It's Buddhist monks running around in saffron robes. It's New Agey folk staring into crystals. It's the stuff religion seems to have lost. It's just soft shit.
Badass Counseling is based on the belief that the most powerful people, the most vigorous, the most alive, and the most on-fire people, as well as those who are really giving something back to life and are engaged in making the world a great place and lifting others up are those who have connected to their deepest inner self and are living with the balls necessary to really live their fuckin' truth. And that is no small thing! This is what it means to be spiritual -- to be intimately connected to, listening to, and courageously acting on one's true inner voice. This is true spirituality.
Badass Counseling is based on the rock solid premise that spirit is power (and powerful inner calm).
At the structural level, there is no difference between spiritual counseling and other forms of counseling or therapy you might have encountered. Almost all forms of counseling boil down to the same thing: questions and answers -- talking. Spiritual counseling, or soul counseling, is no different in it's basic structure, just far deeper, far more intense, and it moves much faster!
However, generally speaking, soul counseling addresses not just the psyche but the spirit and soul of who a person is, incorporating spiritual and religious elements, if pertinent, as well as every aspect of the individual's life. Spiritual counseling is founded in the belief that the core questions of life -- questions about God, existence, self, and core beliefs -- are not secondary to questions of family, money, career, and daily life, but in fact supersede and drive those subsequent, everyday life questions and issues. Address the former and the latter will fall into line.
People are never driven by logic and rationale, even though most people will claim they are. In fact, logic and rationale are generally created as a means to support (read 'sell') one's core beliefs and fears. (This is not far afield from how much of scientific research is conducted: hypothesis/unproven belief is followed by research which creates a logic, or mental framework to support/prove/disprove the original belief.) People are always driven by their core beliefs and fears. Thus, to really enact change in a person's life is not to attempt to change the behaviors, per se, or even the principles supporting the behaviors. Instead, to enact the deepest and most lasting change requires drilling down to find, identify, pull out, and replace existing beliefs and fears that are either non-operational or, more likely, destructive to the operating system they are propelling.
Badass Counseling is rooted in the belief that total self-interest is no more the natural human state than is total self-sacrifice. Instead, our happiest and most alive state is one of ebb and flow between full self-expression and service of humanity. Thus, Badass Counseling, isn't trying to tell you what to be, but is trying to help you become the fullest expression of your truest self -- your giving side and your taking side, your electric side of self-expression and your vigorous side that loves serving others, as well as your side that just needs to recharge your batteries in your own ways that are important to you, even if they seem selfish to others. The goal is not for the counselor to tell you who to be, but to ask the questions that help you articulate who you really are, and then to give you the courage to live out that truth.
Badass Counseling gets rid of the crud that has been blocking your life for decades. It then leads you to your real self, then pushes you to have the courage to live that life, which is what you know you most want, deep down.
Who is Badass Counseling for?
It is true that Badass Counseling has effectively changed the lives of all types of people, over the last 20+ years and can likely effect serious big changes in your life.
But, yes, Sven Erlandson and Badass Counseling work best with three types of people:
1. People on the cusp of change -- that is, people who are so fed up with their lives that they absolutely ache for change. Sven brings a nearly instant clarity and insight that these types have been longing for, for years, even decades;
2. People who have tried every other option and therapist, yet keep coming up empty -- people for whom NOTHING seems to work. These are usually the clients who benefit most from Badass Counseling, for Sven can accomplish breakthroughs and life-changes that most therapies and therapists are utterly incapable of;
3. Intense people. Stockbrokers, athletes, artists/dancers, fighters, investors, execs, the edgy, inventors, square pegs everyone is trying to fit into round holes, etc. These personality types easily identify Sven as one of their own and instantly trust him, trust that he's not trying to tamp them down, but instead unleash and focus them.
What about Badass Counseling for couples and marriages?
As was written in Sven Erlandson's last book, I Steal Wives: A Serial Adulterer Reveals the REAL Reasons More and More 'Happily Married' Women are Cheating, the goal of Sven's marriage counseling is not to save the marriage. The goal is to save two individuals and take them beyond 'saving' and surviving to a state of thriving, as individuals. Only after each has begun to thrive, as an individual living his/her truest self, can they then answer the question, Is this the person I want to spend the rest of my life with?
