Case StudiesWhat an interdisciplinary solutionist does
The following case studies highlight some of the work I have done with clients. Names and some details of the cases have been changed to protect the identity of my clients and their businesses. These examples do not constitute all the possible ways I work with individuals and groups, but does provide insight into how I add value.
I help entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations, identify and solve problems through my unique interdisciplinary perspective of psychology, neuroscience, entrepreneurship, technology, and leadership.
Neuroscience for young leaders at an internship
Topic: The Neuroscience of Leadership and Relationships
Problem: The young leadership interns needed to know how to manage relationships and conflict effectively.
Solution: I was able to bring my understanding of human nature, from a neuroscience and psychology perspective, and give the team both theory and practical tools to make them better relationship brokers—after all, leadership is relationship.
The team loved the science behind emotion and gave them a firm foundation on which to better understand their own and other’s emotional responses. The sessions were in a workshop setting and this gave the team and I opportunity to address individual questions and concerns—preferable to just a lecture in which there is not that flexibility to shape the time to best address individual needs.
Presenting memory & epigenetics as part of a wellbeing series of workshops
Client: Community Group
Topic: Memory and How It Shapes Us
Problem: This client was a large church who were running a series on self-development and asked me to bring in some science.
Solution: Memory is everything to us—in a way, we are our memories. I brought to this group an understanding of the mechanisms of memory and a very important concept of epigenetics and the memory in our genes. The group were able to integrate the science of memory into their broader understanding of self-development and who they are—giving them a deeper understanding of how they conceptualize themselves and the world around them.
Participants felt more compassion for themselves and others, while feeling empowered by the hope that neuroplasticity can shape their brain toward a better sense of self and perception of others.
Building a Private Practice
Topic: Building and ideal private practice
Problem: Sarah had not long graduated from her masters in counselling and had some experience with a NGO but wanted to start her own private practice but with little idea on how to go about doing that.
Solution: I worked with Sarah to develop the framework for her practice, getting her into an entrepreneurial mindset, and stepping her through the strategic and practical things that needed to be done to form her ideal practice. We worked to develop her personal brand, extend her reach, marketing and many more elements that go into developing and sustaining a private practice.
Topic: Producing an album
Problem: Kim was a talented singer/songwriter who wanted to create an album of her original music but needed to collaborate with an orchestral arranger.
Solution: I was able to bring all my musical background to bear on the production of this album by offering:
- Orchestral arranging for each song
- Recording of the virtual and real instruments
- Mixing and mastering
- Publishing of the album
- Artwork and website
Dream culture workshop
Client: Community Group
Topic: Dream Culture
Problem: This community group wanted a program to inspire new and creative thinking and to see their members launch out into new ventures.
Solution: I developed a 6 month program around the topic of dreaming bigger—encouraging people to dare to dream about the things they have always wanted to do but were too afraid to step into. The course used psychology, neuroscience, and tools gleaned from experience, to help the class discern what their dreams were and how to go about realizing those dreams.
Presenting core psychological needs to a group of community workers
Client: Community Group
Topic: Psychopathology and Core Psychological Needs
Problem: I had engaged with this group previously as part of a psychological debrief and talk on psychological first aid. Now they wanted to have a deeper understanding of some of the psychopathology they have encountered in their community outreach service.
Solution: Bringing concepts from neuropsychotherapy, I was able to give the group a basic understanding of what the core psychological needs are an how, when these needs are not met, psychopathology can result. I presented a number of psychopathology profiles and how the workers might best interact with such people in a workshop environment.
Coaching a middle aged entrepreneur through transition
Engagement: One-on-one sessions
Problem: Anthony had built a successful national business supporting the mining industry over the past 20 years. Recently, having sold the business, he was in a state of depression and there was tension at home. Anthony initially came to me for psychotherapy because of the depression.
