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FAQs

Questions about Living Well Coaching, Susanne and health coaching are always welcome through the orange button to the contact form below or during a breakthrough session. May you find the answers to these frequently asked questions helpful.

Information and evidence for health coaching

I know what I need to do. How is working with a health coach more effective than doing it on my own?

  • Your collaboration with your health coach can allow you to build upon your existing skills and resources in areas such as self-empathy, self-motivation, self-awareness, mindfulness, confidence, optimism, and resilience.

  • Your personal experience and the coaching relationship is a safe, fertile foundation for new insights and perspectives.

  • Working with a coach can help you stay focused, work through obstacles, identify meaningful goals and take progressive steps toward a healthy and rewarding life.

  • Cleveland Clinic article: Health Coaches: What they do and how they can help you

Reference: Cleveland Clinic (n.d.) Health coaches: what they do —and how they can help you. healthessentials. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-is-a-health-coach/

What are the benefits of coaching and education compared to education alone?

  • Coaching provides the amount, level and timing of education according to each person’s needs. Learning when people are open and receptive makes the information more digestible so they take an active role to integrate it into their own health care plan.

  • Coaching provides information on an as-needed basis and empowers people to take preventative and proactive measures and to improve their self-efficacy, address how to overcome barriers and solve challenges that leads to improved mastery and motivation.

What’s the evidence that coaching is effective?

 

References:

Grinspoon, P. (2020, April 8) Health coaching is effective. Should you try it? Harvard Health Publishing. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/health-coaching-is-effective-should-you-try-it-2020040819444

Sforzo, G. A., Kaye, M. P., Todorova, I., Harenberg, S., Costello, K., Cobus-Kuo, L., Faber, A., Frates, E., & Moore, M. (2017). Compendium of the health and wellness coaching literature. American journal of lifestyle medicine, 12(6), 436–447. https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827617708562

Sforzo, G. A., Kaye, M. P., Harenberg, S., Costello, K., Cobus-Kuo, L., Rauff, E., Edman, J. S., Frates, E., & Moore, M. (2019). Compendium of health and wellness coaching: 2019 addendum. American journal of lifestyle medicine, 14(2), 155–168. https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827619850489

Does coaching provide benefits that last after coaching sessions have ended?

  • The American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine article “Health and Wellness Coaching and Sustained Gains: A Systematic Review" (Ahmann et al., 2023) addressed the long-lasting effects for health and wellness coaching clients after they have completed a coaching program. Study authors reviewed 231 research studies from the Compendium of Health and Wellness Coaching (Sforzo et al., 2020) and chose 28 articles of sufficient quality to review. Coaching effects were sustained in 25 of the 28 studies examined (nearly 90%). A large JAMA-published cluster RCT found that changes in blood pressure were sustained for up to four years after coaching (Nguyen-Huynh et al., 2020).

 

Reference: Ahmann E, Saviet M, Conboy L, Smith K, Iachini B, DeMartin R. Health and Wellness Coaching and Sustained Gains: A Rapid Systematic Review. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. 2023;0(0). doi:10.1177/15598276231180117

How does going to a certified health coach focused on behavioral change compare to a mental health professional?

  • Coaches and therapists use some of the same evidence-based tools to support clients. In general, mental health professionals are trained to examine past relationships and concerns and coaches focus on the present and taking positive, active steps toward a brighter future.

  • My completion in 2023 of the Institute of Coaching Mental Health Literacy for Coaches delineated signs and symptoms, evidence-based therapies, support within the scope of practice of coaches and when to make a referral.

  • Certified health and wellness coaches are trained in motivation and behavior change with a focus on health that can improve mental health in people without mental health disorders and can work alongside mental health professionals. Mental health and mental disorders are considered separate dimensions (Keyes, 2003).

    • As a behavioral health coach at AbleTo, I partnered with therapists to support clients in an 8-week program on 16 different topics, including chronic pain.Lifestyle medicine habits such as exercise, balanced nutrition, emotional resilience, healthy sleep and social connections can improve metabolic issues that affect mental well-being.

  • Professionals and elite athletes have been leveraging coaches to boost their performance for years and free from stigma against going for therapy in some cultures. Coaching can provide additional therapeutic support toward a more fulfilling life and reduce time and effort to realize one's potential.

