By: Lisa Lukianoff, Psy.D.
It's a choice whether or not to allow self-sabotaging behavior trump personal success. An experienced coach, therapist, or psychological consultant, one who is trained in psychodynamic techniques, can help clients improve inter-personal skills. The scope of this brief examination is to explore these sometimes self-sabotaging and unconscious underpinnings involved in the executive coaching process.
The relational aspect of executive coaching involves psychodynamic aspects that warrant skill thought and interventions to facilitate greater self-awareness for the client. Unconsciously motivated behaviors are viewed from an object relations perspective, looking at conflicts and attachment styles, and psychodynamic interpretations and interventions. Kilburg (2004) comprised a list of notable behaviors that benefit from psychodynamic interventions. A few these include situations where the client is under-performing professionally, despite an interest in improvement, experiencing disruptive emotional reactions, and experiencing problems with relationships, both at work and at home, (p. 252).
Using psychodynamic thought and technique after an initial assessment phase and for ongoing sessions can be useful when these dysfunctional behavioral patterns emerge. Among the benefits of using psychodynamic (influenced) interventions, Kilburg (2004) presents in his findings that they may help with the following desired improvements, (p. 253):
2. Emotional containment and management
3. Executive performance
4. Behavioral flexibility and creativity
6. Psychosocial development
7. Professional relationships
8. Intimate relationships
9. Mental abilities
10. Capacity for spiritual growth
(The next writing in this series will begin with a chart Kilburg (2004) developed describing developmental conflicts and general attachment patterns and descriptions.)
Kilburg, Richard R. (2004). When Shadows Fall: Using Psychodynamic Approaches in Executive Coaching. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research. Vol. 56, No. 4, pp. 246-268. DOI: 10.1037/1065-92220.127.116.11.
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