If the marriage is saved at the expense of the individuals, which is generally what leads to significant marriage problems (that drive people to therapy) in the first place, there will never be peace or joy. The foundation of the marriage is the relationship two individuals have with their own selves, only after which does the relationship between the two people able to be successfully navigated.
Thus, the goal of Badass Counseling for couples is to bring each person to his or her highest truth, and then to help each decide whether that highest truth includes the other person.
But does Badass Counseling really get better results?
Yes, yes, and yes.
Often, the simplest way to determine the effectiveness of any counseling method is simply whether clients report experiencing greater happiness, greater joy, and greater energy. Badass Counseling clients, again and again, report increases in all these metrics.
A second way to determine the caliber of counseling results is whether the client feels the need and/or desire to get more counseling/therapy. Badass Counseling clients regularly report that they don't feel the need for more and more and more counseling. Occasional 'check-ups' are common among Badass Counseling clients, particularly when new or significant roadblocks or hardships are encountered. But quickly the ship gets righted and the client is back on his or her way, doing great.
...And not only better results but quicker results:
The most startling aspect for many clients is that Badass Counseling does not usually go on and on, for months and years. This is certainly an option for those who desire it, but many find it to be unnecessary, beyond occasional check-ups, because the insights, clarity, changes, and new courage come so quickly. One of the great thinkers and spiritual counselors of all time, Carl Jung, believed that radical personal change can come quickly, if the revelation or insight is penetratingly deep -- the deeper the truth, the faster and more powerful the transformation.
Many Badass Counseling clients experience significant change in the very first session. For many others, significant change comes in the first or second week.
It must be understood, unlike most therapies of other stripes, Badass Counseling does not try to build a dependency upon the therapist. That is precisely the opposite definition of being a spiritual badass and living a spiritually powerful life. Because the goal is to tune the individual into his or her own deepest inner voice and give him or her the courage to live that truth, the Badass Counselor is forever nudging the client out of the nest -- the goal being the ability to stand on one's own as a fully in-tune and truth-living individual.
"Sven, I've thought more about our phone conversation, this past week. Y'know, I've always thought my fear in relationships was abandonment. Fear that the person I love will give up on me. But the real issue is that I fear that person 'will not love me for who I am, ME.' You were right. YOU WERE RIGHT. It's like you say, really everything does first boil down to my relationship with myself. This is BIG stuff!" -- Wren, 41, Marketing Director, Chicago
What is your rate?
Because Badass Counseling goes very deep and moves very quickly, in most cases the overall amount of money spent on Badass Counseling radically differs from that spent on normal counseling with a mainstream therapist. The rate is standard for the New York City area, but the results are greater and the time is a full hour, not just 50 minutes, which is what most therapists offer. So, because sessions are ten minutes longer, that means that basically every sixth session YOU ARE GETTING ANOTHER FULL SESSION FOR FREE; and that's another full-hour session free, not just 50 minutes, simply because I believe an hour means an hour!
Also, Badass Counseling is designed to not drag on for months and years, as with most therapists. Therefore, the client ends up saving a great deal of money. Most clients do occasional check-ups rather than ongoing work, simply because I get quicker results and am counseling people to be able to stand on their own.
As mentioned above, all first sessions are a mandatory minimum three hours, up to a maximum six hours. The 3-hour first session is required (and longer is recommended, but not required) simply because it is usually at the end of the first hour that the client finally becomes comfortable and things start to really click.
Core rate is $250/hour. No insurance accepted. Sliding scale to $140/hour for those struggling financially and for war veterans.
Again, Sven works deeper and faster than most therapists. Most clients do an initial 4-6hour session, follow up once or twice per week for a month or so, then just come back every few months or a few times a year to get back on track or when going through a particularly confusing time. Also, Badass Counseling provides full hour-long sessions, so the overall cost is far less than with other counselors, clergy, therapists, etc.
Additionally, Sven is the only counselor to require every client to submit a full autobiography before the first session. As part of working with Sven the client gets a counselor who walks into the first session with full fluency in his or her life story, rather than a therapist who charges for several sessions while still learning the client's story...and all the while the therapist charges the client. There is no charge for Sven Erlandson reading and learning the autobiography before the first session; it is included in the core rate. And Sven walks into the first session fully ready with questions and areas of impact to be discussed. No other therapist offers this!
