Coaching is an educational learning process, based on the principles of cognitive behavioural therapy. The concept emerged in the field of sport, then spread to include any field. It addresses people not experiencing psychological suffering in the strict sense of the term.
It is used for achieving objectives and ultimately self-fulfilment by seeking to eliminate internal and external obstacles impeding this achievement.
It can be equated with steering, guidance or monitoring where the coach helps the person develop greater awareness, responsibility and self-confidence.
"Coaching is more about helping people learn rather than teaching them facts" (coaching pioneer Sir John Whitmore).
Any good CBT therapist also helps in the therapeutic process. He encourages the patient to overcome obstacles in order to get beyond his difficulties, but he also seeks the resources and potential to be developed in his patient, helping him as far as possible to achieve self-fulfilment, by undertaking responsible action(s) in accordance with his wishes.
Behavioural therapy is rooted in scientific experiments conducted in the early twentieth century, which updated various different learning mechanisms in animals and humans. It was enhanced over the following decades by the development of cognitive therapy, which focuses on mental processes (thoughts, emotions, feelings), to form cognitive behavioural therapy, CBT.
It is an active therapy, both on the part of the therapist as well as the patient, where the therapeutic relationship is crucial. CBT seeks to update cognitive distortion, acquired throughout life, together with inappropriate and rigid emotional responses, by targeting behavioural changes. Understanding the interaction between thoughts, emotions, feelings, behaviour, consequences and reinforcement is fundamental in terms of this change.
CBT uses different techniques based on its scientific foundation, such as "desensitisation", "exposure", "visualisation", "relaxation", and "problem solving" and many others, the list is long. The basic principle during a therapeutic conversation is "Socratic (disciplined) questioning", which stimulates growing awareness.
The effectiveness of cognitive behavioural therapy continues to be regularly assessed and validated by research.
In the last few years, other approaches have supplemented and enhanced this basic therapy ("the 3rd wave"), including "schema therapy", which is not a separate therapy but is incorporated into the cognitive behavioural therapeutic process.
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Schema therapy consists of updating inappropriate early patterns established wholly or partially subconsciously during childhood, and which have thereafter served as a life-long guideline. Basically, these are adjustment patterns formed during childhood ("survival patterns"), which become inappropriate over the years, and may prevent the person from living his life, or at least from living life to the full. Many cases of depression and widespread anxiety are due to these early patterns, notably of course in post traumatic stress disorder from childhood, but these are by far not all. The person will necessarily manifest different patterns, some patterns being slightly delayed, "compensatory patterns". The different patterns interact and reinforce each other.
Genuine integrative therapy concerns deep therapy, which makes the link between the past and the present, with the aim of breaking patterns that are no longer relevant.
Generally, whether we are referring to coaching, classic CBT therapy or schema therapy (or other current "3rd wave" therapies), it is essentially a highlighting of links. Links to different levels.
Understanding of the links facilitates active work on change and removing limitations, at any level whatsoever. The limitations which prevent us from undertaking action in accordance with what we feel, sense and think in full awareness of the consequences, taking responsibility for our actions, while taking others into account, the external limits and our own limits. This inevitably leads to better self-confidence.