Solution: We were able to clarify where the depression, anxiety and agitation was coming from—a deep feeling of worthlessness. Despite having more money than most people, Anthony was not only bored but also depressed because he was no longer in the active and creative pursuit of a new thing. We went back to his childhood and talked about the things that made him come alive. Having a lot of money was nice but not the thing that gave him a sense of worth—it was the entrepreneurial drive to birth something new and grow it up to be a successful business. There was the fundamental psychological need of orientation and control that was in deficit and he needed to get it back.
Anthony went into R&D mode, looking for the next thing, and just like that his depression started to lift. We had sessions on interpersonal relationships, his marriage, his kids, but with the depression and anxiety lifting because he was again on a ‘mission’, these other things were easier to address.
Coaching construction business owners through a personal & business crisis
Topic: Addiction, working together, business expansion
Problem: David and Pauline were a couple with a construction business that was in trouble. They also had been using recreational drugs and their marriage was on the rocks. They needed to make some changes ASAP
Solution: We were able to work out a strategy to get off the drugs and start working together for both the business and the marriage. We identified the reasons why they started their drug taking and worked through those issues. We also came up with better strategies to get David off the tools and into the role of overseeing operations, doing quotes, and being home for his wife, while giving Pauline the freedom to do the administration in a more autonomous way. The result was a business that started to thrive for the first time and win several large contracts.
Now David and Pauline operate a business that is growing and profitable, their marriage is thriving, and they now have the time, health and energy for their newborn. They still have some staffing issues, which we touch base on now and then, but for the most part they have cracked the code on effective couple management of a business and a family.
Helping a young entrepreneur get off the ground with a start-up business
Topic: Managing resources, relationships, and mental capacity
Problem: Peter was transitioning from an hourly-rate teaching practice to a much broader entrepreneurial idea, but needed some help.
Solution: Peter had a business idea revolving around wine tourism for overseas visitors. Having gained significant connections in the Asian region due to his teaching practice, Peter wanted to amalgamate his love for teaching, wine, and Asians into a tour business down the east coast of Australia. We worked together to come up with a strategy to allocate resources of time, money, and mental capacity around the transition from one career to another, while being mindful of family and other relationships.
I was able to give practical guidance on digital presence, personal branding, psychological positioning, and managing family relations in what was a stressful transitional period. All the aspects of reinventing yourself for the next career, especially an entrepreneurial venture, requires a neuro-psycho-social-spiritual awareness and management. I helped Peter navigate all these areas and was there as an important sounding board for him.
Peter is now working with a foreign culture that he loves, in the country that he loves, with a commodity that he loves. Needless to say he’s loving his job!
Coaching a corporate team leader transition into his own consultancy business
Topic: Being an Essentialist
Problem: Kyle had been a successful team leader, had a background in marketing, and was looking for more given the recent dissatisfaction with his current employer.
Solution: We discussed the unrealistic expectations of Kyle’s workplace, the lack of boundaries, and the impact this was having on him and his wife. We also discussed what truly makes Kyle come alive – and it was something a bit different to his current job, even though he gained a lot of satisfaction out of his current position. Kyle really wanted to be a consultant to come alongside business and help that business become brilliant!
I was able to bring to the table the concepts of “essentialism”, the importance of having a 20% reserve, and what really makes you come alive is the thing that’s likely to make the biggest impact on the planet. Kyle and I had many sessions talking about the transition; how to end the current job well, and the best way to enter the new self-employment situation. Drawing on psychology, neuroscience, entrepreneurship and life experience as a consultant myself, we were able to have valuable discussions about the way forward. Kyle now adds incredible value to business and community organizations.
Coaching an author during her first publishing deal
Topic: Savvy moves with your first book
Problem: Sandra was accomplished in her profession but wanted to branch out as a speaker and had some awesome books to launch her. She just needed some help in the self-publishing vs publishing contract decision.