It is strongly recommended that clients purchase a first session that is longer than three hours. Some of the greatest breakthroughs happen in the fourth, fifth, or sixth hour. This cannot be over-emphasized. Further, most clients experience time passing in Badass Counseling incredibly quickly, while powerful insights continue to seize them. Sven does not generally go longer than 6 hours in a first weekly session. Clients desiring a full-day intensive (eight hours) must schedule for a weekend; this is also true for 3-day intensives, which generally run 20-25 hours, depending on circumstances.
It is also strongly recommended (though not required) that subsequent sessions be two-hour sessions, rather than just one hour long. Again, the best work usually starts to happen at the end of the hour, right when most therapists would be saying, "Time's up!" The greater the investment of time and energy, the quicker the results.
"Though my rate is higher than many counselors, you will spend far less money working with me, because you will spend far less time. A large amount of counseling time is saved by submitting the mandatory autobiography before your first session; and, I simply am much more interactive than 99% of therapists. Therefore, results come so much faster!! I operate from a very different business model from every other counselor. Most try to string you along and milk your pocketbook. My business model is to bring massive success and POSITIVE CHANGE to your life, as fast as possible......knowing that if I do that, you will naturally tell others about the counselor who changed your life! THAT is my business model!" -- Sven Erlandson
*Insurance not accepted.
You do house calls and phone counseling, really?
In fact, most of Sven's clients are not located in Manhattan (main office) or Stamford, or even the greater NY Tri-State Area. Because of a vast readership of his spiritual- and counseling-related books, as well as strong word-of-mouth, over the years, Sven has a client base that extends from China to Great Britain and South Africa to Vietnam, as well as San Francisco to Florida and Maryland to Minneapolis. All of these depend upon the very simple and now common media of phone and Skype (phone is generally preferable to and more effective than Skype).
Completely contrary to common thinking, Sven has found phone counseling to often be more effective than in-person counseling, in no small part because the client can communicate from the comfort and security of familiar surroundings. Also, by phone, the client is not forever trying to read feedback and non-verbal responses. In effect, both client and counselor are able to engage with significantly greater focus.
Also, for those clients in the Tri-State Area who prefer in-person sessions and have physical disabilities, significant time constraints, or other relevant reasons, Sven does visit homes and places of business for counseling sessions with appropriate charges for travel time.
A friend of mine told me about 'intensives'. What exactly are they and do you do them?
A counseling 'intensive' is a counseling session that lasts more than the standard one, two, or five hours, often spanning two or three days. They are generally done on a weekend for a client desiring significant focus from the counselor for larger problems and quicker results.
Badass Counseling clients have flown in from all parts of the country for two- and three-day intensives with Sven. Counseling usually happens in multiple four-hour blocks each day over the course of multiple days. As mentioned above, intensives can be one day long, lasting 8-10 hours, or weekend-long, lasting 20-25 hours.
Intensives get results for couples, families, groups (small and large), and individuals.
Client is responsible for all expenses, including travel, lodging, food, and in-town transportation, as well as in-advance payment for all Badass Counseling intensive hours.
What do I most need to know about Badass Counseling or working with Sven Erlandson?
The effectiveness of any counseling is rooted squarely in the client's trust of the counselor. Fact. After that trust, effectiveness is determined not just by a therapist's knowledge or even years of experience, but ultimately in their cultivated ability to look inside, see the cancer afflicting that person's spirit, excise the spiritual tumor, and then create new infrastructure and courage for that person to engage life in a new way.
What makes Sven Erlandson qualitatively different from most therapists, pastors, and counselors is that clients innately trust him. There are a gravitas, a wisdom, and a power to his presence that people often can't explain but simply know in their gut that they trust.
Further, Sven is just really, really good at what he does. His questions take a client to places they have never been or never thought of. His wisdom is compelling. And his ability to truly grasp a person and his or her life situation is unparalleled.
Sven Erlandson and Badass Counseling are precisely the counsel you have been searching for.