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Internal Control Psychology for Fitness Professionals: Understanding Behaviour and Harnessing Motivation


Internal control psychology is an explanation of human behavior based on internal motivation. This one day, hands-on workshop is an introduction to Internal Psychology as a practical approach to supporting client-centred behaviour change. Its integration into coaching interactions can highlight the mental and behavioural aspects of choice that both help and hindering client success and lay the groundwork for clients to consistently select more effective behaviours. Fitness professionals will gain new tools in identifying and adapting to clients’ changing needs and strategies to support clients with doing the same for themselves.

Participants can expect to engage with the following concepts:

  • Five basic needs that drive human behaviour
  • Four components of “total behaviour” and how they will inform your coaching
  • Connecting and disconnecting habits that can make or break client relationships
  • Key principles of Internal Psychology and it's underlying theoretical framework Choice Theory

Participants can expect to practice and start to develop the following skills:

  • Creating an environment conducive to quality performance
  • Engaging clients in identifying and choosing behaviours that satisfy their present needs and align with future goals
  • Effectively addressing discrepancies between goals and behaviour
  • The inquiry process designed to assist clients in determining their unique paths to success

Participants will have the opportunity to create a meaningful case study and apply Choice Theory methods.


  • Pen, pencil, etc…
  • Lunch (1 hour break)

Course Instructor

Heather Harrison, BKin, MEd, NCCP, CSEP-CEP, CPTN-CPT

Heather is a Certified Coach, Exercise Physiologist, Personal Trainer and CPTN Practical Assessor, as well as a Professor within the Fitness and Health Promotion program at Durham College. For the last 9 years, Heather has been infusing the powerful Internal Psychology / Choice Theory ideas into her coaching and teaching; in so doing she has supported fitness professionals, clients and students to reach new levels of self-evaluation and subsequent behaviour change to bring them closer to what they want out of life.


“From someone driven by a fascination with figuring out how to get through to people (someone who has trained and studied in many disciplines including motivational interviewing, CBT, etc.), learning about Choice Theory has been pivotal in my success as a coach & trainer. It gave me the insights into people’s internal motivation, and how I could help shape the path to better fit those needs (of the client). The real-world application of this theory is rewarding and inspiring. It’s amplified my passion for working with people (and yes even the most challenging ones as well)"” – Mauro O.