Frequently Asked Questions
What is integrative and holistic wellness?
Let’s start first by defining these individual words. Integrative means combining modalities (techniques or fields) or approaching something inclusively. Similarly, holistic means comprehension of the parts as something understandable only through looking at the whole. Now, wellness may be a term used or over used these days, but allow me to offer a definition: harmony or balance in the entire person. So, to combine those definitions, we can say that integrative and holistic wellness is approaching health by looking at all parts of the human experience (mental, emotional, physical, spiritual) utilizing a wide range of fields and techniques to bring about harmony for the whole person.
What is special about Integrative Wellness Coaching?
Coaching in the Integrative Wellness model means I work with clients to shine light on core issues, unconscious habits and perceptions, and baggage like resentment and regret. Applied, my work with clients includes mindfulness, nutritional coaching, yoga, reflection and journaling, while empowering them to make changes in their lives through effective tools, techniques, and specific action plans to live the life you want to live. So, simultaneously working from the outside-in and inside-out. As a team, we will approach your life holistically, looking at the interconnectedness of all areas of your life from your definitions of balance and wellness in each.
Why do people work with an Integrative Wellness Coach?
Simply put, outcomes. Because they want to make changes in your life starting from the root and develop the tools and personal insight to understand how to find balance now and in the future. Because they want lasting positive outcomes derived from their own definitions of balance and wellness. Maybe most importantly, because they want something more for themselves than a mediocre, this-is-fine-enough life.
People work with Integrative Wellness Coaches for all manner of reasons; career dissatisfaction, relationship issues, transitions and loss, spiritual and personal growth, life/work balance… everyone is different and the reasons for seeking coaching, no matter how similar on the surface, are part of a very unique and powerful personal journey.
Does Integrative Wellness Coaching work?
The International Coaching Federation found that:
- 80% of people who work with a coach experience improved self-confidence and work/life balance
- 86% of people who work with a coach make their investment back, if not more
- 96% of people who work with a coach would do so again.
Those statistics say a lot. Yes, coaching works for many people and produces results in incredible ways. And now, allow me to offer a bit of realism: Integrative Wellness coaching works as hard as you do. It is a do-with process, in which we uncover what is holding you back and in what ways, we can work on tools and techniques to move through those barriers and cultivate wellness, and it is up to you to make the moves.
Okay, so you’re a life coach? Or maybe more of a therapist?
Life coaching involves helping a client reach a goal or make a change in their lives through creating a plan and utilizing self-help techniques. So, we can call this an outside-in approach, similar even to nutritional or fitness coaching, tackling an issue from the surface with plans and actions. On the other side of that coin are the various inside-out therapy modalities, which, depending on the practitioner, focus on uncovering the core issues and negative beliefs by talking about them, this is often referred to as counseling.
I am neither of these things singularly, but a combination of aspects of both. Because I have a background in health, nutrition and personal-development I can also coach clients in those fields in a way that is integrative. I work with clients from an action oriented, holistic approach to all body systems (mental, emotional, physical and spiritual).
To explain by way of what I am not, I am not a personal trainer or nutritionist though we can work on those body systems together. I am not a motivator or accountability partner, though I am here to support your journey and co-create actions plans for your success. I am not a mentor, or therapist, or doctor, though in collaborating with these individuals, we can create an effective wellness team for you.
Why do I not hear about others meeting with life or wellness coaches?
If you were to pause a little bit with that question, what do you think some reasons might be that you don’t hear about others’ experiences in this way? While that stews in your brain a little bit, let’s look at modern American culture. Grown out of a myriad of communities escaping their home lands, historically and today, a keen sense of independence and work ethic are some of our cultural cornerstones. Think of the American Dream, that if you work hard you will succeed, simple as that! While not true for everybody, many Americans feel apprehensive of needing or asking for help in the face of this independence and perception that not-succeeding is because one didn’t try hard enough.
