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Here you will find some resources to help you on your journey to coaching, anger management and a purpose driven life. 

By Tanya Heasley, Jan 10 2019 04:39PM

I am often asked - what is positive psychology, what is a Coaching Psychologist, and how can they help me? Therefore - I thought I’d write a brief summary to define these disciplines and then explain how my approach can increase your emotional well-being and life satisfaction.

In the beginning, when I first studied Psychology (many moons ago), I was taught that psychology is a theory-based scientific study of human behaviour. In other words, psychological theories use a fact-based framework for describing a phenomenon. Not only does this sound almost oxymoron, but also a rhetoric of science - how can something be a theory, and factual? However, that’s a whole other conversation.

Meanwhile, for the purpose of this post, I’m sticking with defining the following two methodologies/approaches: positive psychology and coaching psychology. Positive psychology is ‘the scientific study of positive human functioning and flourishing on multiple levels that include the biological, personal, relational, institutional, cultural, and global dimensions of life’ (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). It has been defined as the scientific study of what makes life worth living (Peterson & Park, 2014) and the scientific study of what goes right in life (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). In other words, positive psychology discovers and improves what’s right about you (Gable & Haidt, 2005), rather than trying to ‘fix’ what might be wrong.

I use positive psychology as an approach to help you discover a greater version of you, and to enhance your life satisfaction. This is achieved through using positive psychology interventions (PPI’s) as a methodology. A PPI uses the science of psychology in practical ways that can support you in achieving success and well-being in your personal and professional life.

Positive psychology has similar constructs to coaching psychology in that they both have applications of psychological and behavioural science in practice. For instance, coaching psychology has been defined as the ‘systematic application of behavioural sciences to the enhancement of life experience, work performance and well-being of individuals, groups and organisations’ (Grant, 2007a, p.23). Furthermore, the application of coaching psychology is in evidenced-based coaching and can also be defined as ‘the enhancement of well-being and performance in personal life and work domains underpinned by models of coaching grounded in child and adult learning or psychological theories and approaches’ (adapted from Grant and Palmer, 2002 as cited in Palmer & Whybrow, 2008). Conversely, coaching psychology could be viewed as a positive psychology intervention.

Nevertheless, the similarities in the definition of both disciplines point to a clear link that both approaches focus on the cultivation of optimal human functioning and the enhancement of well-being. Moreover, research shows that coaching psychology and positive psychology interventions enhances well-being and decreases depressive symptoms (Sin & Lyubomirsky, 2009), as well as cultivate positive feelings, behaviours and cognitions (Sin & Lyubomirsky, 2009).

In view of this, my role as a Coaching Psychologist (or Positive Psychology Coach) is to help you discover and enhance your inner strengths and virtues, through using the science of well-being and research-based assessments and interventions, to cultivate and develop positive emotions within you and to improve your life satisfaction. In other words – I can help you to discover your purpose, cultivate inner-peace and develop your potential.

Final note - the field of coaching is still a relatively new profession, and is currently unregulated; meaning, anyone can call themselves a coach and work as one - without any training or experience. Therefore, it’s important to consider the benefit of using a Coaching Psychologist, or Positive Psychology Coach/Practitioner rather than an ordinary coach for the following reasons: we are trained in either psychology or positive psychology, our approach stems from psychological theory giving us a greater understanding of human motivation, behaviour, learning and development, as well as research-based information in the field. In other words, we know what works and for who. In addition – for those of us who have conducted clinical work, will have a far greater depth of one-on-one experience than most other mental health professionals.

Gable, S. L., & Haidt, J. (2005). What (and why) is positive psychology? Review of General Psychology, 9, 103–110

Grant, A.M. (2007a). Past, present and future: The evolution of professional coaching and coaching psychology. In S. Palmer & A. Whybrow (Eds.), Handbook of coaching psychology: A guide for practitioners (pp. 23–39). Hove, UK: Routledge.

Grant, A. M., & Palmer, S. (2002). Coaching psychology. Workshop and meeting held at the Annual Conference of the Division of Counselling Psychology. Torquay, UK: British Psychological Society.

Palmer, S., & Whybrow, A. (2008). Handbook of coaching psychology: A guide for practitioners. New York: Routledge.

Peterson, C., & Park, N. (2014). Meaning and Positive Psychology. International Journal of Existential Psychology & Psychotherapy, 5(1)

Seligman, M. E., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positive psychology: An introduction. American Psychologist, 55(1), 5-14. doi:10.1037//0003-066x.55.1.5

Sin, N. L., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2009). Enhancing well-being and alleviating depressive symptoms with positive psychology interventions: A practice-friendly meta-analysis. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 65(5), 467–487. doi:10.1002/jclp.20593.

By Tanya Heasley, Oct 29 2018 03:34PM

I want to briefly discuss why reading a book on anger management does not make you an expert in anger. Nor will it equip you to teach others how they can manage their anger either. If all it took was to read a book on a certain subject to make someone an expert in that subject, then there’d be more medical doctors, and specifically surgeons, in the world.