Solution: Over a period of a year we we discussed different strategies to get published and established as an expert in Sandra’s area of expertise. It was decided that she was better to go with an established publisher and I was able to make the appropriate introductions. I was not her literary agent nor her lawyer, but coach and mentor in the process of getting her flagship book out into the public arena. We discussed aspects of moving into the public speaking arena and consultancy space, helped her set up her first website, and developed promotional material.
Sandra now has a book deal and is making bold moves to start her new career.
Workshoping ideas with a writer/producer to develop a unique production company
Topic: Establishing a new type of production company
Problem: Brenden, a writer/director wanted to try a different sort of production company but needed some collaboration.
Solution: I was able to bring to the table some business and creative ideas to the table in an effort to shape a new production company that would fill a hole in the industry. With an understanding of film and the film industry and the arts in general, I was able to amalgamate that knowledge with my psychology and business sense to help generate new ideas and creative thinking in a highly competitive and high-stakes industry. Working with creatives requires a particular skill-set and understanding of the personalities that are attracted to industries such as the film industry, and I was able to navigate and advise Brenden and other stake-holders toward the creation of a new company.
Coaching a small business owner with staffing and time management issues
Client: Small Company
Topic: Juggling home, work, and life
Problem: Jason and his wife ran a small coffee shop. They needed general guidance for relational issues.
Solution: Jason was working way too much and his wife wanted a more flexible lifestyle. Jason was also having staff difficulties and his default was to always fill in the gap where staff were not pulling their weight. We worked out boundaries for work, staff, and home—all of which had been rather boundless. I taught Jason how to effectively deal with personality clashes and lazy staff and how to manage his own anxiety about the running of the shop and his home life. Much of the difficulties about running the coffee shop went back to Jason’s childhood and the things that shaped him into someone who avoided confrontation and thought working harder than everyone else was the only way to be accepted.
After working through a multitude of personal issues, marriage issues, the shop started to run more smoothly. Jason is much more the manager with the appropriate authority who has the respect and love from his staff. His wife has him more engaged at home and their marriage is doing much better. They still have stressful days with staff and work, but there is much more capacity to manage it now.
Counselling a writer after the death of her husband
Topic: Loss and Grief
Problem: Kate is a fiction writer and blogger who suddenly lost her husband in a car accident. She needed loss and grief counseling.
Solution: As a counselor I was able to be there for Kate as she processed the loss and grief of her husband’s sudden death. He had been the main breadwinner and now Kate had to rely on family, friends and her budding writing career. They had not been married long and had no children, nevertheless Kate had a big vision for them as a couple and now that was all dashed.
We worked through the grief which is still ongoing. We also discussed practical ways forward for Kate in terms of her career. We worked together on the best strategy for her personal brand, digital presence, and making ends meet. She is now working part-time and writing part-time as she builds on the success of her first novel and is negotiating with her publisher about a follow up novel. We continue to talk about heart matters and business.
Coaching a young leader with boundary issues and potential burn-out
Topic: Burning Out
Problem: Michele works with youth in a large organisation that demands too much of her—but she doesn’t know how to say no.
Solution: Michele not only overworks herself in her job but she doesn’t know how to be close to her husband—a deep seated shame keeps a distance between herself and her husband that is masked by joking and avoidance. We worked on the issue of boundaries with work and the unrealistic demands placed upon her—giving her insight into how her nervous system does not operate well under such constant pressure and how this is contributing to her anxiety and depression.
We also addressed the emotional distance between her and her husband and how the learning of the past has created mental schemas that have made her fall into self-defensive postures. Vulnerability is essential for intimate relationships and Michele was terrified of such vulnerability and secretly ashamed of aspects of herself.
We worked though these issue—with Michele by herself and as a couple. Michele is much more assertive at work, with boundaries in place, and is much less anxious and depressed and is doing her job better than ever. At home there is a growing connection between Michele and her husband.
Please email me at matt(@)matthewdahlitz.com (you’ll need to take the brackets out of the address), or use the contact form below.