Oana A. DAVID*1 & Angela BREITMEYER2
1Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
2Midwestern University, Glendale, Arizona, USA
Coaching is a field that has expanded tremendously during the past few decades. Although life coaching presents many similarities to other helping professions, especially with psychotherapy and counseling, it has developed mostly parallel to the psychotherapy arena, often ignoring the foundations and evolution of these fields and reinventing established concepts. Moreover, due to the market pressures, the practice and training in life coaching has often failed to adopt an evidence-based perspective and inform itself from the experience of other twin fields.
The Journal of Evidence Based Psychotherapies (JEBP; formerly Journal of Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapies) was historically interested in the evidence-based knowledge stemming from collateral domains, such as life coaching, and integrating its validated concepts into the coaching field. As such, several papers were published in its regular issues on the topic, following the developments in the coaching domain. This special issue of the JEBP is devoted to life coaching, constituting the publication platform for the researchers and practitioners who presented their research at the inaugural International Congress of Cognitive Behavioral Coaching, organized by the International Association of Cognitive Behavioral Coaching, which was held in Cluj-Napoca, June 12 – 15, 2014, with the theme “From CBT to CBC.”
The various research papers presented at this Congress offered a conglomeration of multiple perspectives regarding the applications of cognitive-behavioral theory in life coaching and the evidence-based stratus of practices in the field, which can be of interest to practitioners, academics and students alike.
This special issue consists of three articles, two brief research reports and an interview. The articles discuss the current status of the life coaching field and its applications for various populations, e.g., couples and children. Two of the articles offer theoretical reviews of the field, while one of them is an original research paper. One of the two brief research papers present the attitudes of practitioners towards the transition from CBT to CBC, while the second focuses on fundamental research for identifying relevant mechanisms involved in work-life balance in the case of individuals who self-identify as religious.
The article section offers both a theoretical perspective on the life coaching field and empirical results of its applications. The very first article by Katsikis, Kostogiannis, and Dryden presents a comprehensive overview of the life coaching field from a Rational Emotive and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy perspective. The article highlights the techniques and models that can be easily integrated and applied in life coaching or coaching delivered in various settings. Future research suggestions and practical considerations are offered both for professionals affiliated with the field of psychology, as well as for professionals active in the coaching field.
The subsequent two reviews focus on the application of life coaching to various populations, e.g., working with couples, children and youth. The second article by Sungur provides a coaching-oriented overview on working with couples experiencing relationship problems. The author adopts a two-fold cognitive-behavioral and systems approach that was effective in working with couples. Thus, specific techniques useful for being integrated into the coaching practice are described, and specific examples are given regarding their application.
The third article by Neamţu and David summarizes empirical research highlighting the efficacy of coaching emotional abilities in youth. The authors are investigating, in a clinical trial, the efficacy of a rational emotive and cognitive-behavioral education program, based on therapeutic stories, in addressing behavioral and emotional problems of foster cared youth. Their results show the program based on cognitive-behavioral coaching strategies was effective for reducing externalizing and internalizing symptoms, as well as negative dysfunctional emotions, and enhancing positive affect of the fostered adolescents. A new instrument for measuring positive and negative mood in children and adolescents based on the binary model of distress is presented in this paper, i.e., the Functional and Dysfunctional Child Mood Scales.
The brief research report section consists of two articles. The first brief research report by Candea, Coteţ, and Matu summarizes a pilot investigation of CBT practitioners’ background, knowledge, training and practices in coaching. There are considerable misconceptions held by practitioners; thus, the review provides an empirical perspective about its current status. Of note are distinctive characteristics of coaching as viewed by CBT practitioners, as well as their knowledge regarding the current regulations in the practice of the coaching profession.
The second brief research report by Cardoş and Mone provides empirical data on the spiritual and work values in the case of religious clients, with relevance for life coaching with religious clients on work-life balance goals. Their results show that while intrinsic religiousness is positively associated with cognitive work values, extrinsic religiousness is negatively associated with affective work values. However, spirituality was not found to correlate with any category of work values, but females were found to report lower levels of daily spiritual experiences and endorse instrumental, cognitive and affective work values. These findings inform best practices for designing coaching programs to enhance work-life balance.
The final contribution to the special issue is an interview conducted by Dr. Arthur Freeman with the editor of this Special issue on the evidence-based status and future directions of the life coaching field.