Setting goals: Identify with your saboteur in psychotherapy

Identify your saboteur in psychotherapyThis past weekend we had a two day experiential workshop on the psychology of accomplishment, a mandatory part of the diploma course. However, you do not need to be a student at the CCPE in order to attend a weekend course like this.  If you wanted to attend you could come as a member of the public and sit with diploma students.

The power of the weekend was to identify the role of my inner critic, the little voice that says ‘give up now’ and to strive to continue to manifest the qualities to continue to boost my confidence, belief and esteem.

I had previously attended a life coaching course in London which was run by the Coaching Academy.  That particular course had incorporated a lot of NLP tools and techniques such as the timeline exercise, the GROW model, the comfort zone exercise and the Wheel of Life exercise.  I was, therefore, intrigued whether there would be much overlap with the transpersonal psychotherapy view of goal setting.

The weekend comprised of the following:

  • The art of choosing a goal.
  • What stops us from choosing right goal and why we fail to achieve the goal.
  • The role of concentration, meditation and dreams in achieving our goal.
  • Planning, motivation, sacrifice and completion.
  • The role of perseverance and how to develop it.

The Elements Model in its current form is unique to the CCPE‘s transpersonal approach to understanding personality as ‘an individual’s unique expression of the divine’; its focus is unfolding qualities (Gruber, 2007). The aim of the Elements Model is to bring balance and harmony between the elements.  As a result, a lot of the work in therapy is to assess where your potential is in relation to the elements.

Accomplishment has three paths:

1) The path of the Master: This is the striving for expertise and reward. The master will employ a force of will to make things happen.

2) The path of the Saint: This can manifest as a commitment to a cause such as to an environmental cause such as Greenpeace. There is an inner discipline and self sacrifice.

3) The path of the Prophet: One can have power but also have humility to not abuse the power.

Earth qualities

Earth qualities can involve conserving, guarding, control, patience, perseverance  and thoroughness. For instance, do you have the patience to see a goal through to the end and persevere? Do you tend to cut corners and often fail to have the thoroughness to maintain energy levels? Can you protect your idea or goal from other people’s negativity?

Water qualities

Water qualities involve the ability to sacrifice, engage with creativity and emotion (love). These qualities are crucial in seeing your goal through.

Fire qualities

Fire qualities include having hope, faith, courage, independence, power, self-confidence and dedication.  These qualities help develop your initial idea and bring it into reality. You need to engage your fire in order to win others over and to make things happen.

Air qualities

Air qualities include the ability to discriminate and concentrate as well as having the wisdom, clarity and intuition to both set and achieve goals.What are my strengths and weaknesses?  Richard Branson is apparently very good at knowing what he does not do well. He will delegate those things and stick to what he knows best.

we might all have these qualities but they are

often hidden

In transpersonal psychotherapy there is a process of transformation through manifesting qualities. We might all have these qualities but they are invariably hidden, latent or undiscovered.  A transpersonal psychotherapist will use integrative tools and techniques and borrow from the Psychodynamic, Humanist and Existential schools in dealing with our psychological wounds and in uncovering potential.

Real power is a balance between your powerful energy and intelligence. Setting a goal was similar to the SMART principles of the GROW model in that your goals need to be achievable, measurable and realistic.

there are not many shoulds in psychotherapy

but here is one here

There are not many shoulds in psychotherapy but our hand-out referred to once you having started upon the path to your goal, you must attain it. The hand-out also stated that we should not change goals until they are finished, otherwise it would represent an incomplete Gestalt. Leaving a goal unfinished is damaging to the psyche whereas accomplishing a goal gives you power and confidence.

The process of accomplishment is always more important than in actually achieving the goal.  Our nature influences our goals.  Do you know yourself?  Our accomplishments are largely a reflection of how we feel about ourselves. We are far more capable than we imagine. The goal is psychotherapy, after all, is to accomplish mastery, to become the person we can really be.

 to know our old negative life scripts is to free up choices and give us freedom

Where do we trip ourselves up?  Where is the limiting belief? Have we located our saboteur?  To know our old negative life scripts is to free up choices in the present and give us freedom.  Our old psychological wounds need healing, just like scar tissue needs healing.

I got in touch with my saboteur through meditation and reflection in my workshop and I was given the above image (which I drew badly).  The remedy for recovery is consciousness.  The word recovery comes from the old latin word recupaire, meaning to recuperate and to regain consciousness

The tools and techniques on the planning and the execution of the goal were akin to the guidelines as set out in any coaching text book and echoed the thoughts of any personal development coach such as Brian Tracy or Tony Robins.  Examples would be the need for proper planning, action, self discipline, time management, self discrimination and self confidence.  There were also elements of NLP in imagining and dealing with limiting beliefs.

Where the material differed was in the spiritual aspect of goal setting and in where goals can find us, rather than in us setting the goals.  What is our divine journey?  Where have we set goals that differed from our life scripts?  What makes someone like a highly paid banker decide to quit and work instead with kids, for a fraction of their old salary? Or make a sibling choose a different career from the career which the family have chosen for centuries? These examples might be evidence of people getting in touch with their essence.

