Theory informing everyleaf
The coaching, mentoring and facilitation offered by Anna draws on a number of different theories, research and schools of thought. They form the basis of her practice and provide an evidence base to work from.
These are listed as follows:
Benefits of Coaching and Mentoring
‘The common thread uniting all types of coaching & mentoring is that these services offer a vehicle for analysis, reflection and action that ultimately enable the client to achieve success in one more areas of their life or work.’(https://new.coachingnetwork.org.uk/information-portal/what-are-coaching-and-mentoring/)
‘Professional coaching can be highly effective in those who are at risk from chronic illness or those who already have a condition such as type 2 diabetes or heart disease as long as they are emotionally healthy , cognitively intact and willing to use the services of a professional coach.’ (Ann B. Hamric, Charlene M. Hanson, Mary Fran Tracy, Eileen T. O'Grady; Advanced Practice Nursing - E-Book: An Integrative Approach, 2013, p207)
The Five Ways to Mental Wellbeing was a piece of research carried out by the New Economics Foundation on behalf of Foresight, published in 2008. The following steps were developed as a result of research and encourage people to take the following 5 steps:
1.Connect – relationships are important for wellbeing
2 Be active – taking regular exercise can reduce rates of anxiety and depression across all age groups
3 Take notice – savouring and being in the moment and enjoying the environment enhances wellbeing. It can broaden awareness and reaffirm life priorities.
4 Keep learning - continued learning through life enhances self esteem, encourages social interaction and to lead an active life.
5 Give – people are more likely to rate themselves as happy when they engage in local and community life.
(https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/five-ways-to-mental-wellbeing and https://www.mind.org.uk/workplace/mental-health-at-work/taking-care-of-yourself/five-ways-to-wellbeing/)
Health Benefits of Nature
There is a growing body of research and interest in the therapeutic benefits of the natural world. Professionals working in a growing number of fields have developed umbrella terms for their work such as 'The Green Care movement' and 'Eco Psychology'. There are specific practices like 'Shinrin Yoku' the japanese art of Forest bathing for health, which appeared in Japan in the 1980's or Social and Therapeutic Horticulture which taps into the therapeutic benefits of gardening and the outdoors.
The theory of Biophilia, was first discussed by Edward Wilson, a biologist who suggests that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life. Through our evolutionary connection we have the urge to affiliate with other forms of life(Wilson, E. Biophilia. 1990. Harvard University Press).
Natural environments turn out to be particularly rich in the characteristics necessary for restorative experiences. Just by being outside we can be restored from feeling mentally fatigued or stressed and change negative states into positive ones (Attention Restoration Theory Kaplan Journal of Environmental Psychology Volume 15, Issue 3 September 1995, pages 169-182).
‘The true solution is to re-educate ourselves to listen to and trust the inner truths that come to us through our intuitive feelings. Following our inner guidance may feel risky and frightening at first, because we are no longer playing it safe, doing what we "should" do, pleasing others, following rules, or deferring to outside authority’. (Author Shakti Gawain http://www.creativity-portal.com/spiritual/shakti-gawain/trusting-intuition.html)
The NHS states “paying more attention to the present moment – to your own thoughts and feelings, and to the world around you – can improve your mental wellbeing.” (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mindfulness/ )
Taking notice of the here and now features as one of The 5 Ways to Wellbeing mentioned earlier.
Occupational Therapy Philosophy
Two of the major philosophies underpinning the work of Occupational Therapists are about what keeps humans healthy. Firstly the use of 'occupation' as a unique health giving tool (occupations meaning 'activities' we do in our lives, what keeps us occupied). That "man, through the use of his hands as energized by mind and will, can influence his state of health." (Reilly, 1962).
Then secondly there is an interactive view between 'man and his environment', that our health can be influenced by the environment we are in. Both the social and physical environments.
Reilly, M. (1962). Occupational therapy can be one of the great ideas of the 20th century medicine. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 16, 1-9.
Wilcock, A. (1993). A theory of the human need for occupation. Occupational Science:Australia, 1, 17-24.
Wilcock, A (2006) An Occupational Perspective of Health. SLACK Incorporated; 2nd Revised edition
Being spontaneous, joyful and creative is at the heart of all of us. Children are driven by curiosity and need for survival so play comes naturally. Then as we grow into adulthood play becomes more subtle but is still an important way to communicate. Play can help to reduce stress, increase our self esteem and well-being and is a means of personal creative expression. Generally we are a nation of adults who need to re-learn the art of playfulness, but in actual fact most people are willing, they just need permission. (Play therapy with Adults by C.E. Shaefer, 2003, ch 1).
“Scientific research has shown that laughter may have both preventive and therapeutic values. Health-related benefits of laughter are mainly reported from spontaneous laughter interventional studies. While the human mind can make a distinction between simulated and spontaneous laughter, the human body cannot. Either way health-related outcomes are deemed to be produced.” (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0965229911000574)
The Law of Attraction
The idea that what we pay attention to grows. If we are fixed on being likely to slip up we are more likely to. If we are focussed on the positives and the solutions we are less likely to find a situation difficult. We can practice getting more adept at checking in with ourselves to see where our mind and energy is and get better at altering this. Thus altering the course of our day and our lives. (books on the topic by - Abraham Hicks, Ryan Cooper, Jack Cranfield, Michael Losier, Theresa Sansome and others)
The brain is able to learn and re-learn so that thoughts and associated feelings can change. People have the ability to literally change their own minds by practice and replacing entrenched thoughts with other ones to create new neural pathways in the brain. It is possible to change from having a pessimistic outlook to having a positive one. (Graham, Linda. Bouncing Back; Re-wiring your brain for maximum resilience and wellbeing 2013, New World Library).
It is equally possible to go from fixed thinking to having a ‘growth mindset’. Academics like professor Carol Dweck have specialised in exploring how having a growth mindset can improve ability to learn and change.
People are able to improve their level of resilience and enhance their ability to cope with change and adversity through using many tried and tested techniques. (Johnstone, C. Find Your Power, A toolkit for Resilience and Positive Change. 2010.Permanent Publications). So resilience can be learned and improved upon like any other skill.
“Positive psychology is the study of happiness. Psychology has traditionally focused on dysfunction—people with mental illness or other issues—and how to treat it. Positive psychology, in contrast, is a field that examines how ordinary people can become happier and more fulfilled.” (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/positive-psychology)
We often talk about the ‘pursuit of happiness’ as if it something out there to obtain. Yet all the scientific research suggests that having happiness is less about ‘obtaining’ it and instead about ‘doing’ it. Long lasting happiness can be gained by practice, how you choose to spend your time and your outlook in life (Introducing Positive Psychology: A Practical Guide by Bridget Grenville-Cleave, 2012).