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Coping skills... Self-actualization skills... What?!

Many children are not taught sufficient coping skills to deal with their stresses and struggles, and thus they may develop sub-optimal coping skills. Coping skills are ways in which we learn to deal with various stressors, and can be constructive or destructive in nature. People often accidentally use destructive coping mechanisms, like the ones below. Traditional therapy focuses on replacing them with constructive ones as the client seeks to address the deficits of their upbringing.

Negative (destructive) coping mechanisms:

* Substance Abuse

* Emotional eating

* Self-harm

* Compulsive behaviors

* Escape

* Pornography

Positive (constructive) coping skills often addressed in therapy can include:

* Controlled breathing

* Muscle relaxation

* Thought Corrections (systematically correcting yourself when you make inaccurate statements)

* Napping, eating healthy treats, warm showers, and other self-care / self-soothing strategies

Self-actualization refers to the full realization of one's creative, intellectual, and social potential through internal drive (versus for external rewards like money, status, or power). Self-actualization requires mastery of numerous personal and interpersonal skills that can seem extremely complex, but when broken into smaller components, become more manageable (and coach-able). The complex interaction of these numerous skills are the means by which we actualize ourselves and connect to one another as human beings. Professional coaching can offer an efficient pathway towards organizing and enhancing these self-actualization tools. Communication, for example, involves an incredibly complex interplay between each individual's thoughts, feelings, and verbal abilities. In order to make this complex interplay more manageable, we break it down into numerous steps:

* Listen Actively (to Other Person)

* Summarize (Other's Viewpoints and Thoughts)

* Acknowledge (Some Truth in Other's Thoughts)

* Respond with Emotions

* Respond with Thoughts

* Identify Goals of Relationship

* Make Direct Requests (for Collaborative Solutions)

* Decide (to Continue or Exit)

Other self-actualizing tools may include:

* Setting Healthy Boundaries (with Self and Others)

* Behavioral Parenting Strategies

* Mentor Parenting Strategies

* Negotiation (Self-advocacy) Strategies

* Training self to be more flexible...or confident

* Positive Coaching (with Self and Others)

* Mindfulness Skills

Coaching relationships are typically focused on improving the client's life in numerous ways. While therapy often addresses symptoms and deficits, coaching focuses on supercharging skills towards maximal achievement of big picture goals. The chances are that in the pursuit of your goals, there will be some personal coping skill, interpersonal skill, or self-actualization skill that will advantage you towards those goals.

ernest ellender phd
Get ahead and achieve goals with Life Coach Ernest Ellender PhD

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