Behind every behaviour there is a positive intention

To me, this is the most radical and helpful of the presuppositions.  It offers enormous power in the field of coaching and therapy, especially when the word ‘behaviour’ is used in its widest sense, as physical behaviours, but also emotions and patterns of thought.

Every behaviour?  Every thought?  The key to understanding and working with this presupposition is that the ‘positive intention’ of the behaviour or thought may be rooted in the past.  So it might have seemed to you as a small child that such-and-such was a source of benefit to you, and since then, your unconscious mind has not learnt that the action or thought is no longer beneficial (or that it never actually was; you just thought that it was).

Discovering a positive intention behind an apparently foolish or destructive action or thought opens the way for healthier, more positive options to be selected and integrated into our personality.  For example, if someone’s behaviour is aggressive, the positive intention is often protection, and was probably learnt in childhood.  Learning to assert boundaries in an adult manner is an alternative way to honour the positive intention of protection without the negative consequences of aggression.

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