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New trend in medicine
Health coaching is a new trend in medicine and we’re seeing an explosion in the number of people who are trained as health coaches and the number of people seeing health coaches. So let’s talk about what that is and particularly how it relates to mental health and how we utilize coaches at the Brain Food Clinic to help people achieve optimal mental health.
Let’s start with the definition by the National Society of Health Coaches. Health coaching is the use of evidence based skillful conversation, clinical strategies, and interventions to actively and safely engage clients in health behavior change to better self-manage their health, health risk, and acute and chronic health conditions resulting in optimal wellness, improved health outcomes, lowered health risk, and decreased health care costs.
As you can see it is really important the medical care system in the United States, because we often know how to help patients. We know how to reduce risk of many illnesses, such as depression and heart disease but a lot of times people struggle to enact those behavioral changes that are going optimize their outcome. This is where coaches come in.
Health Coaching at the Brain Food Clinic
Health coaching has been an interesting phenomenon to watch expand into health and mental health care. My clinic utilizes health coaches to help patients. Some of the health coaches have gotten trained at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, which is one of the largest coaching schools. I’m interested as you know, in brain food and in nutritional psychiatry. I’ve got some tricks and some good creative ideas to help people enact behavioral change. But most of my training is as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist, so I really have enjoyed having coaches in our practice where we agree upon a set of foods and food categories and challenges that one of my patients might have. From there the coach can really focus on that in a much more active coaching style that really helps the patient change how they’re eating, how they’re shopping, how they’re organizing some of their food and some of their lifestyle choices.
It’s a really powerful behavioral tool because again, coaching is designed to change behavior. Whereas in a lot of other interventions in medicine and mental health, we’re looking to understand behavior and explore the meanings of it. Health coaching is about where the rubber hits the road. And that’s why health coaches can be so powerful in mental health.
Where can you get trained as a coach
Now, if you wanna learn more about health coaching or about where health coaches are trained, there’s a great free class by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition that shows you some of their curriculum and walks you through some of the training. IIN is a great place to look for a couple of reasons. They’re one of the largest and oldest health coaching schools around, which means they’ve really had to refine their curriculum. They’ve gotten a lot of feedback on their curriculum, and they really know what it means to train a good coach. Secondly, IIN has a really big and powerful alumni network. If you look at a lot of the influencers in the health and wellness space and in the nutrition space, many of them have been trained at IIN. So with IIN, you get really experienced faculty and great curriculum and you also get a powerful alumni network.
I hope this helps you think about health coaching and how it can help you. Maybe you know some of the things that you need to do such as eating more vegetables and leafy greens or exercising consistently but are having a hard time starting, having a coach in your corner is something I really wanna want you to consider. They can be there to really help motivate you, help you structure what you’re doing in terms of your lifestyle interventions. I also think one of the big missing pieces for people is having someone in your corner helping you celebrate the wins and really being there with you during the highs and the lows to help you be consistent in taking great care of yourself.