We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Elise Montgomerie a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Elise , thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today Was there a defining moment in your professional career? A moment that changed the trajectory of your career?
My work has always been based on my own life experience. I have found that when someone encounters challenges, they are often times the best teachers. When my son left for college I found myself falling apart. Uncontrollable sobbing, followed by depression. At this time I sought the help of a therapist that specialized in inner child and adoption work. I thought this could help because my daughter is adopted and knew there could be some overlap.
I had been in therapy the better part of my life, with some degree of success. However, I was still crying all the time so I needed something to work better. During the first conversation with my current therapist, I visited little Elise (metaphorically speaking ) and did breathwork. Neither of which I had any idea about. I was desperate and didn’t care if it all seemed a little insane.
Then a few months passed and I noticed I started to feel better, which seemed like a short time in therapy world. As I unraveled my feelings of my first born leaving the coup, I uncovered some pretty traumatic childhood findings. Again, we worked together with ‘Little Elise” all while breathing through the traumas. This work was changing me permanently. It had such a profound impact on me, I started to incorporate inner child and breathwork into my parent coaching. Until then I had an easy step by step roadmap for parents to live the life they wanted with their kids, but sometimes they were stuck and I couldn’t figure out how to help them. Then I added inner child and breathwork into my arsenal. Now I can help parents break through barriers, heal the root cause and then move forward raising their family.
This work is now the focus of my practice. I don’t just coach parents, I help anyone stuck and frustrated. Recently I have held 2 retreats for women focusing on inner child and breathwork with incredible results. My clients are amazing and work very hard to transform their lives. I am grateful for this work not only in healing my life once and for all, but also to be able to provide this extraordinary roadmap for true healing and change to others.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
By the time my son turned 3-months old, my maternal instincts kicked into high alert and had me questioning his behaviors.
Why didn’t he make eye contact with me? When he cried, why did he cry harder, louder and longer than any other child? Why was he not playing with toys that were in front of him? Why didn’t he care about toys and people? Why did he only like vents, fans, and wheels?
There were no answers.
Pediatricians told me to stop comparing him to other children and that he would be fine.
I knew differently.
One day when I was reading, I came across a checklist of traits for autism. If you answer yes to 9 out of the 14, your child is autistic. How could it be so simple to test? But I read the questions and answered yes to nearly all of them.
My heart sank and I was paralyzed.
The overwhelming sense of responsibility washed over me again. What do I do? How do I help my innocent and seemingly perfect child? I researched and found out that my state conducted free tests to determine reasons for which children do not hit milestones. I signed up and was put on a 4-month wait. Then the day finally came for our now 23-month old son to be evaluated.
It was like cheering for a losing team.
You watch and want them to be able to make the basket, score the touchdown, or make the goal but not one can be done. After a grueling 3 hours of watching my child not achieve any of the tasks asked of him, the therapist sat me down and explained that my little baby had PDD: Pervasive Developmental Disorder; it’s on the autism spectrum. The good news is that I was right. Mommies always know their child.
The bad news was I was right. My son was autistic.
I immediately went into SUPER MOM mode, calling anyone and everyone that could possibly help us. Not everyone has that reaction. Some ignore and hope it will go away but it doesn’t.
I had to help my son. He was my responsibility.
I hired a team of therapists with me as the quarterback. I sat in on every therapy session my son has ever had, even to this day. I can’t risk missing important information about my child. So I read every book, knew all the terminology and I sounded educated. The doctors and therapists listened to me because I made it my business to know their business. But this was exhausting. I started boxing as a means of coping. After 40 hours of therapy each week and a screaming child all the time because he was on sensory overload, hitting someone felt really good.
But that wasn’t enough, I was falling apart.
I did everything in my power to try and understand how my son felt. I wanted to get into his world, so I could better help him get into ours. I suffered because no one was taking care of me and without me, the ship would sink.
I wish I had someone who would have told me I was going to be ok, regardless of how my son was doing. He was the sun, moon, and stars to me so I probably wouldn’t have believed it. I took him around the country for every therapy imaginable, but piece by piece, I was losing myself and losing my way. That was when I created me for me. A coach for the parent. Everyone was working with Spencer but no one was helping me. I had always taken the lessons I learned in Spencers therapy and gave my friends advice on how to get their nuerotypical kids to behave. Finally one day my girlfriend said, “Elise, you really need to take all this knowledge and help other families not just your friends.” That night I went home and decided to start my coaching business to help not just families but anyone who felt stuck and had suffered.
Many of my clients come to me after they have tried multiple therapists without any longterm relief or change. My work has branched out into coaching children, college, post college kids as well as adults and couples. I also host retreats specializing in inner child and breathwork to catapult transformation. I teach people to recognize their triggers, provide themselves healing techniques before taking it out on anyone else, then learn proper communication skills to set up appropriate boundaries with people.
I am proud of building my business from nothing. I had no framework of how to help people, I just knew it was my calling in life to provide anyone who suffers my support and knowledge to lead a better more fulfilled life. I have taken every challenge I have had and turned it into a teachable moment for everyone to learn and for that I am the most proud.
What’s been the most effective strategy for growing your clientele?
The most effective strategy for growing my clientele is to always provide them with more than 100% value for their money. They are not just another client. I take extreme care and am grateful that they have chosen me to help transform their lives. I never take it for granted. I check in with them throughout the week if I know they have something stressful coming up. I am available for clients to call me if I am not working with another client for real life emergency calls. By providing all of this, my business has grown 100% by word of mouth referrals.
If you could go back in time, do you think you would have chosen a different profession or specialty?
If I could go back I would absolutely choose this as my profession. Even as a little girl, my family and friends would always come to me for advice. My calling in life is to provide the road map to true healing and transformation through my own hardships, lessons learned and mistakes I’ve made. It would be a shame to waste so much heartbreak and trauma and never help other people along the way.
- Website: elisemontgomerie.com