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Cynthia Loy Darst: Inside, Outside, All Around Your Life

Cynthia and colleague Yuri Morikawa teaching in Japan

Cynthia Loy Darst knows a lot about roles. Which stands to reason. She used to be a professional actress. In fact, it was when she was studying theatre, that she discovered the seeds of what was to become the day-long workshop she’s bringing to Vancouver on Friday, March 12th

A Master Certified Coach and senior leader for the Center for Right Relationship, Darst created Inside, Outside, All Around Your Life to give people a chance to explore how they want to occupy the various roles they play in their lives.

“It’s designed for anyone who’s curious about what it is to be human,” she says. “Professional coaches and therapists have gotten bucket loads, as well as people to whom personal growth is new. It’s for anyone who is willing to play. And it’s a fun introduction into relationship coaching.”

“We tend to go on automatic pilot when we relate to people,” explains Darst. “We don’t realize that we have been making choices along the way about who we are. Let’s say John, is ‘studious and intense’—Susie is ‘a little ray of sunshine.’ Those descriptors come about because of choices we made when we were children. We sometimes don’t realize we can assume anything other than those unconscious roles.”

While in drama school at the University of California, one of her professors began to explore character through the work of Eric Berne, author of I’m OK; You’re OK and The Games People Play.

“I was in my early 20s,” says Darst. “I had never in my life thought about ego states. Seeing a clear distinction between child or critical parent or adolescent gave me a frame to understand characters in a much richer way.”

At one point, Cynthia Loy Darst played the lead role in Marsha Norman’s Getting Out, a play about a woman who is being released from prison and has to make a life for herself. The character is actually played by two actresses, the one coming out of prison as an adult, and the angry adolescent who was sent to prison. Darst’s role. A great opportunity. 

The problem was everyone knew Cynthia to be sweet, playful, and kind.

“So I had to find a part of myself that was pissed off and ruthless and would do malicious things to people. Once I understood the ego state, it gave me access to that kid,” she says.

After working as an actress in New York for a time, Cynthia found herself drawn to coaching, in those days a new profession. She never forgot Berne’s work and kept looking for ways to combine the two approaches. It wasn’t until she discovered the work of colleagues Faith Fuller and Marita Fridjhon, that Darst found the missing link.

“Eric Berne’s work is brilliant—and limiting,” she explains. “Everything had to fit into pre-assigned roles.” In coaching her clients, she found that “sometimes the part of self someone was exploring wasn’t even a human being, much less an ‘ego state.’ In a coaching stance, we are not going to pre-ordain where a client goes or what she discovers when she gets there. We follow and listen and get it from the client.

“I’m always blown away at what people discover. People find parts of themselves—it’s like whoosh! Where did you even get that? Wow! I love working with other people to become curious about themselves in ways that are hard to do alone. It’s fun.”

Besides fun, participants can look forward to “a lot of exploration, a lot of physical movement.”

And—most important—awareness.

“When you’re aware of your behavior, you’re more likely to have choice,” she says. “This work creates subtle and dramatic shifts in relationships--challenging or otherwise. And if you’re feeling the least bit bored, this can put new wind in your sails.”

To register for Inside, Outside, All Around Your Life, call the Center for Right Relationship at (866) 435-5939 ext. 11. On Saturday-Sunday (March 13 and 14th) Darst will be teaching Organization and Relationship Systems Coaching Fundamentals. For more information, visit:



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