Allison Parr-Plasha, Life Coach, and Therapist

My life experience has paved the way for me to be a Life Coach and therapist based out of Erie, PA. As the youngest of six in an Irish Catholic family, I had an extraordinary amount of time practicing how to survive in the realm of relationships. When I was a young teen my father was diagnosed with Parkinson ’s disease and a few years later my best friend was tragically killed. These experiences of loss and being part of a family system that became further defined by chronic illness, I was propelled on a journey of self-discovery.

At a young age, I spent twenty-one days out in the woods on an Outward Bound program and in my early twenties traveled solo in Europe for a year. Both of these adventures became significant factors in helping me to discover a sense of “I” after being raised in a tribe.

Following graduation from Michigan State University with a B.A. in Psychology in 1990, I had various jobs including working for Greenpeace for two years as an environmental educator and fundraiser. Four years later I began my graduate studies in social work from Case Western Reserve University and graduated in 1996 with a focus on alcohol and drug addiction.

One month after graduation I married and became, at age twenty-eight, the step-parent of five teenagers. To further define my counseling skills and to also learn how to survive the challenges of my new family system, I participated in an 18-month postgraduate training program from the Gestalt Institute in Cleveland. This incredibly valuable training provided me with the foundation of how I approach all of my work today.

In 1998 I began my work as a college therapist at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College for seven years. Strong mentorship and experience led to tremendous counseling skills practice as well as designing and implementing counseling programs and workshops for the college student population. At this time, my husband Michael Plasha opened up his first yoga studio. Always a teacher and mentor to me, Michael introduced me to hatha yoga with a special interest in Raja yoga (Psychology of yoga). It was during this time that we began integrating our learnings and co-leading workshops locally and nationally.

After years of infertility, Michael and I were led to adopt. After the arrival of our son Saul who was born in Guatemala, I resigned from the college to focus on my training to become a life coach and help raise our son. Shortly after completing certification from The Coaches Training Institute I opened up a private practice and delved into the life coaching model.

For four years I stepped completely away from my role as a therapist and referred clients out who were struggling with issues best addressed with a counselor. However, I felt like I was holding back on providing years of therapist training and expertise. So from 2010 to 2013, I returned to Penn State Behrend part-time while maintaining my private practice. It was during this time period that I was able to reintegrate my role as a therapist and practice extensively the blend of Life Coaching and Psychotherapy that I now offer.

Two years after the arrival of our daughter Tizita, born in Ethiopia, I decided to return to a full-time, private life coach practice. I have a beautiful and spacious office in Erie, Pennsylvania and am blessed to work with clients locally, nationally and internationally. I meet my clients face to face or coach them via phone or Skype. Because of modern technology, I get to visit places like New York City, Spain, and Florida and still get my son to soccer practice on time and my daughter to piano.

My collective experiences throughout my 50 years have led me to my role as a life coach and therapist. I am incredibly passionate about what I do. As my clients move from the life they know to the life they were meant to live, I have the honor to walk with them, offer tools to ease their journey and watch them wake up to their full potential and in the end celebrate with them as they align with who they were meant to be. How cool is that!

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