I managed to make an achievable realistic goal to be met by November 2013.  So, I am off to start the process …….

See here for a list of future events. Attending a course like this would offer the opportunity to explore whether the CCPE could be the place for you to study, or merely an opportunity for you to work on something purely from a personal development point of view.


Feel the Fear and do it anyway
Brain Tracy talks about keys to success
The Rolling Stones – You Can’t Always get what you want



Review of the free two day life coaching course in London

At the weekend I attended a free two day course in London on life coaching which was run by the Coaching Academy.  I have always been curious about the synergy between coaching and counselling/psychotherapy and, therefore, decided to explore what coaching was all about.  

The course promised that I would  learn some coaching fundamentals over the course of two days as well as having the opportunity to practice coaching skills. The Coaching Academy website also referred to the opportunity to be coached by my peers, witness a coaching demonstration and then leave with a series of tools and techniques that would make a significant difference to my life.

there was an absence of hard sell techniques

The venue was the De Vere venues in Portland Place which was very comfortable and more than adequate. I had been skeptical about the content of the course, beforehand,  as I feared that it would be little more than a self marketing exercise for their diploma courses. I figured that as an organisation they would be compelled to push their range of fee incurring courses at every opportunity given that they were taking a massive hit on the provision of free training. They probably have a corporate deal with the venue but even still, the central London location would not be cheap. To my surprise, however, there was an absence of hard sell techniques.  Yes, they mentioned their portfolio of courses on offer throughout the weekend (and by the last session they were really pushing these) but I didn’t feel that their marketing was particularly excessive.

Coaching Academy graduates, we were told, progress to a wide range of future coaching roles.  Numerous graduates set up their own businesses as professional coaches. Pictures of past delegates were plastered around the front of the room like the Colgate kids as they were all smiling with shinny white teeth.

So what did we do in two days?

I liked the format of the course in that it was quite interactive. There was plenty of opportunities for one to one work as well as small group work. We were introduced to techniques and theory, some of which was pretty new to me. If you have personal material to work on then you will welcome the structure of the two days. The other delegates were very receptive to undertake the work and all seemed very friendly.

The facilitators were quite good (I know that sounds so bland) but I liked Ruth Morris and Mike Blissett in that their style was not the kind of high energy presentation that I tend to find annoying.

The GROW Model

A good way of thinking about the GROW Model (Goals, reality, options (or obstacles) and way forward) is to imagine how you would plan a journey. Typically, you would first decide where you are going (which is the goal), and then establish where you currently are (your current reality). To utilise the GROW Model the exercise is then to explore various routes (the options) to your destination. Finally, establishing the will, you ensure that you’re committed to making the journey, and are prepared for the obstacles that you could meet on the way.

Wheel of Life Exercise

The 8 sections in the Wheel of Life represent balance. The sections are health, career, money, friends/family, personal growth, fun, home-life and romance or similar. The wheel contains eight sections that when viewed as a totality represent one way of describing a whole life. You, as coach, or your client may have other labels or categories or may wish to divide friends and family.

The Comfort Zone exercise

Perhaps the first step to moving out of your comfort zone is realising that you are in one. Coaches will often say to do something that scares you every day. The more one can make a habit of pushing o out of our comfort zone, the easier it becomes.

The Timeline exercise

This is essentially an NLP exercise where you imagine that you have the things you aspire to in the future. You set your goals and then imagine that you have achieved them. What are your magical moments?

The aforementioned exercises are useful tools in any context whether in counselling, personal growth, business or social. We also had some tuition on the elevator speech. I digress but did you know that the majority of people sacked at Apple were those unfortunate enough to spend time in the elevator with the late Steve Jobs. Presumably, staffers were unprepared for the need to roll out the elevator speech in response to an intimate moment with their overall boss.

Did I come to a decision as to whether coaching skills may play a role in my future?

By 5pm on the second day of the course did I know what coaching was and what it isn’t? I would have to say yes.  Did I come to a decision as to whether coaching skills may play a role in my future?  I would again say yes.  Was I in a position to make an informed decision as to what the next steps might be if I had coaching in mind? Again the answer is yes. I came away with some useful tips and tools as well as gaining further insight into my own limiting beliefs.

Would I recommend the free two day course?  Yes (in a  word). The combination of networking with like minded people as well as being in an inspiring environment for two days can help with personal motivation for the progression of goals.  Ivan Turgenev once said that if we wait for the moment when everything is ready we shall never begin. Perhaps he had something with that statement.

Other resources

Brian Tracy website

Brian is a motivational speaker and author


Can life coaching be worthwhile?

There are a lot of people who swear by the benefits of life coaching and how life coaches can be their saviour. The stereo type is that life coaches are American and charge loads of cash to tell you the obvious. However this stereotype is probably outdated now that life coaches have become part of the holistic therapy team. For me, life coaches serve their purpose if they essentially help their clients to firstly identify and then break down the negative  thoughts and belief systems stopping them from living the dream. This entails a kind of cbt intervention by assessing and helping overcome the blocks or distortion when seeking to find the dream job or role in life.


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