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What is Functional Medicine Health Coaching?
What is Functional Medicine Health Coaching?
"Health coaches apply motivational strategies, behavior change theory, and communication techniques to help clients create sustainable changes that lead to better health. They help translate the doctor’s plan of care into the patient’s plan of action, bridging the gap between what patients know they need to do to be healthy and the intrinsic motivation needed to make and sustain those changes.
Functional Medicine Certified Health coaches are experts in making healthy lifestyle behavior change happen. Their fluency in functional medicine principles and motivational strategies qualifies them to partner with doctors and serve as the implementers within the collaborative care team. Health coaches extend the doctor’s reach by offering individualized support to implement protocols, address roadblocks, and work through the day-to-day challenges that arise for patients making significant changes.
When a patient needs to change their habits for their health, Functional Medicine Health Coaches can make those changes more accessible and sustainable. Health coaches help patients set goals and provide achievable steps and strategies for them to maintain healthy changes long-term. Just like a functional medicine clinician, a health coach makes sure patients feel heard and that they share ownership of their healing process." ~Functional Medicine Coaching Academy
What Makes an FMCHC different: Can you coach?
Functional Medicine Certified Health Coaches are taught and evaluated on the core concepts and protocols from the Institute of Functional Medicine. They are also trained and evaluated according to the protocols set forth by the National Board of Health and Wellness Coaches on the art and science of health coaching.
This was NOT an "at your pace online course take a knowledge exam at the end". But rather an interactive program with required class attendance that pushed candidates out of their comfort zone each week to learn new material from a wide range of functional medicine information and positive psychology areas, and apply it when coaching the client. Most health coach programs are self taught and are about 6 months in length with a minimal, if any, focus on the ability to actually COACH. If interested in learning more please visit Functional Medicine Coaching Academy.
Functional Medicine Certified Health Coaches are trained to work with the providers treatment protocol, by partnering with the client to help them navigate the protocol or diagnosis in a way that best supports the clients needs and vision for their own optimal health and wellness. It's about meeting the client where they are now without judgement, and partnering with them as a supportive guide for where they want to go to become who they want to be.
Becoming a Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach means graduating from a 12 month rigorous program that has been certified by the NBHWC as having all the criteria necessary for the graduate to be allowed to apply and sit for the NBC-HWC exam. NBHWC has partnered with the National Board of Medical Examiners to create this credentialed exam become a board certified health coach.
This board certification is the only one recognized by insurance companies and allows health coaches to work with providers. Currently the NBHWC is working with the AMA to change the cpt coding through health insurance that will bring health coaching from a tier 3 to a tier 1. Once this goes through in the near future, this will allow an NBC-HWC to submit sessions for reimbursement. Currently, there are a number of HSA's (health savings account) that allow for the funds to be used towards health coaching. I am proud to say that I am a graduate of FMCA and certified as a Functional Medicine Health Coach as well as a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach.
Does that mean a doctor has to refer me to a health coach?
Nope, it sure doesn't. Anyone that has the desire to work on their health can work with a health coach. You do not have to have an active diagnosis to seek out help. Some folks just simply have the desire to work on improving their health in general. That could mean changing up how nutrition is represented in their life, maybe they struggle with sleep, or want movement or exercise to become a consistent part of their life. Essentially any lifestyle modifiable area a client struggles with that is affecting their health (physical or mental- it's all one in this world) is an open topic to be explored.
In addition to being a NBC-HWC, I am also trained and certified in personal training, behavior change, joint mobility and injury mitigation, and I have an extensive work history with mental health, weight management and chronic pain populations. As such, my area of interest is utilizing functional medicine, health coaching, and movement coaching to support persons struggling with mental health and/or chronic pain issues.
Sometimes it is a life changing health problem like cancer, diabetes, a car accident, or a significant surgery that can create a mental health issue like anxiety or depression. How do we address the health needs and make some lifestyle changes to help the mental health needs?
Or perhaps its living with the effects of ADD/ADHD. Which in turn has led to a massive amount of disorganization, literally, in your home life. Now the disorganization is making you feel anxious and overwhelmed all the time. The anxiety and feelings of being overwhelmed are now a constant stressor that is affecting your health (hellooo cortisol!) and ability to sleep. Your sleep deprivation is making you snappy at your loved ones and crave lots of junk food. Or maybe withdrawn, numb and apathetic.
Everyone's reaction is different.
Perhaps you need help and support with conquering the piles and clutter, and establishing new behavioral habits and a system that leaves you feeling calm, organized, and at peace when you are home chilling on your couch. Maybe now you feel confidant enough to tackle other areas of your health like sleep hygiene, nutrition and exercise.
Everyone has their own personal starting place.
As a person that has lived with significant chronic pain for roughly 22 years now, I am very aware of its effect on mental health and the likelihood for it to lead to depression and anxiety. As a professional in the joint health and movement industry, I am also very aware of how important it is to establish a daily movement routine to work against, or mitigate pain. There are also nutritional components to take into account to decrease inflammation that could be contributing to pain. There are social and environmental support needs to be met.
The list goes on, and the topic is particular to the clients needs and history. The idea is that there is more to mental health treatment than medication and talk therapy. A health coach can work together with the treating physician and therapist to form a well rounded team to create a client centered and initiated plan that addresses the needs of the client. Quite often it involves significant changes within a clients lifestyle and environmental habits.
Those changes can be very difficult and overwhelming to navigate alone. It is akin to standing at the base of a looming mountain, staring up and wondering how you will ever make it up and over because what you need or want is on the other side.
It is this perceived mountain built from anxiety and uncertainty that often prevents clients from truly embracing their personal path to a successful life and feeling of fulfillment.
Health coaches are the trail guides you can hire to provide the specific support you need to break that looming mountain down and use the pieces to create a peaceful meadow full of sustenance.
Everyone needs a safe and nonjudgmental space to explore their health needs.
Ultimately, you must Mind Yourself to Mend Yourself.
MY2MY Health Coaching at Author of Me gives you the supportive space to do just that.
What a Health Coach Does NOT do...
- Dispense medical advice or give any sort of diagnosis. We help navigate the diagnosis already given.
- Dispense nutritional and or/supplement recommendations or meal/macro plans. We help navigate and co-create plans for the dietary recommendations given out by a healthcare provider or other licensed dietary professionals. We are trained to work with IFM practitioners if they give a specific IFM diet protocol such as Core, Mito, Elimination, Detox, CardioMetabolic, etc., We can work together on a goal or plan of your choosing that you bring to the session, with the understanding that the health coaches role is a "support and accountability" role. Not a "provide nutritional/dietary advice or expert opinion" role.
- We are not licensed professional therapists and we do not dispense therapeutic advice. In fact, health coaches NEVER dispense advice. We do not judge, we do not dictate. We provide support and partnership for the health related goals that YOU would like to reach. We can provide a safe and quiet space to vent frustrations that are having an impact on your health and goals, but we do not give out opinions, advice, or treatment, and it is not the focus of our sessions. If we see red flags, we can inquire if you are currently being provided mental health support and if not, whether or not you are interested in obtaining support in that area. Because I work with many clients that are seeing therapists they will often hear me ask "Have you spoken to your therapist about this? This situation comes up often as an area that is keeping you from being successful with _______ health goal. Would you be comfortable exploring this in your next session with them? "
- We do not create goals for you. You create goals for YOU. These goals are based on your truth, and your vision for what you see as your optimal health and wellness state of being. This state of being is your "I am_____." We support you on that journey providing structure, encouragement, accountability and feedback along the way.