 

Reference: Keyes, C. L. M., & Waterman, M. B. (2003). Dimensions of well-being and mental health in adulthood. In M. H. Bornstein, L. Davidson, C. L. M. Keyes, & K. A. Moore (Eds.), Well-being: Positive development across the life course (pp. 477–497). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.

If I’m interested in your approach, yet chronic pain is not my main concern, can we still have a conversation to see how you can help me?

  • Certainly! My training and experience include depth and breadth in many areas of health and my support is always tailored to your unique needs, preferences and goals.

  • People approach changes in different ways. Sometimes tidying up one area of life makes space for  new explorations. That's okay! You chart the best course for your journey. I'll provide structure, stay curious, ask questions, brainstorm ways to overcome obstacles so you can celebrate big and small wins along the way.

  • Similar strategies can be used for other challenges such as chronic stress and chronic fatigue. The best way to find out more about the benefits it to book a free breakthrough session.

Can we stick with an evidence-based approach?

  • You know better than anyone what approach is best of you. Living Well Coaching asks permission to offer information so that you’re always in control every step of the way.

  • I’ve worked as part of clinical care teams for the last 7 years. I appreciate opportunities to be part of a team to support you to get the best outcome.

  • As a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach trained by Wellcoaches, the Pain Coach Academy’s Pain Management certification program, and in Health Promotion at SUNY Empire State College, I value evidence-based approaches and protocols.

  • I have direct experience with the coaching protocols in these three studies that report significant outcomes to reduce chronic pain:

    • This longitudinal study (Bailey et al, 2020) was conducted with patients at Hinge Health through May 2019 while I was a health coach at Hinge Health. A longitudinal observational study of a 12-week digital care program with patients with chronic knee and back pain that included one-on-one remote coaching, exercise therapy and education resulted in 69.6% of participants achieving minimally significant change in pain. Increased number of exercise therapy sessions and health coaching sessions correlated with positive outcomes.

    • My Advanced Pain Coach Certification training by Pain Coach Academy (formerly Take Courage Coaching) was based on this protocol (Rethorn et al., 2020). A year-long health and wellness coaching intervention resulted in clinically significant reductions in pain intensity and pain-related interference and indicated improvements in physical functioning and psychological factors.

    • My training in Pain Reprocessing Therapy (PRT), taught by study author Alan Gordon, LCSW and researcher Yoni K. Ashar, PhD, provided specific techniques and practice in this method. Almost three quarters (73%) of participants in this randomized clinical trial (Ashar et al., 2022) using longitudinal fMRI reported they were pain-free or nearly pain-free at posttreatment and large effects of PRT continued at 1-year follow-up.

REFERENCES

Ashar YK, Gordon A, Schubiner H, et al. Effect of pain reprocessing therapy vs placebo and usual care for patients with chronic back pain: A randomized clinical trial. JAMA Psychiatry. 2022;79(1):13–23. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2021.2669

Bailey JF, Agarwal V, Zheng P, Smuck M, Fredericson M, Kennedy DJ, Krauss J. Digital care for chronic musculoskeletal pain: 10,000 participant longitudinal cohort study. J Med Internet Res. 2020 May 11;22(5):e18250. doi: 10.2196/18250. PMID: 32208358; PMCID: PMC7248800.

Rethorn ZD, Pettitt RW, Dykstra E, Pettitt CD. Health and wellness coaching positively impacts individuals with chronic pain and pain-related interference. PLoS One. 2020 Jul 27;15(7):e0236734. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0236734. PMID: 32716976; PMCID: PMC7384647.

Can we stick with an holistic approach?

  • Yes! With approximately 3500 hours of training in yoga, meditation and Ayurveda, I have studied integrated approaches to health that we can tap into. As a coach, I focus on what you know, provide education when appropriate. I don't diagnose or prescribe anything, yet can refer and work alongside  others who you trust for your care. Our focus will be on implementing strategies that add up to results.

I’m ready to sign up! How does it work?

  • The first step is to connect on a free breakthrough session. This allows me to learn about you. If we determine that my support would be a good fit for you and your needs, I’ll offer 3 packages that we can discuss. The definition of “chronic” means your pain has been around for at least 3 months and for most people who come to me, it’s persisted for years. So I ask for a commitment of at least 6 sessions. Working together for 3 months or more allows you to have support through your cycles of pain. This includes upticks and challenges, when it would be easy to quit, so you have the support you deserve through the process.

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