Obviously, just reading a book doesn’t equip a Doctor with the technical skills or knowledge to perform surgery. They require years of extensive study on different procedures; pass multiple exams to prove they have the knowledge; acquire a considerable amount of hands-on practice, and more practice; then obtain supervision; and even more study, until eventually they’re competent and can pass a final exam to qualify them as a Surgeon. Therefore, reading a book on anger management (especially a self-help book) will not properly equip someone to manage their anger better.

Although a self-help book on anger management can inform you about your anger and give you some strategies on how to manage it better, it doesn't provide you with the depth required to truly explore what your anger is telling you, how it can benefit you, and why you need it.

In addition, a self-help book only works if you’re reading it from a place of strength, motivation and dedication; with the desire to improve and transform yourself. However, in my experience, I've noticed the unhealthy anger in individuals cause them to take a subjective view on most things (this includes what they’re reading). Plus, they usually give up on the book (and themselves) after a few chapters, especially when they’re not seeing the results, or the changesthey've expected.

It is for this reason that working with an anger management expert (such as myself) is necessary to ameliorate anger. For instance, I have trained as an anger management therapist, I have over 18 years’ experience in anger management, I have a real healthy relationship with my own anger (this is essential when working with anyone in personal development training) and I’ve created an evidence-based anger management programme proven to reduce anger. In view of these fundamental reasons, I am qualified to call myself an expert in anger management.

Final thought – a student driver needs to read a book to learn the road traffic laws, signs and procedures required to drive on the public highway, but to truly learn to drive correctly and safely, they need a driving instructor to teach them the mechanics and manoeuvres necessary to navigate a car on the road properly.

By Tanya Heasley, Oct 16 2018 04:48PM

Here are three considerations to what healthy anger to do:

Being mindful, acknowledging the truth and taking ownership of your thoughts and feelings;

will help you get onto a more productive path to self-freedom.

Being mindful, acknowledging the truth and taking ownership of your behaviour;

will direct you into taking more care of the way you're protraying yourself to others and yourself.

Being mindful, acknowledging the truth and taking ownership of your actions;

will provide you with a sense of freedom rather than remaining in a state of bitterness, blaiming others, holding onto resentment, self-pity and guilt.

By Tanya Heasley, Sep 30 2018 07:07PM

It's not right, it's not OK and it's not acceptable for anyone to hurt another person, especially bullying.

When a child tells you someone has upset them - in whatever capacity, that child is essentially asking you for help. Take a moment to think about how you respond to their concerns. Rather than make statements such as 'just ignore them', or 'you must have done something for them to do that?'. Show that child empathy and recognition and say something more comforting and engaging such as; 'that must be upsetting', or 'tell me more about it'. Let them know you are someone they value, trust and can go to when they feel bullied by someone.

Here's something important to consider - bullying isn't limited to children - it is essentially an action made by anyone who purposely takes the personal power away from an individual; this can be, and includes, a child bullying another child, an adult bullying a child, a child bullying an adult, or an adult bullying an adult.

Essentially, a bully is someone that can cause someone else to do something they don't want to do; a bully can make someone feel inadequate; a bully is someone who ridicules someone else's decisions; a bully is someone who tries to change or control another; a bully is someone who can cause great harm and upset to many.

So, when a child tells you someone is being mean to them - don't be like that bully and keep that child in a place of hurt by telling them 'to stop being a baby and fight back'.

Be a comforting, loving and caring adult, so that child can always turn to you in times of need and eventually grow into a strong, confident, caring and considerate adult.

By Tanya Heasley, Sep 30 2018 07:02PM

Sometimes we seek the advice, opinions or thoughts of those around us – to tell us what we should do (with our own life!!) However, these are other peoples’ lives, thoughts, hopes and dreams; they’re not yours.

We all have value, meaning and purpose in life. The key is knowing, understanding and accepting this. However, this is not easy if you’re experiencing an ‘existential crisis’.

So - what’s the point in it all? Why are you here?

Who says they’re right? How do you know if they’re truly concerned with your actual best interest? Who’s responsible if their advice is wrong?

Taking ownership of your choices and decisions is powerful and brings freedom. How to achieve this sometimes requires the supporting role of a professional life/wellbeing/health coach. Considering there are a variety of coaching approaches and methods, it can be difficult to ascertain what approach suits which individual. Furthermore, if a coach doesn’t fit the coachee, and vice-versa (in other words – click with each other), then this can affect the coaching relationship: an important factor for supporting an individual in reaching their goals, moving forward, and gaining life satisfaction.

Therefore, in deciding what approach and which coach to use to help you discover your value, meaning and purpose in life and to resolve an existential crisis, perhaps an existential coach would seem more fitting.

Having said this, I invite you to consider transpersonal coaching and work with me. My approach is holistic and focus’ on the body, mind and spirit. Essentially, I help clients liberate their native self, enhance their signature strengths, cultivate a meaningful life and highlight their own purpose.

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