Life Coaching for Clinicians: General Principles with a Focus on Weight Management

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Co-developed by Claire Dorotik-Nana, M.S. LMFT and Sage de Beixedon Breslin, Ph.D.

This course is not eligible for NBCC credit.

General Course Description

Clinicians today face an uphill battle. While clients often do suffer from a variety of conditions in which psychotherapy can be tremendously effective, often they may want to focus on other, often more tangible, areas of their lives, such as weight loss, career improvement, reputation and impression management, and performance enhancement. And yet, for clinicians trained in helping clients overcome distress conditions, this can often leave them empty handed as to what to offer the client. In this life coaching course, clinicians will learn from the latest research in the fields of behavioral change, positive psychology, and behavioral economics the powerful skills that can be used to improve any area of the client’s life from weight loss and habit change to job performance.

This is an intermediate course comprised of an introduction and four modules. The first module explores the five stages of change and how to identify them, as well as practical skills for working with clients in each stage of change. The second provides a detailed look at the three components of motivation and how they can be used to help increase client motivation. The concept of motivational interviewing is also introduced and demonstrated. The third module introduces the positive psychology model which includes concepts such as learning to think optimistically, using strengths to repurpose adversity, and cultivating the five elements of flourishing. The fourth module delves into behavioral economics to explore why we don’t always make the decisions that we intend to and introduces the concept of commitment strategies as a powerful way to help us make better decisions. Clinicians are then presented with a set of strategy skills for weight management and general coaching they can use with their clients to put commitment strategies to use and help their clients make changes. Additional resources and references are provided for further study, but they are not part of the course.


Educational Objectives:

    This course will teach the participant to

  • Demonstrate why the clinician needs to know about life coaching and how life coaching can benefit the clinician.
  • Define the stages of change.
  • Identify the basic principles of Motivational Interviewing.
  • Discuss how Motivational Interviewing can be used to change client behavior.
  • Integrate a strength-based focus and describe the meaning of flourishing.
  • Characterize the five components of positive psychology.
  • List specific skills to move the client from surviving to thriving.
  • Summarize what commitment strategies offer the client attempting behavioral change.
  • Describe the theoretical premise of commitment devices and how they may be helpful to clinicians and clients.
  • Express knowledge of commitment devices and the ways in which clinicians can employ them to improve the consistency of client behavior.

Course Syllabus:

  • Introduction
    • Why Clinicians Need to Know About Life Coaching
    • How This Information Can Help Clinicians
  • Module One: Stages of Change
    • The Stages of Change and How to Identify Them
    • Assessing the Client
    • Applied Skills for Each Stage of Change
  • Module Two: Motivational Interviewing
    • The Motivational Interviewing Model
      • Understanding the Three Components of Motivation
      • Using Ambivalence to Motivate Your Client
      • Using Change Talk to Promote Commitment
      • The Motivational Interviewing Coach: How Empathy Enhances Change
  • Module Three: Positive Psychology
    • The Positive Psychology Model
      • The Importance of Learning to Think Optimistically
      • How Strengths Can Be Used To Repurpose Adversity
      • Flourishing – PERMA: The Five Cornerstones of Positive Psychology
    • Positive Psychology Skills For Clinicians
      • Attribution Exercises To Boost Optimism
      • Thriving Skills and Exercises
      • Cultivating and Activating Strengths to Propel Performance
      • Growing Positivity
      • Identifying and Generating Engagement and Flow
      • Positive Relationship Exercises and Skills
      • Finding and Activating Meaning
      • Using Small Changes to Create Large Achievements
  • Module Four: Commitment Strategies
    • Theoretical Orientation of Commitment Devices
      • Section One: Limited Resources, Fading Benefits, and Tempting Options
      • Section Two: Plan Now, Impulse Later – Why Two Selves Don’t Agree
      • Section Three: When All is Calm Decisions Are Easy: Hot States and How They Get In the Way
      • Section Four: Uncertain Futures, Performance Focus, and Declining Interest
      • Part Two: To Win the Game, You Have to Know the Rules
      • Section One: That Sneaky implicit Bias and How We Fix It
      • Section Two: The Ten Percent Rule – Making Incentives Work for You
      • Section Three: Commitments, Penalties, and Tying Yourself to the Mast
      • Section Four: What are the Rules Again? Why We Need Referees
      • Section Five: Maintenance Strategies
    • Commitment Strategy & Weight Management Skills For Clinicians
      • Familiarizing the Client
      • Choosing the Strategy
      • Choosing the Incentive or Penalty
      • Identifying A Referee
      • Maintenance Strategies
      • Commitment Strategy Examples
CE Badge Created with Sketch. 10 CE

Cost: $99.00

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