Life Coaching, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and, Neuro- Linguistic Programming (NLP) can work together in any client situation. They act as tools to help improve and change a person's life. Many practitioners specialise in one specific area, but they can be combined to give the client a more ‘powerful and successful’ outcome and the practitioner a wider range of ‘tools and techniques’ to use.
Like Life Coaching, CBT aims to improve an individual's state of mind, focusing on the here and now, and providing ways to move past issues, and challenges on the way to a brighter future. CBT is about aiding emotional change, and can be very useful in helping a client who is presenting with issues such as anxiety, depression, phobias, fears, and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
NLP too can focus on issues, and aid a client to improve how they think about themselves, and the issues they are facing. The difference with NLP, however, is that it can (but doesn't have to) look at the past, for reasons why a client is going through their current experience.
Many life coaches do not take a client into the past - leaving this to the realms of psychotherapy. Combining Life Coaching, CBT and NLP, we don't have to dig into a client's past, but it might give us an understanding of why a phobia or fear is presenting as an issue.
Take a client who is experiencing ‘anxiety and panic attacks’ after having surgery. NLP can be used to immediately improve how they are feeling as you begin a coaching session. NLP can also soften the memory of the experience, so that it doesn't have as much power for the client. Life coaching techniques can be used to help the client plan to move away from their bad experience, and towards a better future. Planning for change helps the client to take back control of their lives, and to break out of the rut they find themselves in.
NLP can aid a client to have a clear picture of who they want to be. It utilises our representational systems to make our positive thoughts brighter and clearer, while diminishing negative thoughts. Techniques like the ‘new behaviour generator’ and the ‘superhero visualisation’ benefit a client's imaginings of their future.
However, sometimes extra support is needed, and that's where CBT can aid a life coach in their work. Someone who has phobias or fears will not forget them immediately after one session. They need help when they leave the session to cope in their everyday world.
CBT can provide skills and coping strategies, for a client to use while they are dealing with their current issue, but also as coping techniques that might aid them in the future. Techniques like balancing statements, the FEAR mnemonic, distraction methods, looking at the pros and cons, affirmations and activity scheduling, can all be given to the client as 'homework' but actually build up a ‘skill base’ that a client can use at any time in their lives.
Put together, Life Coaching, NLP and CBT, make a powerful mixture for helping people to effect change in their lives. Change that will really make a difference!
By Sarah-Beth Watkins SNHS Dip. (Life Coaching), SNHS Dip. (Advanced Life Coaching), SNHS Dip. (CBT), SNHS Dip. (NLP), SNHS Dip. (Hypnotherapy) and SNHS Higher International Diploma Holistic Therapies
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