What IS Integrative Health Coaching?

Integrative health looks at the whole person and overall wellness. This encompasses physical health, mental health and spirituality. All aspects of our lives impact our health and wellness. Integrative health doesn’t focus only on the symptoms of an illness or ailment, but rather at all aspects of the person that could be affected by or contributing to the issue.

Coaching uses a combination of skills, including motivational interviewing, to help support your needs. Coaching helps you to link your values with change, predict blocks, come up with solutions, hold you accountable, and support and motivate you.

As an integrative health coach, I help you review all aspects of your life: exercise, nutrition, sleep, relationships, career, physical environment, mind-body connection, and spirituality. My philosophy is that you know your body and life better than anyone else. I’m not here to tell you what’s right for you, but rather help guide you to that answer within. Together we find your answers, set goals and make a plan. I’m here to help hold you accountable and link to any additional resources.

What’s the difference between therapy and coaching?

While therapy and coaching seem similar, they are quite different. Therapists (and other mental health professionals) are trained to help you understand your present and past, and focus on your emotional and psychological well being and relationships. Depending on the type of therapy, there are direct practices to changing behavior or healing a past conflict or trauma. Therapy includes more analyzing of your past as it effects your present, and helps you answer the question of “why.” Therapy is most often motivated by being in a painful situation or needing help with depression, anxiety, or other behavioral health issues.

Coaching is usually motivated by wanting to make positive changes in broader areas of life – to get unstuck from habits and ways of living that are not serving your goals. Coaching is to help determine in the present how you can make change that improves your overall health and wellness. A coach links you with your values to change in ways that you want to change. You come up with your own goals for what works in your life, and coaching supports and inspires you to keep moving toward those goals, and helps hold you accountable.

What’s the difference between a life coach and a health coach?

The difference can be as small as semantics to as significant as training. The coaching field has certifications, but at this time there is no state or national universal certification for life coaching or for health coaching. There are reputable certifications from universities and associations. Many health coaches will specialize in nutrition or exercise. Integrative health coaching looks at health as the overall well-being of an individual, and therefore the definition of health is broader. People often look to a health coach to help change a behavior, and a life coach as a support system during major life transitions. But, it really can come down to individual coaches and how they define themselves through their training.

I trained at Duke Integrative Medicine establishing the foundations of integrative health coaching. Combined with my degrees (MA in International Communications and a BA in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences concentration of mental health), the name integrative health and wellness coach best describes who I am and the services I offer. There is projected to be a national certification of health coaches in 2017. I’m excited to say I will be taking the exam as soon as it’s available!

Do you have to live in the Portland, Maine area to be coached?

Technology has made it easy to receive coaching sessions regardless of location. You can receive coaching from anywhere in the world that has a phone and/or internet.

Do you accept insurance?

Unfortunately, insurance companies do not cover health coaching.

I don’t know if coaching is right for me, how do I know?

I’m happy to meet in person or provide a phone screening before making a commitment to coaching. Deciding to work with a coach is a commitment of time and money – it’s important to determine whether the fit is right for you.

Why do you sell packages instead of individual sessions?

Change takes time. There is no overnight fix or solution, particularly to lifelong habits. I like to work with people for at least three months to get a full scope of daily life, and help support change. I do offer individual sessions to add-on once you’re an established client.