Johanna Lamm is a professional clinical psychologist-turned-life coach who uses an integrative approach in her life coaching practice. Instead of relying solely on the wisdom of traditional psychology, Johanna prefers complementing her knowledge of human psychology with various alternative approaches in her work as a life coach.
These include traditional mind/body practices and body-oriented therapies such as yoga, Pilates, spirituality, wellness practices, mindfulness meditation, and practical problem-solving skills.
Although Jo Lamm’s life coaching practice embraces a range of issues, it primarily aims to improve the quality of her clients’ personal and professional lives. Johanna says her main goal during the sessions is to engage with her clients creatively and thought-provokingly.
She has this as her main goal because she believes that when a life coaching process is conducted, it helps the client realize their true potential and worth as an individual.
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Johanna Lamm and the Importance of Books in Her Life
In an interview, Lamm was asked about her most recent purchase that helped her business, and it was reading books. She enjoys reading books by Pema Chodron, the American Tibetan Buddhist nun, and other books by various spiritual leaders and philosophers.
Lamm said that being an adamant reader, her books happen to be her most valuable and significant investment. The books inform her work and act as her constant source of inspiration.
But more than that, they serve to broaden her perspective, which again is crucial in her role as a life coach since a broader perspective means that she can genuinely empathize with her clients who come from various walks of life.
Books Seminal to Lamm’s Development
In answer to the staple question of business books that have inspired her in her journey as a life coach, Lamm said that she is not much of a “business books” reader.
However, she added that she read many motivational books, especially those related to Eastern thought and self-study. A list of Jo Lamm’s favorite books provides valuable insight into why she chose to leave her former career as a clinical psychologist to become an independent life coach.
Her favorite books are “Full Catastrophe Living” by Jon Kabat-Zinn, “The Body Keeps the Score” by Bessel Van der Kolk, and Resma Menakem’s “My Grandmother’s Hands.” All three books directly relate to Johanna Lamm’s work as a life coach and her outlook on life. One can safely conjecture that they all played an essential role in her decision to turn herself into a life coach and a life coach who believes in pursuing a holistic approach to healing.
A brief description of the books mentioned will help make this point clear.
“Full Catastrophe Living” is a well-known and much-revered book among all practitioners and proponents of mindfulness meditation and is also a pioneering book in the field. The book describes the now-famous MBSR (mindfulness-based stress reduction) program created by Kabat-Zinn in 1979.
As for Van der Kolk’s book, everybody regards it as pioneering work in trauma research and therapy. The book describes how trauma stays stored in the body and affects brain development, memory, and perception.
The book advocates novel approaches to address trauma using traditional mind/body practices and different body-oriented therapies. The book mentions that trauma treated in this manner builds resilience in the body.
The treatment goes far beyond joint symptom relief and helps the patients connect with their vital energy. These two books relate directly to Johanna Lamm‘s preoccupations as a clinical psychologist specializing in trauma.
So does the third book on the list, “My Grandmother’s Hands.” In this book, author Resmaa Menakem addresses the topic of racial trauma in America. The book describes how the consequences of racism continue to live in our bodies—in our blood, bones, sinews, and skin. It advocates creative healing methods that include exercises, movement rituals, and more.
In addition to dealing with the core subject of trauma treatment, the book also touches on one of the critical preoccupations of Johanna Lamm, namely racism and racial discrimination. It is important to note that Lamm harbors an excellent zeal for social justice and human rights issues and is attached to several charitable social empowerment organizations like Her Purpose and Humanize My Hoodie.
She also reveals during the interview that she makes it a point to read all major works by BIPOC authors to further her understanding of different perspectives and points of view. As for Manakem’s book, we can again safely assume that Lamm’s interest in mind/body exercises (she is currently pursuing a course on teaching Pilates) must have been primarily influenced by the healing strategies advocated in the book.
In addition to the above, another book that Lamm mentions as her favorite is Ernest Becker’s “The Denial of Death,” a highly complex book that argues how our knowledge and subsequent denial of our mortality can turn pathological and explain many of the common psychological disorders.
Why Johanna Lamm Considers Books to Be Her Most Important Investment
From our above discussion, it is not difficult to see why Lamm considers books the most valuable investment in her professional journey as a life coach. Of course, beyond book knowledge, her own life experiences (her “experience in the trenches,” as Lamm puts it) have undoubtedly played a crucial role in shaping her personal and professional identity.
For example, her struggles dealing with issues of anorexia during her teenage years right through to adulthood or the difficulties she had to face growing up in an alcoholic family have been pivotal in her journey and evolution as an individual. Again, particular frustrations she had to deal with in her former role as a clinical psychologist have been instrumental in her decision to turn herself into a life coach.
Apart from that, she also had to make considerable investments to gain several certifications (wellness coaching, spiritual coaching, life coaching, yoga teacher certification, and more) necessary to enrich her life coaching process. Still, the very decision to pursue these certifications and training courses must have been informed by her knowledge from the books.
The latter must similarly have illumined her negative personal experiences that made her perceive them not as personal accounts of misfortune but as part of a more extensive and general social ill. For a person like Johanna Lamm, always intent on educating herself and broadening her horizon, there could have been few substitutes for books.