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Life Coaching: Better than Therapy?

After two decades of traditional therapy, one skeptical writer gives it a shot.

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  • Sandra Arduini/Getty Images

    Your body is a template on which you can learn to manage your mind," says my new life coach, Laurie Gerber, as we enter a fitness class to which she occasionally takes clients. Called IntenSati (the word intensity combined with sati, an ancient Indian word for "awareness"), the class is like boot camp—if it were led by Mr. Power of Positive Thinking Norman Vincent Peale. In the back row, I struggle to follow along with the 50 other participants as IntenSati's leader and founder, Patricia Moreno, takes us through a complex sequence: Knee pump, fist jab, knee pump, lunge. "Confusion?" the class demands in unison. "So what!" Fist jab, lunge, leg lift, jump. "Fear? Bring it on!" Squat, straighten, jump, clap. "Failure? Try again!" Next to me, Gerber, a slim, attractive 37-year-old with light blue eyes and a wide, flat mouth, is smiling beatifically and repeating, "I am done complaining! I set myself free!" In front of me, a heavyset man in bike shorts squeezes his elbows together. "I am the change I want to be."

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Life Coaching: Better than Therapy?
After two decades of traditional therapy, one skeptical writer gives it a shot.
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