The Scoop on Integrative Health Coaching

Uncategorized Apr 03, 2019

What have I been doing at Duke?

What is Integrative Health Coaching?

I am a firm believer that one’s own health and making this a priority is the most important job we as humans have. Through my own personal journey I have seen firsthand how critical it is to dig deep and put personal health above all else. But health does not mean simply addressing the physical body. Health means mental, social, environmental, spiritual, behavioral, and emotional. It is every facet of your life.

Through the knowledge and training I have now obtained from Duke’s Integrative Health Coaching program, I wholeheartedly believe that addressing personal health in a holistic and integrative way is crucial. What does that mean? It means taking a look at the entire picture. It means addressing your physical health and what you are feeding your body. It means exploring relationships and your communication with others. It means taking the time to assess your environment both at home and in the workplace. It means looking at your sleep patterns and stress levels. The integrative and holistic approach to health is an approach that places value and importance in all dimensions of a human life, and how they could be affecting your overall happiness and well being.

So how can someone trained as an Integrative Health Coach help you? Read on.

Integrative What?

Let’s start from the beginning. Integrative Medicine, defined by Duke Integrative Medicine is an approach to care that integrates both Western scientific medicine with a broader understanding of the nature of illness, healing and wellness.*  What makes integrative medicine unique is the partnership that takes place between the patient and practitioner. Through this partnership the patient gains an understanding of the many factors that make up one’s health including those like physical, mental, environmental, emotional, social, and spiritual. It is through this comprehensive and holistic approach that the practitioner works with the patient to address his or her medical needs using both conventional and non conventional medical practices.

So what is Integrative Health Coaching?

Similar to the foundations of Integrative Medicine, Integrative Health Coaches work with people to address their health issues using a holistic approach. They then work with clients as facilitators to help them make and implement changes that will positively affect their overall health. The key to Integrative Health Coaching is an approach that is truly client-centered which allows the client to be the one in control of the behavior change in their own health journey.

Duke’s Integrative Coaching program trains coaches in motivational interviewing skills, the Transtheoretical model of change, and the neuroscience behind behavioral change. Duke Integrative Health coaches are experts on behavioral change. Coaches partner with their clients in a dynamic and extremely collaborative way that allows the client to be active and in control of the work that is being done. The coach is simply an agent for change. This type of partnership is backed by Duke’s research and clinical studies which reveal how this creates an environment that is optimal for positive behavior change. Through this partnership a coach is able to work with clients on clarifying what their optimal health is and explore the various options of getting there. This partnership is an excellent way to connect the gap between medical recommendations from doctors or practitioners and implementing those recommendations in day to day life. The partnership between a client and IH coach is about developing a structured and supportive environment where the client is able to make change that will not only impact their day to day life, but also their entire vision and purpose in life.

A large component of working with an Integrative Health Coach is mindful awareness. Duke’s training is heavily based on mindfulness and the role mindful awareness plays in facilitating and creating space for behavior change. Mindfulness is about focusing your awareness on the present moment and purposefully placing your attention.  There is an overwhelming amount of research showing that being mindfully aware allows us to better manage our emotions and thoughts, which is a critical piece when assessing one’s health and actively engaging in behavior change.

So in my own words, what do I do?

Simply put, I help people make changes. Making change, especially when it surrounds one’s health, is extremely hard. How many times in our lives have we had an issue or a problem related to our own health or a change we needed to make and we already knew the answer of how to make it happen? I bet everyone reading this can raise their hand. It’s not about the information or the knowledge we hold. Studies on neuroplasticity and the behavior of change show that when we have habits and behaviors that we’re used to, changing them and creating new patterns can be one of the hardest things we as humans will ever do. But it’s not impossible! In the right environment and with the right tools and support we can make changes that will allow us to live healthier and happier lives.

Addressing your health through this holistic approach is the center piece in life because your own health affects everything. It affects how you connect with people. It affects how you do your job. It affects how well you sleep. If affects your performance and ability to compete on the field. It affects how your kids start their day every morning. It affects how you learn in the classroom. It affects how you delegate tasks to your team at work. It affects every area of your life.

As an integrative health coach I get to work with people from all walks of life including moms, CEO’s, athletes, health practitioners, students, coaches, etc. on addressing their health. This work is about partnership, collaboration, and being an agent for facilitating the healthy and positive change that people want to make in their own lives. When you begin to put your health first you will without a doubt start moving towards the most optimal and successful you.

The healthiest you, is the most successful you.


Are you interested in working with me? Want to know more?

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