Can you remember a time when you knew you didn’t know something or couldn’t do it on your own but you hesitated or decided not to ask for help? I can. Letting people know I was struggling was a big challenge for me in the past, and still wells up. Here are a few reasons why you may not have heard about people meeting with coaches:
1. The same reasons they don’t ask for help, because it goes against our social perceptions of normal or acceptable
2. Because it reflects that the person’s life isn’t all put together perfectly, a concept that some of us (hello…) struggle to admit (though, come one, perfection isn’t real)
3. Another common American-ism is that one should be able to just get over and let go of emotions, traumas, or hurt and generally keep their chin up in the face of life’s conflicts and confusions. So, just like visiting a therapist isn’t a common topic of conversation despite the increasing numbers in therapy, it can be seen as demonstrating a person has been unable to contend with life’s weight.
4. Life and wellness coaching are relatively new modalities of self-help, especially compared to traditional therapy and counseling so their effectiveness is not as widely known
Make sure to check out the next section about when and why to visit a wellness coach.
When and why should I see a life coach?
WHEN: LITERALLY, ANYTIME. WHY: BECAUSE YOU WANT TO MAKE BIG OR SMALL CHANGES TO LIVE THE LIFE YOU WANT.
While many people seek help when they are near “the bottom” or after difficult life transitions, I would like to offer the perspective that any time is a great time to seek outside support in gaining a deeper understanding of and building a life that is truest to yourself. As a wellness coach, I am not just a professional listener and reflector, but a professional resource-er and as such, it is my job to help you clarify what feels spot-on and what may need some adjustment and some effective ways to make those adjustments.
It is never too late to start practicing the life that you want to life. It is never too late to make small or big changes towards peace and happiness. Right now is just as good as any time to start. This may not be the best time to make some changes, or to reinvent the entire wheel, and still 10% is better than no percent…
I have a personal example that may resonate with some of you. After I graduated from my Masters program, I took off on a year of climbing full-time. It was incredible! I progressed as a climber and traveled and chased a valuable passion in my life. I felt good, I felt happy, I felt lucky to have the freedom to do the things I loved on such a scale. Slowly, though, I began to lose touch with my other passions, other sides of myself that I loved and kept me in touch with my inner peace, with my needs more broadly speaking. While I tried valiantly to ignore this loss of touch with myself, it progressed and eventually led to a screeching halt in my sense of peace and happiness. I was pretty far from Center and was not managing my life in a way that cultivated what balanced means to me. It was a wakeup call and based on my lack of reflection upon what was going on around me—I thought it was working, but had I been honest with myself and named what balanced meant to me, I might have seen the discrepancies in how I was living my life. And so, I began a sometimes painful, generally uncomfortable and eventually Just Right journey.
What does wellness coaching entail?
That is a really tough question to answer, because it depends entirely on you and your concerns, wants, needs, pace, and maybe most important, commitment to doing the work.
In general, though, we will begin with a thorough intake process go over the issue, problem, concern that brought you in. That process also includes going over all four body systems (mental, emotional, physical, spiritual) in relative depth so I can understand more about your experiences as a whole.
From all that talking and clarifying, we get to work on building action plans and trying on tools and techniques to see what is the most effective for you. In this, there is still going to be much talking and clarifying. One of the most incredible things about coaching is how much we get to uncover of ourselves when a skilled guide can ask the powerful questions that open up our unexamined assumptions and habits. From personal experience: mind. blown!
From that base of clarifying and action, we continue to build your wellness journey. Here’s a metaphor that I think explain this process pretty well: The coach and client are in an open field together in which we can see some things on the surface and some partially covered. We may walk up to something partially covered and begin to dig around, together, and be able to examine it further. You may then decide you would like to remove it from your field, or build something with it. We will continue examining what is exposed, partially exposed and in that examination, find other things below, sometimes far, the surface that may need moved, replaced or allowed to stay, appreciated. In this process, I am right there beside you, digging and supporting and most importantly offering tools to navigate what you want to do with these artifacts. Do you need a winch and pulley? Do you need a pick or garden hoe? Do you need to trim the branches so the tree grows healthier?