I primarily identify myself as an occupational therapist (OT), but I am also an ACE-Certified Health Coach through the American Council on Exercise. I incorporate my health coach training into my work with my Lifestyle OT clients. And my health coaching clients get the benefit of my professional education and 15+ years of clinical experience as a health care provider. I think it’s a great combination!
Earlier this year, I wrote a post titled 5 Interview Questions for a Potential Health Coach. Because the field of health coaching is currently unregulated, I think it’s helpful to know what questions to ask potential health coaches in order to make sure you’re choosing one who is qualified to help you meet your goals.
For this post, I’ve interviewed myself using those 5 recommended questions.
1. How much professional experience do you have?
I became an ACE-Certified Health Coach in 2014. I am currently receiving additional training through the USC Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy on their Lifestyle Redesign method of health coaching specifically for occupational therapists.
I have been working as an OT since 1999. Even before I started formally working as a health coach, my work as an OT already involved helping clients improve their health habits and modify their environments in order to better manage their injuries, illnesses, and/or pain.
2. Do you have any additional clinical experience or medical education in addition to training as a health coach?
I definitely fall into the small subgroup of health coaches who are also experienced health care providers.
My training as an OT focused on evaluating and treating the physical, psychological, and emotional aspects of human health, so I’ve always taken a holistic approach when working with clients. Among the specialties within health care, OT’s are unique in their client-centered treatment approach that focuses on the life roles and activities that are meaningful to the client. Therefore, health coaching is a natural extension of my work as a therapist.
Since starting my private practice in 2005, I have focused on a mix of preventative care and injury/illness care, specializing in ergonomics, work injury rehabilitation, and addressing lifestyle factors for pain management and disease management.
3. These are the main goals that I want to achieve. What would your general approach be in helping me to reach them?
Each of my clients has a unique health history and a different set of barriers preventing them from reaching their goals on their own. Because of this, I recognize that no single method for change works for everyone, and I adapt my approach to best serve the individual client. Both as an OT and as a health coach, my approach is client-centered and focused on what is meaningful to that client.
But no matter what a client’s goals are, I strive to provide a supportive environment for making healthy changes and provide education through evidence-based, scientifically sound resources. Many people struggle to meet their goals because of confusion about weight loss, nutrition, and exercise. My approach is to provide education based on principles of anatomy, physiology, and nutrition (instead of the latest fad or diet). Then the client and I work together to turn that in to practical ways to meet goals safely and effectively.
4. Do you sell any products (supplements, foods, or other materials) as part of your coaching business?
No. I have the same philosophy for my coaching practice as I do for my ergonomics practice: Selling products creates a conflict of interest and takes away objectivity. If I recommend a product and then can sell it to you, it may be convenient, but how do you know it is really necessary?
5. What sets you apart from other health coaches?
I am proud to be part of a progressive group of medical providers within our current health care system who are taking a more holistic approach to health care through a focus on lifestyle factors. And as an OT, I think I bring a unique set of professional skills to my work as a health coach.
I have a particular passion for helping clients to improve their eating habits. So many aspects of our physical and emotional health start to shift when we change our eating habits, and I enjoy empowering clients to take control of their health and happiness through changes in what, how, and when they eat. I have studied plant-based nutrition and cooking extensively and teach plant-based cooking classes for Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine.
As a health coach, I have a special interest in helping clients who want to improve their eating habits by:
- learning how to cook healthy food,
- transitioning to a plant-based diet,
- adding more whole foods in to their diet, and/or
- learning how to live more easily with food sensitivities/intolerances.
That being said, my goal is always to provide client-centered care, so if a client wants to start somewhere other than changing their eating habits (increasing daily activity, creating a better work/life balance, etc.), I’m here to support that too!
Now that you know a little more about me, let me know what I can do to help you reach your goals! Contact me with questions and/or to schedule an appointment for Lifestyle OT or health coaching!