The Relevance of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in Coaching
Whilst counselling or therapy of any form and life coaching are quite separate forms of professional support, the origins and learning from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) are often relevant to all.
The American psychologist Dr Albert Ellis who founded Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy, the first of the Cognitive Behavioural Therapies, gained his direct inspiration from the ancient Greek philosopher Epictetus.
Of particular relevance was: “Men are disturbed not by events but by their opinion about events.”
In brief, CBT looks at how to manage problems by changing our thought processes and thereby our behaviour. In coaching, this too becomes relevant. Coaches need to understand how their clients encounter and view the world around them.
As we know, we all react differently to situations. How we act often depends on our ingrained belief system and how we view ourselves and our surroundings. If our interpretations are misjudged, unhelpful to us or illogical, our personal wellbeing will suffer.
It is so important to remember that our beliefs are thoughts and ideas that are no longer questioned. They have the power to create or destroy. Every thought, action or expectation is a direct result of our beliefs. So, if our beliefs (and thereby our thoughts) are limiting and negative, particularly about ourselves, we need to be able to challenge these. As difficult as it may seem, we absolutely have control over what we believe and therefore what we think and how we behave or react.
If our beliefs aren’t positive, we need to break our cycle of destruction. "I’m too ugly/unattractive/unsuccessful/stupid or lazy" for example, or whatever other detrimental way we describe ourselves can only be unhelpful and harmful.
(Here’s a question relevant at this point: what if your ‘ugliness’ or ‘stupidity’ or ‘laziness’ was actually your safety net (or excuse) not to do things or be where you want to be? Perhaps it’s worth reflecting.)
Can we better understand and then challenge our beliefs so that they do not continue to be a fixed, detrimental part of us? We can indeed! It requires effort and time, devotion and strength, persistence and desire but we absolutely can. We can look for the positives in ourselves and re-enforce these affirmations.
So instead, let’s feed ourselves good words: I am happy, energetic, confident, attractive, intelligent, hard-working, successful, funny, clever, loyal, generous, thoughtful, kind, entertaining, articulate, friendly, good company...the list is endless. Find your strengths and your skills, your value base and your successes. Write them down, enjoy being who you are, not who you’re not! Challenge your way of thinking and enjoy living the difference.
Let’s pave our way to a new bright optimistic future based on changing the way we think to positive next steps. Let’s achieve success in whatever area of life we desire.
Coaching is a forward focused, action orientated process. The learning of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy around changing our way of thinking is often a great starting point to a better future.
You can do it. You absolutely can! You just need to believe you can. Work with a Coach if you need some help.
An exciting journey lies ahead.
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About Sue MacGillivray
Sue MacGillivray is a well-established, extensively experienced and highly regarded accredited Glasgow-based life and business coach. She is passionate about people and supporting them to be their best self. Along with her private practice, she is a corporate consultant and a regular media contributor. She also loves butterflies!