PRINCIPLES OF COACHING
Functional Medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systematic, personalized approach. It is an evolution in the practice of medicine that addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century. By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach, Functional Medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms.
The International Coaching Federation defines coaching as "partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential". Coaching is based on the following principle: We are all creative and we have within us the resources to face situations. A coach does not provide you with answers. They encourage you to better know yourself, clarify your vision of your best self, explore your inner wisdom, imagine life differently and find your own solutions. They support you in deciding and implementing change. They boost your confidence and believe in you and your potential, celebrating your successes.
And here's a quote by Chris Kresser that I think particularly captures what a health coach is.
"A health coach is someone who:
A functional medicine health coach uses the coaching approach to help you make changes in your lifestyle, namely in the areas of Sleep and Relaxation, Exercise and Movement, Nutrition, Stress, and Relationships.
I am not a doctor. In my capacity as a health coach I do not diagnose, nor do I prescribe medication.
What I have that a doctor doesn’t is time as well as the skills needed to help you implement behavioral change. I am trained to use positive psychology and character strengths. Both are valuable tools that can put you on a path towards healing and help you succeed in making lasting changes.
Yes you can! Although I am primarily trained to collaborate with doctors that are practicing Functional Medicine, the lifestyle factors we will address (Sleep and Relaxation, Exercise and Movement, Nutrition, Stress, Relationships) are universally acknowledged as contributing to better health.
In fact, everyone can benefit from health coaching (including myself). Even if you don't think you have any particular issues in the areas I work on with my clients, you can most certainly benefit from health coaching sessions with me. There is always room for lifestyle improvements. You will discover your top character strengths and ways to use them mindfully in your every day life. We will look at your life in a holistic way, helping you realize what you can improve and what you need to prioritize.
A session typically lasts around 50 minutes. How many you take depends on you and the complexity of the issues you want to work on. I advise my clients to go for a package of 5 or 10 sessions. The sessions take place every 1-2 weeks. A session typically goes like this: First, clients share what’s on their mind and how they’re feeling. The coach helps the clients identify barriers to healthy lifestyle changes. The coach offers information, with the client’s permission, on strategies to improve health. These strategies may include a mind-body technique, a food to try, an article to read, a breathing exercise, etc. A plan is co-created: Clients, with the coach’s help, make a concrete plan that feels comfortable and attainable.
Yes. While food and nutrition are a key part of Functional Medicine Health Coaching, as a coach it is not in my scope of practice to prescribe food plans. For example, throughout our sessions we will touch upon having a diet based on anti-inflammatory, nutrient-dense and healing foods and eliminating foods that might not be ideal for you. We can also work on your relationship with food and intuitive eating.
Yes. A coach is not a therapist and as such does not hold an expert stance. A coach is your ally. In addition, during coaching sessions one does not go back in time to analyze past experiences. The approach is more solution and future-oriented, based on your character strengths.
With health coaching, weight loss is not a goal in itself. You will never get a calorie-restrictive food plan from me. However, as your coach I can certainly help you understand the possible causes of your weight gain and help you apply lifestyle changes accordingly. Rest assured; more often than not, weight loss is one of the many positive consequences of functional medicine health coaching.
Coaching sessions take place in person (Short Hills), phone, or online using a video-conferencing software if you are not local. In my experience sessions are equally effective online as in person.